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So far Denny has created 1103 blog entries.

Good Works

2021-04-10T17:07:32-04:00 April 13th, 2021|

After leading worship services in the church for many years, I love to pronounce the Benediction. I do so slowly and deliberately. I look at people in the congregation. I often see faces aglow with wonder and amazement. What’s this guy think he’s doing?

Benediction means good talk. It is a compound word. Diction refers to speech. The prefix, “bene,” means “good.” A benediction is “good speech.” It is a blessing. Numbers 6:24-26 is a common benediction. “The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.”

When I pronounce this blessing over the people gathered for worship, it is my conviction God actually works in and through this simple action and utterance to bless His people. When God instituted this specific benediction, He said of the priests, “So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them” (Numbers 6:28). You do this, said God, and I will bless the people.

This is a wonderful promise. It goes along with Isaiah 55:11, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Click here and listen to a lesson based upon this same Bible text called, “No Empty Handed Word.”

Wonder and Awe Upstage Fear

2021-04-10T17:14:27-04:00 April 12th, 2021|

If you have been to the foothills of Horn Peak, part of the Sangre de Cristo range outside of Westcliffe, Colorado, if you have stood in the dark on that mountainside gazing into the sky, you have experienced the truth of Psalm 19:1. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; / And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” I say experienced because an experience it is. The beauty of the snowcapped mountain in the moonlight and the bigness of the heavens above with its myriad of stars make you gasp in wonder.

You also ponder the moment of Psalm 8:3-4, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, / The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; // What is man that You take thought of him, / And the son of man that You care for him?” In the face of this firmament, suddenly, the words of Psalm 22:6 make sense, “I am a worm and not a man.” My significance in the grand scheme of things fades into an infinitely tiny bacteria-sized speck.

Yet, at the same time, in the cool of the evening, looking into the heavens, I hear, as you do, the crystal clear trumpet sound of the gospel of Jesus Christ, “who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). Wonder of wonders; He loved me! Yes, He loved me, a worm, a mere speck. The words Selection 119N, The Book of Psalms for Singing, become my words, “I’m humbled much; LORD, quicken me According to Thy word.”

Based upon his space shuttle experiences, former astronaut Ron Garan declares, “Motivation usually is sparked either by fear or by awe and wonder.” The wonder of the universe and our solar system has long captivated me. As a boy, I kept notebooks on the planets and various aspects of our solar system and galaxy. I entered college as a math major to become a mathematical astronomer. Later, at West Point, I recall calculating the trajectories of rockets and the orbits of satellites. I was enthralled. Then God changed my personal trajectory. Suddenly, I saw the wonder of Jesus Christ, who He is, and what He came to do. Reading the Bible filled me with wonder and awe.

In our present culture, fear is a prime motivator. Fear related to COVID-19 motivates us to mask up, social distance [an oxymoron], avoid gatherings, and self-isolate. Political factions and parties foster fear of the opposing party, fear of their motives, and fear of their actions. These fears provoke resistance. Fear as a prime motivator also invades college and professional athletics. Note the slogans on basketball jerseys and painted on basketball courts. This almost relentless fearmongering makes me yearn for the sweet oasis of Biblical awe and wonder.

And so personally, I am very grateful for Westminster’s chief end, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Although imperfectly, I can glorify God by singing His praise, praying to Him, listening again and again to the stories of His Son who gave His all for me, and then living for Him. I can enjoy God by basking in the sunshine of His grace, knowing His love for me in Christ, and contemplating His glory, all of which the Bible sets forth for me. While still in active ministry, this perspective was my primary focus. I highly recommend it. Wonder and awe always upstage fear.

Denny Prutow

A Reason For Being, Seek God

2021-04-10T17:04:21-04:00 April 12th, 2021|

Why did God create you and me? What is the purpose of our existence? We long to know. The Bible outlines one of our basic reasons for being. “He [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God.”

All the people of the world stem from Adam, the very first human being. God made him. God brought each of us into the world as his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.

God brought each of us into the world at specific times and he takes each of us off the stage of life at our appointed time. “In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me” (Psalm 139:16).

God put us in the world in the particular country, state, and city in which we live. He put us here for a reason. We are to seek Him. That is, we are to look to Him, pray to Him, worship Him, and seek counsel and comfort from Him.

God may be found among His people. Seek Him there in worship. God is nearby, in His Word. Seek Him by reading the Bible. “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

Click here and listen to a message encouraging you to “Seek the Lord.”

Enduring Love

2021-04-10T17:03:04-04:00 April 11th, 2021|

An elderly couple strolls through the park hand in hand. We watch. It’s better by far to be that couple walking together clasping hands. Similarly, it’s not enough to carefully observe God’s love. We must also experience it. On one side, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). On the other, “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).

Once God embraces us in love, are there grounds for divorce? The Bible puts the question differently. “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:36). The answer to this rhetorical query is negative. Nothing can sever the bond of love God establishes with us.

Earthquake-like upheaval rocks our lives. Teachers, parents, coaches, or employers unmercifully apply pressure. Circumstances relentlessly chase us from one duty to another. We lack adequate food and clothing. We are forced too quickly into perilous decisions. We even have close encounters with death. How does the helter-skelter of life affect the bonds of God’s love? “In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). God continues to hold us by the hand.

Click here to listen to “An Inclination to Love.”

