“4 Ways to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life” October 31

 

4 Ways to Make a Difference in Someone's Life - The world is full of people who are caught in patterns of sin, who are without hope, who have been hurt or disappointed by others, or who are spiritually deluded. How can we make a difference in the lives of others? Our New Testament passage show us 4 ways.The world is full of people who are caught in patterns of sin, who are without hope, who have been hurt or disappointed by others, or who are spiritually deluded. How can we make a difference in the lives of others? Our New Testament passage show us 4 ways.

Today many call evil good and good evil. So many things that are advocated today would have seemed totally illogical 10 years ago. It makes us wonder how people don’t see the truth. But it’s not just unbelievers who can become deluded. How can we avoid spiritual delusion in our own lives.

Also read about overcoming evil and the only One who is “hope worthy.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 47 & 48
Psalm 119:113-120
Proverbs 28:5
2 Timothy 4:1-22

 

4 Ways to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life

 

2 Timothy 4.1-22:

Be Ready

Verse 2:

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

The world is full of people who are caught in patterns of sin, who are without hope, who have been hurt or disappointed by others, or who are spiritually deluded. How can we make a difference in the lives of others? Here are just 4 ways:

  • “Preach the Word!” We are to be prepared to share the gospel at all times, whether or not it is convenient, whether or not there is a personal cost, and whether or not our words are accepted. This isn’t just for those in full time ministry. It’s for each one of us (Matt. 28.19-20).
  • “Convince.” We are to do so lovingly and patiently without arguing or getting upset (2 Tim. 2:23-26).
  • “Rebuke.” At other times we must rebuke, especially with a sinning brother or sister in Christ. But again we are to do so lovingly and gently, looking first at our own lives (Gal. 6:1-2).
  • “Exhort.” We are to encourage others to act on their faith and when they do, encourage them to keep going.

Is there someone in your life to whom you have been unwilling to speak truth or to share your faith out of fear or insecurity? Remember, it’s not about us. We can’t save anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. We just need to be obedient.

Is there someone caught in a web of sin that you need to lovingly and gently reprove or rebuke? Maybe you’ve thought, “Who am I to judge? I’m far from perfect!” While that’s true and we aren’t to come across self-righteously (Gal. 6.1-2), it’s not an excuse to disobey God. Proverbs 27.6:

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

When faced with a difficult situation, I sometimes start out, “I’m not talking to you because I’ve always done it right. In fact, just the opposite!” Then I might share a little of my own testimony.

Is there someone you need to encourage to step out in faith, act on what they believe, or stay the course? Do you know someone who is not using his or her gifts and abilities? Encourage them to take the first step. That might mean getting more education or being a helper in some ministry.

Or maybe they need to step out and grow more spiritually by joining a small group or attending a Bible study. Maybe they need a mentor to walk alongside them, read the Bible with them, or study a book together.

Or is there a single mom who faithfully brings her children to church after a long week of work? Or a single dad struggling to raise girls? Or a student who serves God instead of doing what everyone else seems to be doing? Let them know that you notice.

Preach the Word! Convince, rebuke, encourage … make a difference in someone’s life!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 47 & 48:

Overcoming Evil

In these two chapters the Lord speaks to the Philistines and the Moabites and warns them of coming judgment. Even though God would first use these and other heathen nations as instruments of judgment against the nation of Israel, He would also judge them.

Sometimes, in God’s sovereignty, He allows people in our lives to sin against us, too, because He knows He can use it to grow us and help us to become more like Christ.

Romans 8.28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

When it happens, we are to respond with love and forgiveness and to trust Him to deal with them appropriately. Continue reading

Blended Families Part 9: A Plan for Successful Step-Parenting + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 9: A Plan for Successful Step-Parenting - We've all heard the saying, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." In last week's post, "You're not my dad!," we talked about the challenges step-parents face when children don't recognize their authority or when step-parents refuse to get involved in parenting issues. Today we'll talk about a plan for successful step-parenting.

Blended Families Part 9: A Plan for Successful Step-Parenting

 

We’ve all heard the saying, “Fail to plan; plan to fail.” In last week’s post, “You’re not my dad!,” we talked about the challenges step-parents face when children don’t recognize their authority or when step-parents refuse to get involved in parenting issues. Today we’ll talk about a plan for successful step-parenting and a great tool for parents called a “behavior contract.”

