I already have a blog. Why do I need another? I don't. 

Good day to all. My name is Don Camp. I am an old guy who retired from teaching and pastoring and photography and flyfishing but can't seem to give up any of those things. But most of all, I can't give up talking  about the Lord Jesus, and that is what Biblical Musing is all about. The topics vary. Today it is about religion and the many Christians who are leaving the Church The Great Dechurching 

Devotional Reading  4/21/24

2 Thessalonians 1: 11-12

 And in this regard we pray for you always, that our God will make you worthy of his calling and fulfill by his power your every desire for goodness and every work of faith, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

That is the prayer I pray for myself. I cannot say more. 

Devotional Reading 4/20/24

Hebrews 1: 1-2

After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets,  in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world.

The messages of the prophets were partial and therefore unclear. But that is always the case if for no other reason than the prophecy is only clear when it is fulfilled. That makes every skeptic crazy. But it does not trouble Christians. It confirms the word of God when its veracity and power needs confirming. Usually in difficult times. 

I certainly find it so. When I see events around me unfolding as the Bible foretold, that firms my faith. Thank you, Lord, for that. 

Devotional Reading 4/19/24

Philippians 4:22,23

22 All the saints greet you, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

One thing that stands out in Philippians are the transformed lives of the people to whom Paul wrote the letter - and those who were with Paul at the time, such as those of Ceasar's household. A common complaint today against Christianity is that it is toxic and manipulative. But it was not so in the early years. It was life-changing. It is not so today when it is genuine. 

I have been around long enough to know that religion can be toxic. But I find God to be the greatest source of joy and peace. As I look back on my journey, I would only wish that I had reached that simple faith and trust in God earlier. The Philippians evidently did. 

Devotional Reading 4/18/24

Philippians 3:17-19

Be imitators of me, brothers and sisters, and watch carefully those who are living this way, just as you have us as an example.  For many live, about whom I have often told you, and now, with tears, I tell you that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, they exult in their shame, and they think about earthly things.

The early church did not lack fakers. The characteristic of these people was their focus on earthly things. In their passion for early things, they led Christians astray. But, praise the Lord, there were many who were genuine. These were people who lived simply and sacrificially as Jesus himself did. They did not crave flashy cars or big houses or the accolades of men. They were on a mission for others. 

Paul was one of these. But there were and are many others. It has been my joy to know some.  It is also my joy to know others who are being molded into such men. (Paul would say of himself he is still being molded.) It is my desire to be among them. So help me, Lord. 

Devotional Reading 4/17/24

Philippians 2:1,2

  Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose.

I don't think Paul means to think in lockstep. He means to not be at odds with one another in how you think about the truth and calling of the church. Don't be divisive. Be agreeable. It is a caution I take to heart. I rub shoulders with believers of many different cultures and styles of worship and interpretive and exegetical traditions. I do not want to be divisive. 

I live in a church culture that has people with worship styles and traditions ranging from Fundamentalist to Reformed to Charismatic. And we each favor our particular tradition. But not to the point of division. We value unity above individuality. 

I feel called to move the understanding of the Church toward a less Fundamentalist literalist way of thinking to a broader way of thinking that does not draw unnecessary lines between the information we get from science and history and the Truth we get from the Bible. I want us to grow up. But I know that will be stretching for many. Lord, help me maintain the mutual love, spirit, and purpose that unites us. 

Devotional Reading  4/16/24

Philippians 1:1,2

From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Over my life I have served the Lord and the church as both deacon and overseer. I remember the first time I helped serve communion at First Baptist in Lebanon. I was so moved by the blessing that I had tears in my eyes. I remember also the first time I took the pulpit at Calvary Baptist in Cove as Pastor and all the wonderful -- and sometimes quirky -- saints I served and loved over twelve years. Those who remain still have a place in my heart twenty years later. What incredible joy we had working together! Like Paul, I cannot get them out of my heart and my prayers, though sometimes prayers through tears as I pray for them in the difficult times of life. 

Being called to those places of service was the most incredible privilege of my life. I love you guys, saints in Christ Jesus. I pray grace and peace upon all who serve and upon the Church of God in Christ Jesus. 

