The Bible Stands—Isaiah 40:6-8

We can stand firm because the Bible stands forever


Levi Durfey 




Isaiah chapter 40 marks a new section in the book of Isaiah. Up to this point, Isaiah had been warning the Jews of his own time to obey the Lord (cf. Isaiah 1:18-19).


But in Isaiah 40, he shifts to the future. In just a short while, the Jews would find themselves taken captive to the land of Babylon. There they would languish for 70 years. 


Questions would certainly flood their minds, like, “Has God abandoned us?” “Will we ever return to our home?” 


Isaiah, guided by God’s Holy Spirit, would write for those Jews living decades later, to comfort them. Isaiah 40 begins on this note: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God” (Isaiah 40:1).


Part of the comfort he gave was that they would return to the Promised Land (Isaiah 43) and Babylon would fall (Isaiah 46).


How could they know that this would be true? Because, Isaiah reports, God’s Word stands forever. Through any trial or change, God’s people can be assured that the Bible stands. That God’s promises are always true.


But before we come to this great theological bedrock to base our lives on, God, through Isaiah, reminds us that…

Continue reading

What Does A Genuine Love For One Another Look Like?—Romans 12:9-13

20170319FBCAM [Anniversary Sunday]

Levi Durfey 




Turn to Romans 12:9-13. Our passage there begins with the phrase:


Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation [genuine].

9 ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος.


Dissimulation is the “concealment of one’s thoughts, feelings, or character” (Oxford Dictionary). You could say “Let love be without hypocrisy…pretending…faking it.” Or you could just say it in a positive sense, “Let love be genuine.”


Judas is an example of a person who pretended to love others. He pretended to love the poor. When a woman wiped Jesus’s feet with expensive ointment, Judas complained,


5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare [stole] what was put therein.(John 12:5–6)


And, of course, the kiss he placed on Jesus’s cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane as he betrayed Him marks one of history’s most despicable displays of fake love for someone. 


What’s most sad about Judas’s lack of genuine love for others is that he had been walking with Jesus for three years. He had heard Jesus’s teaching and seen His love and concern for other people. Yet, Judas wasn’t changed. He didn’t get it. 


To be fair, of course, the other disciples would also have their own problems, both before and after the resurrection of Jesus. 


And of course, today, Christians still have struggles with having a genuine love for others.


Continue reading

Lessons From The Wilderness—Luke 4:1-2

Series: Jesus’s Preparation For Ministry (3:1-4:13)


Levi Durfey 




In 1992, James Scott, a 22 year medical student from Australia, was about to begin medical training in Katmandu, Nepal. He went for a hike and when bad weather hit, became hopelessly lost in the Himalayan mountains. 


He tried to follow a creek downstream for a couple days, but steep terrain and 3,000 foot waterfalls blocked his way. He had walked himself into a corner. 


Eventually, he found shelter under a large rock overhang which was near a open area where he thought he might be spotted by helicopter. There he hunkered down and waited…and survived.


After his two candy bars were consumed (far too quickly), James tried eating pine leaves and bamboo, but simply could not. He says that the first ten days he was “hideously hungry” and had to find ways to distract himself from thinking about food. 


The only other thing he found to eat was one caterpillar.  Other than that, he ate (or drank) snow. 


Day after day passed. Later on, he tried walking out of his camp—it took him two hours to walk a block and then he collapsed and vomited. He had lost a third of his body weight.


One morning he awoke to the sound of a helicopter. He managed to wave his sleeping bag to signal it, but it flew away. He couldn’t be sure if he had been seen or not. He didn’t know that it had only been sent out to find his body.


That evening, he heard voices—


When I first heard faint voices I thought I was hallucinating. But the voices persisted and I raised my head and whistled through my teeth. A whistle came back. I shouted, “Namaste | Hello |” and an echoing shout returned.


Slowly the shouts came nearer, but I was too weak to get up. I shouted “I am under this rock” then suddenly there were two dark figures on the ledge. They ran over and ripped the hood off my head. They were two Nepalese.


They asked, “Are you James Scott from Australia?” I said I was and, for the first time since I had been lost, I cried and cried. They were from Talu and they started hugging me and kissing me. I noticed one of them was barefoot; I knew that many villagers simply could not afford shoes. They were very brave. 


One of them said, “James Scott, you are a god. I asked why I was a god, and he said because no-one lived up here for more than 10 days. I said no, God must have kept me alive. (


James Scott had survived 43 days without food in the winter wilderness of the Himalayan mountains.


A wilderness is more than a desert, a forest, or a mountain.


A wilderness is a place of trial and temptation. A place that strips you to the bare essentials and demands that your true character reveal itself.


A wilderness is a place where we are tested and tried as humans. Most of us, should we live long enough, encounter a wilderness of some sort. 


Jesus, being human, had a time in the wilderness:

Continue reading

The Curse And The Cross—Galatians 3:10-14


Levi Durfey 




Some of you have seen the game show, Jeopardy, where the contestants are given the answer and must provide the question. For example, 


“Get out of _______” refers to a sometimes lawless cattle city founded in 1872.


The question is, “What is Dodge?” 


Let’s play a little Jeopardy with the passage in Galatians 3:10-14. Galatians 3:10-14 is the answer, what is the question?


10 For as many as are of the works of the law 

are under the curse: 

for it is written, 

Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things 

which are written in the book of the law to do them. 

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, 

it is evident: for, 

The just shall live by faith. 

12 And the law is not of faith: but, 

The man that doeth them shall live in them. 

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, 

being made a curse for us: for it is written, 

Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles 

through Jesus Christ; 

that we might receive the promise of the Spirit 

through faith. 

(Galatians 3:10–14)


I am sure you thought of several questions this passage could answer, but the way I put it was: How can a person come into a right relationship with God?


There are two possible ways presented. One way, of course, does not work; while the other way does work. Let’s look at how they are described in verses 11 and 12 where they are called the way of faith and the way of the law, then we’ll go back to verse 10.

Continue reading