“Honoring Imperfect Parents” August 22

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents - God clearly commands us, even as adults, to honor and respect our parents. Yet, many of us grew up in homes that were less than perfect. How do we honor parents when we believe they failed us in some way?God clearly commands us, even as adults, to honor and respect our parents. Yet, many of us grew up in homes that were less than perfect. How do we honor parents when we believe they failed us in some way?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 35 & 36
Psalm 99.1-9
Proverbs 23.22-25
1 Corinthians 4.1-21

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents

 

Proverbs 23.22-25:

Buy the Truth & Do Not Sell It

 

pearlsVerse 23, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”

Matthew 13.45-46 says:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

We should be willing to get God’s truth no matter what the cost and once we have gotten it, we should not be willing to give it up, not for wealth or fame or popularity or anything else.

 

Adult Children & Their Parents

 

As a counselor, some of the most frequent problems I see in marriages involve a failure to properly “leave and cleave.” Spouses fail to make their husbands and wives the primary human relationship. They run first to their parents when there is a problem instead of communicating biblically with their spouses. They may continue to support their parents financially against their spouse’s wishes or neglect their own family unit in other ways.

This is unbiblical and hinders the one-flesh relationship God intended in marriage. Yet, the Bible clearly calls us to honor our parents, no matter what our age.

“Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old” (v. 22).

“Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who bore you rejoice” (v. 25).

But how do you honor parents who failed in some way?

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents

 

We live in a fallen world. I don’t know anyone who grew up in a perfect home. I know I made mistakes, many of them, when raising my children. So did my parents and your parents.

I also know many adult children who refuse to see their childhood through God’s eyes. Instead, often because of unforgiveness and bitterness, they continue to view their childhood through a childish lens. As children, we all have a narrow understanding of the world. We only know how decisions and circumstances affected us. We don’t usually see the big picture.

Children may blame a single mom for leaving a marriage and destroying their home. They may never know that their father was an adulterer or an abuser because their mother didn’t want to destroy their relationship with him.

Children in blended families sometimes resent a step-parent without ever appreciating the difficulties, financial strains, and sacrifice parents and step-parents make. All they can see is that this person was NOT their biological parent. That thinking breeds resentment and rebellion in childhood and a lack of grace and thankfulness in adulthood. They may only see what they perceived as unfairness without considering their own difficult, rebellious attitudes and how that complicated the relationship.

One of the biggest issues is favoritism or perceived favoritism. Certainly, parents need to avoid sinfully favoring or comparing one child to another. Parents are not blameless in this.  Continue reading

“Habits that Rob Us of God’s Blessings” August 21

 

Habits that Rob Us of God's Blessings - Are there habits that can rob us of God's blessings? If so, what are they and what do they look like when they show up in our lives? Also, is it possible for evil and suffering to lead to good? And could we be in danger of following men and not God?Are there habits that can rob us of God’s blessings? If so, what are they and what do they look like when they show up in our lives?

Also, is it possible for evil and suffering to lead to good? And could we be in danger of following men and not God?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 33 & 34
Psalm 98.4-9
Proverbs 23.19-21
1 Corinthians 3.1-23

 

Habits that Rob Us of God’s Blessings

 

Proverbs 23.19-21:

Dangerous Habits

 

Verse 21, “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”

Proverbs warns us about many lifestyle habits that can ruin our lives and keep us from enjoying the blessings of God. In this verse Solomon addresses drunkenness, gluttony and drowsiness.

The drunkard is looking for relief from her troubles, distraction from what she considers a life of boredom, or the fun and excitement she craves.

The glutton over-indulges on God’s blessings, whether food or something else.

The lazy person wants ease and relaxation to the point of neglecting his responsibilities.

These three character issues show up in different ways. The most obvious is the man or woman who gets drunk on alcohol or becomes addicted to drugs. Or the person who gorges on sweets or snack food, sometimes purging later. Or the person who refuses to work consistently, preferring to live in mom and dad’s basement or spare room.

ReadingBut it’s also the mom who over-indulges in romance novels. She may take care of the physical needs of her children, but lives for nap time when she can escape into some exciting, romantic (sometimes steamy) adventure.

She’s missing out on the blessings of truly enjoying her children at each stage of life. And she often becomes discontented with the husband and life God has given her. Preferring to escape into her fantasy.

A dad who’s obsessed with video games or sports. He’s living for the week-end when he can don his team’s jersey or play his game for hours.  His children and wife take second place to his escape and he loses out of the joy of family.