 

Last week I said that God has a blueprint for marriage (Gen. 2.24) and because it involves a one flesh relationship, both biological parents and step-parents have a responsibility to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6.4) and to not exasperate them or provoke them to anger (Col. 3.21; Eph. 6.4).

So how do we apply those principles to real life step-parenting?

 

Make a Plan

 

Some suggestions for getting started:

For the Biological Father:

  • Spend more time communicating with your wife. What are her concerns?
  • Work on a behavior contract for each of the children (more in a minute).
  • Communicate to your children that you support your wife, that she is their authority, and that they must obey her.
  • Have zero tolerance for disrespect toward her.

For the Step-Father:

  • Sit down with your wife and work out a behavior contract for each of the children.
  • Allow your wife to be the initial up-front person when both of you are present.
  • When you disagree with your wife, discuss it in private.
  • Remember that you are still the leader of the home and ultimately responsible for what goes on in the home, including parenting the children.

For the Biological Mother:

  • Recognize you husband is the head of the home.
  • Work with your husband to establish a behavior contract for each of the children.
  • Explain to the children that your husband is the head of the home. Explain they must obey his authority.
  • If you disagree with your husband, discuss it in private.

For the Step-Mother:

  • Ask your husband what responsibilities he wants you to handle.
  • Work with your husband to develop a behavior contract for each of the children.
  • Be consistent to follow through with your husband’s decisions.
  • If you disagree with your husband, discuss it in private.

 

What is a behavior contract?

 

A behavior contract is merely a tool to help you define your expectations for each child and the resulting consequences and rewards.

Many parents in blended families spend most of their time putting out fires and dealing with bad behavior. But God’s instructions involve much more. Let’s look at those two parenting verses again:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6.4).

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart (Col. 3.21).

Disciplining for wrong behavior is only one part of parenting. Just as important, maybe more so in the long run, is instructing children in the right way to go.

God gives us clear instructions. He spells out how we should live and the consequences of disobeying Him (Gen. 2.16-17; Deut. 28; Gal. 6.7-8). We should do the same for our children. Too often children are exasperated because parents are inconsistent or unclear about their expectations. This is where a behavior contract can help.

 

Writing Out a Behavior Contract

 

Start by working together with your spouse to make a list of the strengths and weaknesses of each child. Examples might be:  Continue reading

“Are we headed for Egypt?” October 30

 

Are we headed for Egypt? - Is our nation doing exactly what God told the Israelites not to do, heading for Egypt? Egypt represents the world and its systems. It refers to the world, the government, and man's wisdom. Are we looking to those things to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster. What will our nation do as a whole? And if our nation continues headlong toward Egypt, will we be like Jeremiah and Baruch who obeyed God or like the leaders of Israel who rejected God's warnings? Whose side will we be on … in our hearts, in our personal lives, in the public arena, and in the voting booth?

Is our nation doing exactly what God told the Israelites not to do, heading for Egypt?

Egypt represents the world and its systems. It refers to the world, the government, and man’s wisdom. Are we looking to those things to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster.

What will our nation do as a whole? And if our nation continues headlong toward Egypt, will we be like Jeremiah and Baruch who obeyed God or like the leaders of Israel who rejected God’s warnings? Whose side will we be on … in our hearts, in our personal lives, in the public arena, and in the voting booth?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 45 & 46
Psalm 119.105-112
Proverbs 28.4
2 Timothy 3.1-17

 

Are we headed for Egypt?

 

Jeremiah 45 & 46:

Trusting God’s Sovereign Plan

In chapter 45 God speaks to Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe or secretary. Baruch was depressed and discouraged because of all the disaster God was about to bring on his nation.

Baruch hung out with Jeremiah. He knew what Jeremiah knew. He understood the what and why of God’s dealings with His people. And yet, he was struggling with his feelings.

And just because we understand truths like Romans 8.28-29, 1 Corinthians 10.13, and other similar passages, doesn’t mean we enjoy the trial when it affects us! Perhaps, Baruch was asking “Why me? Why did I have to be born at this time in history? Why couldn’t God have sent me somewhere else until all this was over?” Perhaps, he was reminding God that he had served Him faithfully and didn’t deserve this.

The Lord gently rebuked him for his self-pity, but then encouraged him with a promise.

Verse 5, “‘And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,’ says the LORD. ‘But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.’”

God was encouraging him to not be focused on himself, but to trust in His sovereign plan and His ability to use it for good, and to trust in His divine oversight and protection.

