Authority of Scripture

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Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

I was watching a video yesterday (15 June 2021) and the speaker made a good point that there was a time (at least in the States) while people wanted Jesus to return, they were hoping He would prolong His arrival so that they could get married, have children, graduate from whatever school, etc. People were comfortable living in this world. Since 2020, I do not hear people saying they want Jesus to prolong His return for their personal x,y and z.

In a world gone mad more and more people are seeking and asking, “What is truth?” (John 18:38 ESV), yet very few people are accepting the Authority and Truth of God’s Word. The Bible is being distorted, lambasted and outright rejected at record speed.

I have read time and time again that in the Last Days there will be a great falling away, that the Word of God will be traded for lies and that the apostate church and its false prophets will be considered true Christianity. Only now, I am starting to understand what that looks like in real time and place and it is horrifying.

From the time of Israel (Old Testament) until now (New Testament) the Lord has preserved His Word declaring that it will remain forever:

“The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa 4:7-8). 

Peter cites Isaiah saying, “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25).

Jesus, God Himself says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt 24:35).

God is sovereign and He makes it clear, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isa 55:10-11).

God will most certainly accomplish His Will and we can either be holy, faithful useful agents/servants of the Gospel or God will continue on with His plan without us by disciplining us, putting us on the shelf, etc.

Both the Old Testament and New Testament affirm that we are NOT to add or take away anything from God’s Word. God’s Word cannot mean, what it did not mean to the original author and audience. Context is indeed king! The Bible is being removed from its original context and this has serious consequences for individuals and for society.

Moses tells Israel in Deuteronomy, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you” (4:2) and “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (12:32).

While this refers to the prophecy in Revelation, John states, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (22:18-19). 

We alter God’s Word when we cherry-pick what we want to believe and apply. We alter God’s Word when we minimize the reality of hell and the wrath of God that John prophesies in Revelation. We alter God’s Word when we say, “love is love.” At no point in time has the Triune God ever changed His design for marriage. It has always been between one man and one woman. God has never ceased creating biological men and women in His image. We alter God’s Word when we interpret it based on our emotions, feelings and desires.

Peter states, “[N]o prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:20-21). Sin and a low view of Scripture is what is altering God’s Word today in terms of marriage, sex, gender etc.

Let us never forget that sin began with a question, “Did God actually say…?” (Gen 3:1). From the beginning, “the most important strategy in Satan’s war against God, His Christ, and us is to undermine our confidence in God’s word. He does this by means of worldly wisdom. The wisdom of the age will always conflict with Scripture” (G. Cook, Severe Compassion: The Gospel According to Nahum, 2016, p. 57).

What is absolutely amazing about the Fall of Man in Genesis 3 is that “God does not intervene to defend his word” (p. 58). God gave His Word directly to Adam, Adam shared it with Eve. God has given His Word to us in written form, in many different languages and it is up to God’s people to rightly defend, interpret and share the Word.

Scoffers of God’s Word have always existed and will continue to exist. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is still as relevant today as when Paul wrote it: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the [messenger] of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 

God asks us to choose an authority. It can either be God and His Word or it can be sinful man armed with Satan’s deceptive, destructive and damning wisdom. Make no mistake every person who has lived, is living and will live will be examined by Scripture, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:12-13).

May God and His Word be our ultimate authority. I implore you to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where Satan is seeking to undermine your confidence in Scripture.

Lord God, thank You for the preservation of Your Word. Lord God, I pray that for those who are being swayed and deceived by false teachers and teachings that You will open their eyes and ears to You and to Your Truth. Lord God, strengthen Your people who hold tightly to Your Word. Lord God, impress on us to know Your Word as we guard our hearts and minds. Lord God, may we never take Your Word for granted. May we never become bored or tired of hearing Your Word read, taught and preached. Lord God, thank You that for those who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ that they can know You through nature/creation. Lord God, thank You for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Mid June 2021 Prayer

Lord, as this world becomes more and more political, help us to remember that we are citizens of Your Kingdom and that this world is not our home. Lord God, in light of this truth, help us to not retreat, abandon and run away from this world, but to see this world through a biblical lens.

