April 29, 2015

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. 1 John 4:1, 2

Time for a little test: The Weather Channel has put together this short, 10-question quiz on the national parks. I admit I got one incorrect answer—I wasn’t sure which desert was pictured.

I’ve been writing this blog for six(!) years now, with each post reiterating the same basic message: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

I’ve tried to present it a variety of ways while conveying what I’ve learned about the parks and, more significantly, how I’ve seen Scriptural principles reflected in them, taking this phrase as a guide: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).

I believe I have “correctly handle[d] the word of truth,” as Paul admonishes his protégé Timothy to do (2 Timothy 2:15). But, strange as this may sound to some of you, I don’t want you to take what I write as gospel. The Bible is the gospel, not my words, and it says very clearly that what I—or anyone—proclaim as biblical truth must be backed up by Scripture.

Even early believers had to stand up under that scrutiny. Acts 17 relates how Paul and Silas traveled from to Berea, going straight to the Jewish synagogue so Paul could tell them about Jesus, as was their custom (v. 2). The Bereans “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (v. 11).

So please, don’t just take my word for it—make sure for yourself that what I’m saying is biblically accurate. Because while knowing about the national parks may be fun and interesting, studying and understanding Scripture’s promises and commands is not merely important—it’s vital. As Moses reminds us, “they are not just idle words for you—they are your life” (Deuteronomy 32:47).

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