 

Egypt or Bust?

In chapter 46 God turns to the nation as a whole. The people have now fled to Egypt to escape the hardships at home. Remember they had gone there in defiance of a direct command from God. Not only had God commanded them not to go there, He had promised to take care of them if they stayed where they belonged!

While the book of Jeremiah is written to the nation of Israel, there are many principles that can be gleaned with application to other nations and situations, including America.

In spite of what you hear on the news and in the classroom today, America was founded by godly men on godly principles. For two centuries God used us to spread the Gospel, to protect the weak, and to be a beacon of hope and rescue. Because of that God blessed us with great resources, an abundance of ideas and creativity, and spiritual and physical protection.

But, as a whole, we have rejected the very God who has blessed and protected us. We have loved our sins and hated truth. We have rewritten history to suit our purposes and redefined right and wrong. In fact, we have called evil good and good evil. We have become tolerant of sin, murder, and idolatry; and intolerant of truth and righteousness. And when things turned badly, like the Israelites, we fled to Egypt.

Egypt represents the world and its systems. We are looking to the world, to the government, and to man’s wisdom to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster. Over and over again throughout the Bible, we have been told to “stand still and see the salvation of God” (Ex. 14.13) and warned not to turn to Egypt. Isaiah 31.1:  Continue reading

“10 Principles for Bible Study” October 29

 

10 Principles for Bible Study - What do tent-making, sewing and Bible study have in common? They all require an understanding of one important principle. So much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God's Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God. What are some important principles to help us do that?What do tent-making, sewing and Bible study have in common? They all require an understanding of this one important principle.

So much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God’s Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God. What are some important principles to help us do that?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 43 & 44
Psalm 119.97-104
Proverbs 28.3
2 Timothy 2.1-26

 

10 Principles for Bible Study

 

2 Timothy 2.1-26:

Cutting God’s Word Straight

There is an abundance of practical wisdom in this chapter. One of my favorite verses and key to our walks with God is verse 15:

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

sewing-sizzorsSo much in our Christian walk hinges on our understanding of God’s Word. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures means to “cut it straight.” When a seamstress cuts out the pieces of a pattern, she must do so accurately or the pieces won’t fit together properly. As a tent-maker, Paul understood this principle and how it carried over into our study of God’s Word. We must be students of Scripture, able to cut it straight, so the pieces fit together and we can understand the full council of God.

Here are some principles that can help us study and understand God’s Word more accurately:

 

10 Principles for Bible Study

  1. Unless a passage is clearly symbolic, we should interpret the Bible literally. The Bible does contain parables, analogies, figures of speech and symbolic language, but even those passages point us to literal truth.
  2. Study the Bible in context. It is easy to lift certain passages out of context and assume they mean something entirely different. Doing so can lead to all kinds of error.
  3. Study the Bible in its historical and cultural context. What did it mean to the people who first heard it. God’s principles are true for all people at all times, but must be properly understood.
  4. Allow the Bible to interpret itself by looking up parallel passages and cross references.
  5. Understand that the Bible does not contradict itself, although sometimes we must dig deeper.
  6. Consider grammar and sentence structure. Who or what is the subject of the sentence? To whom do the pronouns refer? In what tense is the verb?
  7. Understand analogies, figures of speech, etc. Jesus Himself sometimes used exaggeration (pluck out your eye, cut off your arm), comparison, simile (I am the Door), and other literary devices to make a point. These are generally obvious. If not, they should only be considered after using other methods of interpretation.
  8. Never base a doctrine on a single verse or rhetorical question (i. e. 1 Cor. 15.29 about being baptized for the dead).
  9. Understand the difference between a principle and a promise. The book of Proverbs for example is a book of general truths and principles, not iron clad promises.
  10. Always interpret personal experience in light of Scripture, not Scripture in light of personal experience.

This is not an exhaustive list, but I hope it will help guide you as you seek to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 43 & Jer 44:

Sinning Against Ourselves 

Continue reading

“Are you under God’s umbrella of protection?” October 28

 

Are you under God's umbrella of protection? - What is God’s "umbrella of protection" and how do we stay under it? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members?What is God’s “umbrella of protection” and how do we stay under it? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members?

How does this apply:

  • Within the Family
  • In the Church
  • In Our Nation

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 41 & 42
Psalm 119.89-96
Proverbs 28.2
2 Timothy 1.1-18

 

Are you under God’s umbrella of protection?