Lord God, every second someone is dying without knowing Christ. Lord, help Your people to be salt and light, evangelists and disciplers. Lord God, give Your people wisdom and discernment. Lord, it is grievous the errors that have been allowed to grow in the Church. Lord God, the apostate church is the greatest threat to orthodox, sound Christianity. Lord God, for those of us who live in an area where we can still speak and read Your Word freely, may we do so in confidence.

Lord God, reading Your Word is not a luxury or blasé blasé, it is life, it is our standard. In a world that rejects any form of absolute truth and is twisting truth to satisfy emotions, Lord again, help us to be discerning. Help us to be wise. Help us to have courage.

Lord God, strengthen and comfort our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and tortured for their faith. Lord God, for areas that are increasing in hostility toward Christianity and harassing Christians, help us to not give up. Lord God, help us to not compromise and conform. Help us to want You more than comfort, safety and security.

Lord God, be with the millions of children all over the world who are growing up in a world of chaos and confusion. Lord God, watch over the children whether they are growing up in believing homes or not. Lord God, it is unconscionable and an affront to You what children are being taught. Lord God, be with believing parents, give them guidance and wisdom when it comes to parenting, education etc.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord God, thank You that You are still changing hearts. Lord God, help believers to be agents who draw people to yourself. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Fishing Thoughts

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn. Lake Conewingo. 5 June 2021.

I am sweltering out here on the water. Today is 90f and 40% humidity. This is our first time out since Raystown.

Nathan is doing exceedingly well so far (praise God always puts him in a good mood!). I have attempted to fish but my focus resides on not passing out from heat exhaust, getting sunburned nor getting bit by bugs.

My time out here today convicts me that in Heaven the one thing we won’t be doing is evangelizing. We will not share Jesus with the lost. I am reminded that Jude tells us to “have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire…” (1:22-23 ESV).

Hell is a literal physical place. Unbelievers will be cast out and will spend eternity in torment where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I don’t know where God has you today or what your outside temperature is like but may we be a people who fight the elements to save others while there is still time.

Lord God, evangelism and discipleship are messy. It is not easy nor is it for the faint of heart. Lord God, teach us to fish. Teach us to show people Jesus as well as talk about Jesus. Lord God, thank You for this reader and lead and guide them today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn. Lake Conewingo, 5 June 2021.

June 2021 Prayer

Photo by Boris Pavlikovsky on Pexels.com

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, 

nor are there any works like yours. 

All the nations you have made shall come 

and worship before you, O Lord, 

and shall glorify your name. 

10  For you are great and do wondrous things; 

you alone are God. 

11  Teach me your way, O Lord, 

that I may walk in your truth; 

unite my heart to fear your name. 

12  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, 

and I will glorify your name forever. 

13  For great is your steadfast love toward me; 

you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol (Psalm 86:8-13 ESV).

Lord God, thank You for another new day, another new month and another opportunity to love and serve You. Lord God, thank You and praise You that there is no god but You! Lord God, the god of this world is bombarding and distracting us like never before. Lord God, as this world changes by the minute may we never forget that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Lord God, comfort Your people with Your Presence and may Your Presence motivate Your people to tell others about Jesus while there is still time!

Lord God, only You know what nations will exist when You return. Thank You and praise You that people from every nation, tribe and language will be part of Your Kingdom. Lord God, may the reality that at Your appointed time every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of You Father God, never be far from our minds! May we obey You and bring Your glory in this new month! May Your people seek to live with one another peaceably focusing on the majors and not the minors of our faith.

Lord God, You are great and do wondrous things! Lord God, may we never cease to marvel at Your works whether that is in a sunrise, sunset or a baby’s laughter. Lord God, may we never forget that we are but dust, that we are the creature, not the Creator. Lord God, more and more I am in awe of You: One God, Three Persons. Praise You Holy Trinity that You do not ask us to figure You out but rather ask us to love You and others, trusting and obeying You.

Teach us Your ways and give us a heart to want to obey You. Lord God, impress on us this month Lord that in biblical thought the heart encompasses the mind, will/volition and emotions, the total being of a person. Lord God, help us to think right in this new month, help us to discern our emotions this month and may this motivate our hands to do right by You in this month. Lord God, good theology always moves from head, to heart, to hand. May we unite our hearts to Your heart in this new month so that when persecution comes, we will know how to stand firm in You. Lord God, may we be prepared to glorify You and praise Your Name in the hard, dark and tough times.