The parent or spouse who escapes into his or her smart phone or computer, sometimes hour after hour when everyone else has gone to bed. Sometimes while family members sit right beside them. They miss the opportunity to build genuine, healthy relationships.

The employee who lives for the week-end or the next vacation. They deprive themselves of the satisfaction of a job well done.

The child or adult who expects everyone else to wait on them hand and foot or to meet their every need. They miss the blessings that come with service and loving others.

Proverbs 27.20 says, “… the eyes of man are never satisfied.” We can never get enough of the things the flesh craves including leisure time, new and exciting kinds of entertainment, food and fun. Escape is only temporary. When we sober up, the problems are still there, often worse because of our neglect. We end up being left empty and devoid of any peace, joy or satisfaction.

The desire for these things leads to poverty, not just physical poverty, but poverty in their relationships and, often, poverty of the soul.

Instead, if we will allow God to fill us spirit, soul and body, we will find that the things of this world pale in comparison. And we are free to enjoy God’s blessings in their proper place and amount.

Psalm 90.14 is a great prayer. It says:

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days (ESV).

And in the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says:

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God (Eccl. 2.24).


Habits that Rob Us of God's Blessings - Are there habits that can rob us of God's blessings? If so, what are they and what do they look like when they show up in our lives? Also, is it possible for evil and suffering to lead to good? And could we be in danger of following men and not God?


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 33 & 34:

Even Evil Can Result in Good

 

Elihu, the fifth person in this scene, continues with his observations. He has patiently waited while Job and his other three friends have debated the issue of Job’s sufferings and his integrity or lack of it and now he wades in.

While Elihu makes some good observations (we will see in a few chapters that even God did not rebuke him as He did the others), his understanding was still limited. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.12:

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

There will always be things which we don’t fully understand. We see only a small portion of the tapestry of our lives, our families’ lives, and the events playing out around us. And even what we do see, we don’t see clearly. So when we go through a test or a trial or we read about some tragedy, we must filter it all through the goodness of God, the sovereignty of God, and the absolute holiness of God.

When we hear of a child being molested, for instance, we think “Why would God allow such a horrible thing?” But what if, as a result, that child got saved, and then she married a Christian man, and his life was impacted by her testimony, causing him to draw closer to God. Then when they had children, they raised them in a godly home and, as a result, their children were saved and many of the next generation and the next. Maybe a whole line of people was ultimately impacted by that horrible act, changing the eternal destiny of many. From an eternal perspective, would it be worth it?  Continue reading

7 Red Flags You’re Drifting in Your Relationship with Christ + LINKUP

 

7 Red Flags You're Drifting in Your Relationship with Christ - Most of us have, at times, drifted in our relationship with Christ. Maybe you're caught in that current right now. How can we know we're drifting before we go too far and suffer the consequences?Red flags in our Christian walk: Most of us have, at times, drifted in our relationship with Christ. Maybe you’re caught in that current right now. How can we know we’re drifting before we go too far and suffer the consequences?

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

7 Red Flags You’re Drifting in Your Relationship with Christ

 

We’ve all experienced it. Drifting. Drifting away in your relationship with God.

At times, it feels good.

I don’t know about you, but I get tired. Tired of being the one perceived to be against everything. Feminism. Abortion. Living together. Tolerance.

Even though I know Galatians says, we’re not to get weary in doing good (Gal. 6.9), I get tired of feeling like I’m held to a higher standard. Other Christians get away with (fill in the blank). I suspect I’m not the only one who feels that way at times.

 

Sometimes we’re busy. I mean BUSY. There’s marriage, kids, ministry … laundry.

We don’t mean to drift away. We’ll get to it tomorrow, our relationship with God that is. Because, right now, there are so many other things.

We’re Martha’s instead of Mary’s (Lk. 10.38-42).

 

Sometimes we’re disappointed. We prayed and prayed, but nothing happened. We thought life would straighten out because we accepted the Lord, started going to church, got more involved …

Even though Jesus warned us life wouldn’t always be easy (Jn. 16.33), life has been hard and it seems there’s no end in sight. It’s easy to forget he also told us He’d give us rest and cause our burdens to be light (Matt. 11.28-30).

 

Sometimes drifting kind of sneaks up on us. It’s OK to miss church just this once. I’ll read my Bible tomorrow. My co-workers will think I’m too religious if I pray over my lunch. It’s just one improper movie, night out with the girls, or racy novel.

 

So, how can we know our relationship with God isn’t what it should be?