 

Jeremiah 41 & 42 & Proverbs 28.2:

Umbrella of Protection for a Nation

Interestingly our verse in Proverbs today is 28.2:

“Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; but by a man of understanding and knowledge right will be prolonged.”

John MacArthur says, “Unrighteousness in a nation produces political instability with many vying for power …,” on the other hand, “Wisdom promotes social order and long rule.”

We see that truth in operation here in Jeremiah 41 and 42, and in the following chapter. Ishmael sees an opportunity to seize control and is shortly overturned himself by Johanan. But, because he lacked righteousness and trust in God, Johanan soon leads the people to ruin.

There is also a beautiful picture of God’s willingness to protect His people in chapter 42. When the people were in a desperate situation, they turned to God, asking Jeremiah to intercede for them and seek His wisdom. But when He provided it, they were unwilling to listen.

The place of protection was where God had placed them and commanded them to stay. But since it didn’t make sense to them, they left and went their own way, only to be destroyed as we’ll see in the next chapter.

Remember 9-11? After that horrible tragedy people flocked to churches, but few actually made the life changes they needed so they could truly live under God’s protective authority. And as a nation, we have totally rejected the spiritual lessons we should have learned.

What can we do today? If you remember much of our reading in the historical Bible books, God would often show mercy on the whole nation because of a godly leader or one who turned to Him in times of trouble. In a democratic republic like ours, let’s pray He gives us the wisdom to make the wisest choice possible and that we listen.

But what about on a personal level, how do we either stay under God’s protective authority or leave and go to Egypt? Continue reading

“Could guilt lead to paranoia?” October 27

 

Could guilt lead to paranoia? - Could guilt lead to paranoia?Could guilt lead to paranoia? Could those feelings of guilt and anxiety be God’s early warning system to keep us from experiencing deeper emotional issues? And what happens when we ignore those warnings?

Also read about God’s faithfulness in hard times and a biblical view of authority.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 39 & 40
Psalm 119.81-88
Proverbs 28.1
1 Timothy 6.1-21

 

Could guilt lead to paranoia?

 

Proverbs 28.1:

Guilt, Anxiety & Paranoia

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Wickedness can lead to double-mindedness, fear, worry and what the world calls “paranoia.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines paranoia as “a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.”

God gave each of us a conscience. Romans 2.14-15:

14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).

And when we violate our consciences, we’ll experience guilt, anxiety and, at times, even paranoia. Not all guilt and anxiety are bad. Sometimes they’re God’s early warning system to keep us from hardening our hearts and doing things that can harm us or others.

But when we refuse to heed the warning behind those unpleasant emotions, they can morph into paranoia and a continued downward spiral of sin (Rom. 1.18-32).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 39 & 40:

The Faithfulness of God in Hard Times

What a sweet testimony to the faithfulness of God!

When the city was defeated, Nebuchadnezzar gave orders that Jeremiah was not just to be spared, but to be given a ration and told he was free to go anywhere he wanted to go!

We get so concerned about how the economy or some political change will affect us. Instead of standing firm for truth in the face of adversity and evil, we compromise, worry, and put our trust in other gods, like government, to save us. Instead of voting for candidates who are morally right we vote our pocketbooks (who promises me the most?). We lie to get unemployment benefits. Or we compromise our values in the work place, the classroom and the marketplace. Continue reading

“Widows, Laziness & the State of Your Flocks” October 26

 

Widows, Laziness & the State of Your Flocks - Paul said the body of Christ should help provide for those who are "really widows." Who are they and what should that look like? How do the government and the church play a part in their care?

Paul said the body of Christ should help provide for those who are “really widows.” Who are they and what should that look like? How do the government and the church play a part in their care?

Also, read about the cost of obedience, what it has cost others, and what Jesus said about the cost of not standing up for the truth.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 37 & 38
Psalm 119.73-80
Proverbs 27.23-27
1 Timothy 5.1-25

 

Widows, Laziness & the State of Your Flocks

 

1 Timothy 5.1-25:

Widows, Families, & Leadership

This chapter gives instructions for the church’s care of widows (vss. 3, 5-7, 9-16), the responsibility for families to care for their own members (vv. 4,8), and continues Paul’s instructions to Timothy about not being “hasty” to put someone in leadership (vss. 22-25).

 

Those Who Are Really Widows

Honor widows who are really widows (v. 3).