Lord God, may we learn more about Your hesed this month, Your covenant faithfulness. Lord God, You are faithful to Your covenant, may we be faithful to You. Lord God, as You know our society wants us to pledge loyalty to various causes, may Your people be loyal to You because of Your covenant faithfulness, because of Your steadfast love, because of Your Character and Work. Lord God, may evangelism and discipleship be the cause in which we pledge our love and allegiance.

Lord God, thank You for the testimony of each of the believers reading this. Thank You for all the ways that You have delivered our souls form the depths of Sheol. Lord God, for the reader who does not know Christ, may they seek You while there is still time. Not just so that they may escape the fire and judgement of hell, but so that they will be able to serve You now, understanding their purpose in a world gone mad.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Thank You for all the ways that You will use this reader this month if they will allow You. Lord God, make us willing and available servants to be Your Hands and Feet this month. Thank You Jesus that the time of Your arrival is drawing ever closer. May we be reminded that it is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God. Thank You for Your gift of salvation by grace through faith. May we hear, read and mediate on Your Word more this month, as it is guaranteed to transform us for the better if we will allow it. Lord God, open our hearts to You today. Praise You for this reader! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Reflections from my time at Raystown Lake

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

When we first boarded our houseboat on Monday May 24, 2021 I was really excited. It did not take long for me to become agitated with the houseboat itself.

I must confess in certain ways I can be Princess Mandy. I have a standard of clean which I expect of myself and others. This boat did not meet that standard or any level of tolerance. I chose to rent this boat because of its top deck; however, I do not think they have ever cleaned my much wanted deck!

Nathan and I have been married for 3.5 years and this was our first vacation. I was either in Seminary or we were moving so this is the first time we have done something like this. Nathan in his love and kindness for me knew that I was unhappy and he started cleaning while I was sulking.

Pride is a vicious beast! I wanted a beautiful boat to see God’s Beautiful Creation and I am SO thankful that God humbled me to see His Beauty, to see Nathan’s love and to get over myself so that I could see God and to see Nathan as God wants me to see Nathan.

Nathan, PQ and I experienced many adventures on this trip. From docking/anchoring the boat to trees, to fog, to a severe thunderstorm with 70 mph winds.

We knew there would be storms on Wednesday May 26, 2021 we just didn’t know how severe. When we saw the clouds forming we tied the boat down on an island that we thought was safe. Well, the first big gust of wind ripped the metal cleat right off the boat. Nathan had to quick jump off and untie the other side and we were just spinning and spinning. I remembered seeing that the upstairs deck furniture was unstacked and untied down. I quick went up to stack it and Nathan started screaming at me to get down. I had never seen Nathan so shaken and upset, he said I could have really been hurt and if the stuff blows over oh well, your life is worth more than some deck furniture. Nathan also said he was concerned the wind was going to turn the boat on its side.

I had been joking earlier in the day maybe we have our own Jesus calms the sea/storm/winds/waves moment; however, I never anticipated it would look like that!

What we didn’t know until returning the boat yesterday May 28, 2021 was that when Nathan went to the marina to buy live bait on Wednesday (May 26) before the storm. The marina requires houseboats to be docked by their employees. Well, the employee who worked for the marina when docking the boat, hitting the side of the boat against the dock, putting a hole in the side of the boat that Nathan and I never saw. After it was pointed out to Nathan yesterday he said had he known he wouldn’t have taken the boat back out again. Thank God the marina has their employees dock the boat so this wasn’t on Nathan and I and even greater thank God for this hole not being an issue in the storm!!!!!

We fished for many, many hours each day. In 4 days we caught zero fish. From what we could tell no one else was really catching fish either. Tuesday May 25, 2021 was a full moon and that may have had an effect on the fish. Fishing is a great analogy for the Christian life. Jesus tells Peter, Andrew, James and John that He will teach them how to fish for people. The call is to discipleship, but fishing is also an appropriate analogy of evangelism as well. Both take time and diligence. As Nathan says, “if you don’t have a line [or net] in the water you’re guaranteed to not catch any fish.” I have a greater appreciation for seeking out where the fish are!