Perspectives to Ponder

2021-04-10T16:59:09-04:00 April 10th, 2021|

Does each day greet you with an unwelcome chill? Do your circumstances frown? Here is some perspective.

Look ahead in hope. Because of God’s work within your heart, you confess “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). God’s glory at the resurrection of the dead is powerful, immense, and full of splendor. All human suffering pales in comparison. There will be no more crutches or canes, trips to the pharmacy, hearing aids, or homes for old folks.

Rest secure in the prayers of the Spirit. Circumstances overtake you. You do not know what to say or what to pray. You need not succumb to fear or be dismayed. “The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit lifts perfect prayers to the Father for us. His prayers are heard and answered.

Trust the overriding power of God for good. The storm clouds of life may be dark. There may be no silver lining. Yet, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

To encourage you with God’s goodness, click here and listen to, “Taste the Richness of Grace.”

Love and Marriage

2021-04-10T17:01:02-04:00 April 9th, 2021|

Love is a complicated thing. We think in terms of feelings. Hormones get the best of us. When the feelings flee, love vanishes. We respond by saying, “I don’t love her anymore.” Love is a lot more than palpitating hearts and flushed faces. The Bible defines love in terms of God. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8).

A further definition is helpful. “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (2 John 1:6). God’s commandments are ten. They circumscribe the loving righteous life. Jesus Christ is the supreme demonstration. He kept the whole law perfectly. We come full circle. “The whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14).

Love respects parents. Love preserves life and wards off death. Love shuns affairs and is chaste. Love respects the property of others. Love values truth. Love is not greedy or lustful or jealous. This is concrete, objective, and measurable.

Young people with regular unmarried bed partners speak of making love. They fall far short of God. “Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). By the grace of God, couples working on marriage in terms of truthfulness, respect, and fidelity live much closer to God’s standard.

To help you understand the distinction between real love and emotional feelings, click here and listen to “Sex, Love, and Marriage.”

A Heart For Family

2021-04-10T17:00:16-04:00 April 8th, 2021|

No fault divorce has become standard. Big hearts seem in short supply. Parents leave children in the lurch. Little hearts are torn. Children lose a sense of stability. They do not know whom to trust.

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” (Matthew 19:3). Good question. Society says, “Yes!” Jesus Christ has a different response. “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).

The conclusion is simple. If God puts a man and a woman together as husband and wife, do men and women have a right to tear apart what God establishes? Even the disciples of Jesus backed away from this idea. “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry” (Matthew 19:10).

Again, Jesus has a different thought. Why divorce for any cause? “Because of your hardness of heart” (Matthew 19:8). Marriage takes big hearts. Family life necessitates giving, loving hearts. The answer is soft heats, new hearts, loving hearts, big hearts.

To help you have a big heart for family, click here and listen to, “Hearts Free to Obey.”

Cut Off Lust

2021-03-29T10:21:45-04:00 April 7th, 2021|

Lustful literature litters the landscape. Pornographic Internet sites lure victims into lurid acts. The objectives of the underworld are clear. X-rated sales are high. Big money is involved. The objectives of the underworld are also clear. “When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:15).

Jesus puts it this way. “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). This also goes for female lustful looking. “Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust” (James 1:14).

Christ gives some advice. “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you … If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matthew 5:29-30). Take this seriously. Cut off lust.

And remember the cross of Christ. “He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people” (Isaiah 53:8). Christ, the head of the body, was cut off, so the rest of His body, the church, might not be cut off eternally.

To encourage you, click here and listen to a message with the same title, “Cut Off Lust.”

 

The Blessed One

2021-03-29T10:21:35-04:00 April 6th, 2021|

Some blessings come in disguise. They seem like troubles. The good God always has good reasons for what takes place in His world. Christ is the leading example.

The crowds adored Jesus on what we call Palm Sunday. They sang Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” The religious leaders were outraged. “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples” (Luke 19:39).

These same religious leaders were so angry they plotted to destroy Jesus. The blessing seemed to turn into a curse. Acts 2:23 interprets. “This Man delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”

The greatest act of treachery in human history was the foremost blessing. Godless men put Christ to death. Once again, the Bible interprets. “Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). God accepted this sacrifice. “God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death”(Acts 2:24).

Evil becomes good. So it is with us, if we love God. “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Christ is the ultimate example. “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Click here and listen to “Blessed is the Coming One.”

Resurrection, Fact or Fiction

2021-03-29T10:20:43-04:00 April 5th, 2021|

It is widely held that we cannot prove that Jesus is the Son of God. The supposition is that scientific theories and historical facts can be verified. On the other hand, faith operates in a realm incapable of such scientific or historical proof. But the Bible presents Christianity in an entirely different light. The Bible maintains that Jesus Christ “was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). In other words, the resurrection is a verifiable historical event.

And how do we prove the resurrection? Here is one approach. After the arrest and crucifixion of Christ, the disciples were a fearful band hiding behind closed doors. Even courageous Peter, out of fear, denied he knew anything about Christ. But these apostles were transformed. They went out and boldly proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ. Only one thing could have made a such a dramatic difference in their lives. It was the resurrection. The disciples saw the risen Christ. Acts 1:3 says, “To these He [Jesus] also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days.”

To follow up on this devotion, please click here and listen to a message called, “Many Infallible Proofs of the Resurrection.”

Yes, the biblical record documents this dramatic transformation based upon the resurrection. But what about the Bible? Another time we’ll look at the historic accuracy and reliability of the Bible.