Devotional Reading 4/15/24

Hosea 14:9

For the ways of the Lord are right;

the godly walk in them,

but in them the rebellious stumble.

My desire is to walk in the ways of the Lord. I may not know everything -- I certainly do not -- but I know one thing: the ways of the Lord are life. And I know one more thing: the rebellious will find reasons everywhere to dismiss the ways of the Lord. Lord, keep my feet on solid ground. 

Devotional Reading 4/14/24

Hosea 12:1

They make treaties with Assyria,

and send olive oil as tribute to Egypt.

God's complaint against Israel was that they made a deal with the devil. Or tried to. In the end it came back to bite them. And that is how it is when I make a deal with the devil. Even a small one. It always separates me from God's care and presence and peace. I always have regrets. It is always a bowl of mush like the one Esau chose over his birth right. Lord, may I learn from those forays into darkness that darkness holds nothing but emptiness.  

Devotional Reading 4/13/24

Hosea 9:17

My God will reject them,

for they have not obeyed him;

so they will be fugitives among the nations. 

I am far less concerned these days about what I believe than about what I do. The truth is important, very important, but the truth does not give life until it is obeyed. I want the life that comes from obedience to the truth. 

The result of holding the truth intellectually as truth but without obedience is what Hosea describes: eventual syncretism with the culture of the world and inclusion of error that becomes heresy and NO OBEDIENCE to the truth rather accommodation to the culture of the world. Lord, save me from that.  

Devotional Reading 4/7/24

Isaiah 66:10

“Be happy for Jerusalem

and rejoice with her, all you who love her!

I have to confess; it is hard today to be happy for Jerusalem. This ongoing war with Hamas and Gaza has turned me into a critic of Israel's humanity, or lack of it.  But this verse is not about Jerusalem today. It is about Jerusalem redeemed. What follows in this chapter reminds me that God has a day of redemption and transformation for Jerusalem. That I will rejoice in. That I pray for. It will be a day of praise for God's incredible mercy and grace - which I have received myself. Thank you, Lord.

Devotional Reading 4/3/24

Isaiah 59:21

21 “As for me, this is my promise to them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is upon you, and my words, which I have placed in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth or from the mouths of your children and descendants from this time forward,” says the Lord.

Coming after all the warnings, coming after the enumeration of their sins, this promise: though Israel is rebellious and sinful, God will act to redeem her. His redemption will be deep and thorough and permanent. 

Today I look at the mess in the Middle East and especially in Israel. Even the nations who have supported her in her defense are abandoning her. It has gotten that bad. The destruction of life Israel has caused is beyond measure. The destruction of her own life is tragic. 

It could have been different. 

Israel could have returned to the land determined to live godly among the people of the Middle East. She could have blessed rather than bullied her way into power. She had not learned from the 2000 years of exile and the holocaust in Europe. She acted in her self-interest rather than in gratitude. The second (or third exodus in 1948) was not to freedom but slavery of their own making. 

I grieve. I pray. Lord, bring Israel to repentance. Make her a blessing. Create in her a new heart. 

Bible Reading 4/1/2024

Isaiah 58:6-7

6 this is the kind of fast I want:

I want you to remove the sinful chains,

to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke,

to set free the oppressed,

and to break every burdensome yoke.

7 I want you to share your food with the hungry

and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people.

Israel failed as the servant of the Lord because they did not care for the oppressed. They were religious, sometimes in divergent and distorted forms of religion, but it did not make a difference in their lives. It did not produce righteousness. This is exactly how Jesus found them, 700 years after Isaiah spoke these words, religious but ungodly.  True Godliness has compassion for the oppressed. 

I have struggled with these words for many years. I have felt their rebuke. I have tried to understand how God would have me live compassionately. Yet, I dabble in the work of lifting breaking the cords that bind people. I drive by the poor daily without even slowing down. I live comfortably, and they live on the street. I have all I need, and they have little. I know how Jesus lived and do not do the same.  Lord, continue to make me uncomfortable until I become what you want me to be.