We have become an entitlement society. Young people think they are entitled to the latest smart phone or electronic gadget. Former employees believe they are entitled to compensation whether or not they were faithful employees. Irresponsibility is awarded in numerous ways and is the expectation.

There are times when the church, and by default society, should take care of others, but the Bible gives careful instructions for the dispensing of such help.

Laziness is condemned through the Bible. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul said:

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (1 Thess. 3.10).

In this passage, Paul gives detailed instructions for the care of widows:

Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man,10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry,12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan (vss. 9-15).

One thing for sure … Paul would never have made it in politics!  Continue reading

“Is the Bible True … All of It?” October 25

 

Is the Bible True ... All of It? - How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do you view it as God Word and allow it to direct every area of your life?How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do you view it as God’s Word and allow it to direct every area of your life?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 35 & 36
Psalm 119.65-72
Proverbs 27.22
1 Timothy 4.1-16

 

Is the Bible True … All of It?

 

Jeremiah 35 & 36:

Cutting and Pasting the Bible

Chapter 36.22-26 says:

22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. 23 And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 24 Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Nevertheless Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah implored the king not to burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them.

The king was sitting in his house, warm and comfortable, and—with a complete disregard for the Word of God! When the Scriptures were read to him, he simply cut them off the scroll and threw them into the fire!

is the Bible trueI once heard about a liberal theologian who literally cut the first few chapters of Genesis out of his Bible. Others today throw out the whole Bible as being the work of men. Still others, claim they are followers of Christ, but pick and choose what to believe.

Some talk about how Jesus loves everyone, but forget that He ordered the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some claim to love God but don’t do what He says, forgetting His words, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14.15). And others say it’s a book of principles alone. They deny its truthfulness in the area of history and science and eliminate the whole creation account.

Then there are those who cut and paste the Bible with other religious ideas. They take what they like from Christianity, add a little Eastern religion, and toss in some mysticism. Or they say they’re Christians but add other books or some so-called higher knowledge. Still others deny the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or the reality of the Trinity.  Continue reading

“Disappointed or Angry at God?” October 24

 

Are you angry at God?Do you know someone who used to come to church, but somewhere along the line they became disillusioned or angry at God? Maybe He didn’t answer their prayers or work the way they thought He should. Maybe that’s you!

Also read about prayer, obedience, godly friends, requirements for church leadership and the importance of good doctrine.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 33 & 34
Psalm 119.57-64
Proverbs 27.21
1 Timothy 3.1-16

 

Disappointed or Angry at God?

 

1 Timothy 3.1-16:

What should church leaders look like?

In this chapter Paul lists the characteristics we should look for in a man’s life before considering him for leadership in the church. The first list is for elders, pastors, bishops or overseers. The words are used interchangeably.

The second list is for deacons. Deacons serve in various other areas of the church, under the leadership of the pastors and elders. Both are extremely important. Paul emphasizes the fact that we should not be quick to put people in leadership positions (“not a novice” v. 6), but should wait to see the fruit of the Spirit manifested in their lives over a period of time. Placing someone in leadership before they are spiritually mature enough to handle it can lead to pride and a fall (v. 6-7).

 

Good Doctrine Matters

Good DoctrineVerse 15 says that the church is to be “the pillar and ground of the truth.” The church is to support and teach the truth.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine (teaching us what is right), for reproof (showing us when we’re wrong), for correction (teaching us how to get it right), and for instruction in righteousness (helping us live a godly lifestyle) (2 Tim. 3.16-17).

Good doctrine helps us see the tests and trials of life through the lens of Scripture. Good doctrine helps us know God for who He is, not as a God of our own making. Good doctrine grows our faith and trust in Him and prevents disappointment when He doesn’t work the way we think He should.

Bad doctrine on the other hand can lead us into all kinds of error, including a false assurance of salvation (Matt. 7.21-23).

One of the most widespread and pernicious is the faith and prosperity teaching. If you’ve been taught there’s a miracle in your mouth; that God wants you rich; that if you have enough faith or enough hands laid on you, you’ll be healed; or that your problem is a demon of lust, alcohol, or pornography … yet … after declaring “I’m healed” you’re not; after giving to get a promised reward, you’re still broke; or the lust, desire for alcohol, and pull of pornography is still there …, many become disappointed and walk away from God, even shake their fist at Him, because they believe they did their part and He failed to keep His end of the bargain.  Continue reading