I know that every blogger, podcaster, vlogger says they have “the best followers.” Precious readers, I am SO thankful for your love and support and prayers on this journey. I do NOT view any of y’all as followers but friends who I am doing and sharing life with.

I know that most of my blogs lately have been more biblical theology based than personal life application. This adventure has restored to me a sense of being personal and vulnerable with y’all as well as to share what I am learning from the Lord and His Word. Again, I cannot thank y’all enough for your love, support and encouragement.

The Lord has restored my love for taking pictures of His creation and I want to share more of what I see when I am out and about with y’all.

Maybe dear reader you have wanted to go on your own adventure but don’t know where to go or can’t at this moment. I would love to encourage you to read or listen to an audio Bible version of your choosing on Acts. The Book of Acts is an epic adventure. There’s the ascension of Jesus, the start of the church, conversions, missionary journeys, snakes, shipwrecks, imprisonments, stoning etc.

Life in Christ is an adventure. There are NO days off in the Christian life. While this post 2020 covid world may seem more like a nightmare than an adventure; life in Christ is life to the fullest if we are willing to follow Him. This life is not easy. But it wasn’t easy for any of the real life people in Acts either.

I am thankful that God continues to remove me from my comfort zone. It is not pleasant at first but it always leads me to growing closer to Him and to others in the process. I am not the same person today, May 29, 2021 that I was on Monday May 24. Praise God for His Work in our lives and meeting us right where we are. May you dear reader, grow closer to our Savior today!

Lord God, thank You for the gifts of adventure, wonder, awe, humility and transparency. Lord God, help us to not fear what is next but to cling to You, holding to You, journeying with You and with others. Lord God, thank You for the heart that You have given these readers for me and I pray they know that my heart is with them. Lord God, I do not know what favor and blessing looks like for this reader but I ask that You will bless them for the love and support they have shown me. Lord God, thank You that when we actively seek You that You will transform us more in Your Image. May Your people seek to glorify You! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Here are more pictures if you’re interested (all photos taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn).

Sunrise

Sunrise over Raystown Lake, PA. 28 May 2021. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Psalm 8 (ESV) To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Lord God, we praise You for who You are. Lord God, may we never cease to marvel and be in awe of You. Lord, help us to think less of ourselves and think more about You.

Praise You Lord for the sun rising and setting each day. Praise You Lord for gravity and order and holding all things in place. Praise You Lord that as You care for the birds, fish and trees, You care for us.

Lord God, thank You that Your glory will be known in all the earth. Jesus, one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that You are Lord and Savior.

Praise You Jesus for who You are and what You have done for us. Stir this reader who is a believer to praise Your Name Jesus and to take comfort in knowing that they will be with You now and forevermore. For the reader who does not know Jesus, Holy Spirit stir the reader’s heart to trust Jesus by grace through faith today while their is still time.

Praise You Holy Trinity for etching eternity on our hearts, for creating us in Your Image and purposing us to bring You glory. Praise You Trinity for Your Majesty, Holiness and Otherness. Praise You Trinity for dwelling amongst sinful people and calling us to repentance. We praise You, we love You and it’s in Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

Fog

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Lord God, as fog and confusion are increasing in culture, may we be reminded that Jesus is the Light and the Holy Spirit Guides to the Glory of God the Father.

Lord God, thank You that even when we cannot see what is right in front of us, we can trust that You are still there, that we can make decisions based on who You are.

Lord God, so many today are trading Truth for lies. Lord, may we never forget that while Satan is a defeated foe, he will bombard us and distract us and disguise himself as antichrist, a false light. Lord God, may Your people point the whomsoever to the Light of Christ. May we grow in our love and devotion to You and Your Word.

Lord God, while we are NEVER to worship creation may we take time to look at the trees in our midst or hear the birds in the sky and reflect that You called this “good.”

While this earth is perishing and fading away, we know that Your Word remains forever, it will not perish or be destroyed. It will exist forever and ever. Lord, help us to be agents who break the darkness and fog that plagues this society. Lord God, may we obey You, being in this world and not of it.

Thank You Lord for this reader. For those who are in Christ may they hold to the Truth that Jesus loves them and for those who are far from Christ may they seek You while there is still time. Lord, fill this reader with the Peace of Your Presence. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Welcome Aboard!

