Steve’s Devotional – You’re a New Creation Steve Brown Monday April 11, 2016 You know what’s so good about a new car (that is, other than the smell)? It’s the fresh start. It’s giving one’s old car problems to someone else and driving away with no problems (at least in the beginning). You get used to things going wrong with an old car and then just learn to live with them. Dents. Scratches. Bumps. You can try to push dents out. You can cover things up (strategically placed bumper stickers, while not that attractive, are quite helpful). You can touch-up scratches with paint. I once
Leviticus 1:4 Our Lord’s being “made . . . sin”1 for us is pictured here by the very significant transfer of sin to the bullock, which was done by the elders of the people. The laying of the hand was not a mere touch of contact, for in some other places of Scripture the original word has the meaning of leaning heavily, as in the expression, “Your wrath lies heavy upon me” (Psalm 88:7). Surely this is the very essence and nature of faith, which not only brings us into contact with the great Substitute, but also teaches us to lean upon Him with all
Steve Brown Monday April 4, 2016 Are you guilty? Do you struggle with sin? The truth is that we are all (without exception) sinners who don’t deserve or merit God’s grace. We are all bad folks badly in need of God’s grace. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). “In due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6) God is not a spoilsport who wants to stop you from having a good time. Sin is not what you want to do…but can’t. Sin is what you shouldn’t do because it
Steve Brown Monday March 28, 2016 We’re called to be street-smart Christians. Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Jesus wants us to be the smartest, the sharpest, and the most street-smart people in the world. If we aren’t, it’s simply because we haven’t been instructed or we haven’t listened well enough. So here’s a lesson in becoming street-smart. It comes from Jesus. And it centers on a question with which the religious establishment (the Pharisees) and the political leaders (the Herodians) tried to trap Jesus. The question?
Steve Brown Tuesday March 22, 2016 Do you ever wonder if the Christian faith is true? Perhaps it’s late at night just before you fall asleep. Maybe you’re going through a tough time or an unbelieving friend questions your faith and you think (but of course, would never say) that all of this might just be some gigantic con game and I’ve believed a bunch of lies. God knew you would wonder. From the very beginning, God knew he would do something so astounding, so wonderful, so unbelievable and so incredible that nobody would believe it without some kind of space and time evidence. The
Steve Brown Monday February 29, 2016 The source of almost all spiritual problems is an inappropriate effort to avoid the cross. When we, as the church, turn away from the cross, we miss the path that God gave us—the path to freedom, joy, faithfulness and forgiveness. It’s the only way there. We think the cross is fine and necessary for those who aren’t saved…but, once we’re saved, it’s no longer relevant to our lives. We, as Christians, forget that the cross is the very paradigm for who we are and everything we do, think, feel and believe. So if that’s true (and it is), then
Do you know the God you pray to? You can meet that God in the Lord’s Prayer (actually the Disciples’ Prayer) in Matthew 6. You can learn a lot about what people think about God by listening to their prayers. But while we reflect only what we think about God, Jesus reveals what he knows about God. In this prayer, either directly or indirectly, Jesus introduces us to that God. Let’s meet him. God’s Closeness When you pray, remember God’s closeness. In “Our Father in heaven” the word for “Father” that Jesus uses was the Aramaic word “abba,” a term of endearment with which a
Steve Brown Monday February 8, 2016 Are you trapped in a fire and it’s only getting hotter? “Never doubt in the dark what God has taught you in the light.” That sounds good…until you find yourself in the dark and can see no way out. Maybe your dream shattered. Maybe you’re in pain and don’t know what to do. Maybe you look out at the world where the bad guys are winning, wondering if God is on vacation. Maybe you’re sick and nobody else knows the fear. Maybe it’s a financial or family problem. Maybe someone you loved died. But whatever it is, it’s only