Weekly Devotional

Each week a devotional is sent to recipients around the country.  It begins with a story taken from my personal life, history, news media, or a current trend in society.  The story then connects with relevant passages from the Bible, and concludes with a challenge to consider personal applications.  These devotionals are intended to present the truth of the Bible to a non-christian, enlighten a new believer, as well as provide scriptural insight to the mature Christian.  This week's devotional  is provided below; don't forget to check this page when you return.  Anyone can join the list of recipients by contacting me at know.doubt.268@gmail.com .  There is no charge.  Your address is not shared with anyone.  And you can drop off the mailing list at any time.

Questions and Answers  (September 14, 2021)

Life is full of questions and answers. As a child we discover, sometimes the hard way, what is the right answer. Like when a mother asks a child, “Did I not tell you to clean your room?” And you learn your answer, “I don’t remember” will result in a sore rear end.

In school we are bombarded with questions found in exams. Often the questions are multiple choice. If we have not studied, we will circle a guess or choose “all the above.” The latter is our way of thinking we included the right answer; the teacher, though, may disagree.

Questions arise in our adult journey. Some offer a 50/50 chance of being right, like, “Should I get married?” Others don’t seem to have a clear answer, as when we ask, “Which car should I buy?” And some questions seem to have no answer, mostly because we don’t look hard enough for an answer. “Is there a God?” “Who is my neighbor?”

Not all questions or answers are simple. Jesus asked the Pharisees whether it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath (Luke 14: 1-4). The religious leaders left the question blank, so Jesus healed a man with dropsy. On another occasion, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved the Lord (John 21:15-17). Each time Peter said “yes” the Lord added a different application: feed His lambs (new believers), take care and feed His sheep (mature believers).

 When Jesus was on trial, Pilate asked, “What crime has this man committed?” (Luke 23:22-23). The crowd answered by demanding the death penalty. If you look for the right answer, you will find it was God’s plan to send His Son to save us (John 3:16-18), but it required a perfect sacrifice (Romans 3:25).

Surveys try to find an answer within a group of people, in the form of personal opinion. But opinions can vary between groups. Suppose, for example, the Democratic Party prepared a survey about who you consider to be an ideal leader: a) Joseph Biden, b) Joseph Stalin, c) Al Capone, d) Donald Trump, e) all the above. Would it be the same answer if they sent it to just Democrats versus to just Republicans? Circling “all the above” would make it harder to identify an individual preference.

The equivalent of surveys can be found in Scripture. A rich man came to Jesus and asked what it would take to gain eternal life (Mark 10:17-20). The Lord provided two surveys. The first stated Commandments #5-10, and the rich man circled “all the above.” The second survey was a rewording of Commandments #1-4 to see if the man understood the principle; the rich man did not reply because he loved money more than God.

Jesus offered a survey in the parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46) to determine who had helped a needy person in one of six circumstances. The sheep circled “all the above” and the goats asked when did they see someone in need. Sheep will receive their promised inheritance in God’s kingdom; goats will go in the other direction.

You may know someone who is trying to find answers to profound questions like, “How can there be a loving God with so much evil in the world?” Helping them understand the creation account in Genesis 1-3 and the redemptive efforts in John 1 can be a start. Practically, you might explain how God’s laws are perfectly designed and fairly balanced. And you might remind them they can believe in something they cannot see. God may not be visible, but can be seen in how He lives in us; much like watching a ball fall to the ground is visible evidence of the unseen effect of gravity.

Writing your own answer to a question is as foolish as pretending you didn’t hear your mother’s question. Denying the truth gets you spanked. On the other hand, it is quite a blessing to accept the truth of God’s answers.