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Nathan, PQ and I have now left the dock and the three of us are about to spend four nights aboard this vessel.

I will confess I have been on ocean cruises, river cruises, large boats, small boats, this is the first time I have been on a houseboat where we (Nathan) decide the itinerary.

God has been gracious to me and I will have cell service so I can connect with y’all! PQ is NOT enjoying himself at all as of yet.

I am looking forward to reading and praying. I will do more casting than catching fish but it will be fun nevertheless!

Father God, thank You for new opportunities, new adventures, new weeks, new days and above all new mercies each day. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Thank You for all the ways that You care for us and allow us to commune with You. Lord God, lead us and guide us. Thank You Jesus that for all of us who have placed our faith in You we know that You are the Master and Commander of our lives, not ourselves. Lord, fill this reader with the peace of Your Presence. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Here are a few pictures so far if you’re interested:

Middle of May 2021 Prayer

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As is well known I write a prayer at the beginning of each month; however, I am being led to write a mid-month prayer. Hoping y’all will join me.

Lord God, thank You that You are Sovereign and Holy. Lord God, lead us and guide us as so much is occurring already halfway through this month. Lord God make Your presence known in South East Asia. Lord God, You know there are Christian children in a certain country that are in great danger and we ask Lord that You will protect these children. Lord God, I absolutely cannot imagine and I do not even know how to pray. In all this, I praise You Jesus that You are interceding on Your people’s behalf. You are our Great High Priest. Holy Spirit thank You that You are interceding for us with groanings too deep for words, making our prayers align with Your Will (Rom 8:26-27).

Lord God, be with the believers in the Tigray region in Ethiopia who are opening their homes to Eritrean Christian refugees. Lord God, while these brothers and sisters do not have much, they are willing to share what they have.

Lord God, protect Your people in Nigeria. Over 2000 Christians have been abducted so far this year with another 1470 murdered by jihadists. Lord God, I pray that You will strengthen Your people in Nigeria. Lord God, thank You and praise You that when You see fit You will hold these people accountable for what they have done. Lord, open the eyes of jihadis to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Lord God, the peace, tolerance, safety and security the world is offering is a lie. May Your people continue to pray, holding firm to their faith in Christ.

Lord God, as we pray for Jerusalem may we never forget to pray for the Arab Christians and Messianic Jews. So often when we hear about the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts we forget about the Christians on both sides who are caught in the crosshairs of this fighting. Lord God, You did not come to bring peace but a sword. Lord God, stir hearts in the Middle East for Jesus. May we be reminded there will never be peace in the Land until You come and set up Your Kingdom.

Lord God, regardless of what a person’s views are on these conflicts around the world may we NEVER forget that You have chosen/called/elected individuals for salvation from every tribe, nation and tongue. Lord God, there is a lie being told to people today that You are colorblind. Lord God, I ask that Your people learn to see and embrace color biblically. Whether it’s the flowers in the field, the turquoise of the sea or the color of a person’s skin. Lord God, You have created different skin colors. You see skin color NOT to disparage people but because You are a color creating God. You have called color good! Your Tabernacle and Temple were lavish in color, so are our bodies which are the temple of the Holy Spirit. For Your people to dislike or elevate one color above another is antichrist.

Lord God, Philip Ryken says, “The law always reveals the character of the lawgiver” (Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory,2005, p. 525) how true this is. Lord God, as the laws in the West become less and less Christ-centered may we continue to seek You and Your Kingdom. Lord God, prepare Your people in the West for the increase of secular humanist laws that will go against You and put us at odds with the masses.

Lord God, You tell us in the last days that persecution will increase. Lord God, help us to remember our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and in chains for their faith regardless of where we live. Lord God, authoritarianism is growing not just in Turkey but all over the world. For those who think persecution will not happen to them, Lord wake them up by any means necessary.

Lord God, You also tell us that in the last days that knowledge will increase. We have access to more knowledge than ever before, as such help Your people to be wise and discerning. Lord God, may we continue to read and hold firm to the Truth that Your Word is infallible, inerrant and the final authority for our lives. In Jesus’s Holy and Mighty Name I pray. Amen.