 

7 Red Flags You’re Drifting

 

1. You no longer read your Bible regularly.

You no longer have a hunger for God’s Word. If you do read your Bible, it’s just one more thing on your to-do list. It’s not about spending time in His presence.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Ps. 34.8).

Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day (Ps. 119.97).

 

2. You’re not praying.

I’ll pray tomorrow, in the car, or when I get a chance. But it doesn’t happen.

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up (Lk. 18.1 NLT).

Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess. 5.17-18).

 

3. You’re missing church. 

You look for any excuse. Or you go because it’s expected, but your heart’s not in it.

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10.24-25).

 

4. You don’t miss His people.

You’ve had it with other Christians. They’re all hypocrites and you’d rather be around unbelievers.

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13.34-35).

 

5. You’re doing things you once thought you were done with.

Unwholesome words are slipping in. You go places you shouldn’t. You justify things God told you to leave alone.

22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4.22-24).

 

6. The fruit of the Spirit is sadly lacking.

You lose your temper with the kids. You’re impatient with your husband. You’re unkind to those you consider inept or who mess up your plans. Self-control is out the window.

Consequently, you have no peace or joy. Frustration, anger and bitterness have replaced them.

 

7. You’re all about your rights.

You’re sick of being a doormat. You’re tired of putting what everyone else wants ahead of what you want.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil. 2.3-4).

 

I’ve found myself here a time or two or three …

What should we do if we’ve drifted from God?   Continue reading

“If you died tonight …?” August 20

 

If you died tonight ...? - If you died tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven? Do you truly understand what is meant by the Gospel? Maybe you do, but you still have doubts about your eternal destiny. Don't leave your eternity to chance!If you died tonight, do you know that you would go to heaven? Do you truly understand what is meant by the Gospel? Maybe you do, but you still have doubts about your eternal destiny. Don’t leave your eternity to chance!

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 31 & 32
Psalm 98.1-3
Proverbs 23.17-18
1 Corinthians 2.1-16

 

If you died tonight …?

 

1 Corinthians 2.1-16:

The Power of the Gospel

 

Verses 1-2, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

That is something we all need to remember as we witness to our friends and loved ones. We can’t “talk them into anything.” The power lies in the gospel and in God’s Word. We need to share the truth with them by pointing them to the Scripture.

bible johnMartha Peace, who wrote The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective, said that before she got saved her friends had told her to read the book of John, and to keep reading it until it made sense to her. She was depressed and pretty messed up, but she did. And one night after reading it several times, faith came alive in her heart!

We certainly don’t want to beat people over the head with the Bible, but we must realize that it is the Scriptures that contain the power of God for salvation!

 

If you died tonight?

 

What about you? Are you are reading this and wondering, “Would I go to heaven?” Please don’t push that thought away. Seek God about it. Pull out your Bible or get one. Begin reading the book of John. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. You can read more about the gospel and salvation here.

Or maybe you have been in church for a long time or you went when you were younger. Maybe you “prayed a prayer” once, joined a church, got baptized … but you still have doubts. The aging Apostle John said this about why God had him write the book of 1 John:

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God (1 Jn. 5.13).

Did you notice that phrase? “…that you may KNOW”! God wants us to have confidence and peace in knowing that we belong to Him. He wants us to understand eternal security. Read more here. We can have eternal security, but it is not based on what we do, rather it is a faith transaction.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2.8-9).

Leave me a comment and I will put you in touch with a solid biblical church in your area if you would like to talk to someone about your eternal destiny (I won’t publish your comment). Don’t leave your eternity to chance!

 

If you died tonight ...? - If you died tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven? Do you truly understand what is meant by the Gospel? Maybe you do, but you still have doubts about your eternal destiny. Don't leave your eternity to chance!


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 31 & 32:

If … If … If

 

Job ends his defense in chapter 31 with a series of “ifs.” If I had looked on a woman lustfully (Job 31.1, 9), if I had not been generous (Job 31.16-21), if I had treated my employees unfairly (Job 31.13), if I had trusted in wealth and not God (Job 31.24-25), if I had hidden my sin (Job 31.33), if I had stolen (Job 31.39), etc., then I could understand all this.

We are often a lot like Job. We think if we keep the law (at least our interpretation of it), God is obligated to bless us.

After Job and his three friends had stopped speaking, a younger friend, Elihu, says in effect, I can’t keep quiet any longer. I think you’re all wrong!

But soon … God will begin to speak and answer all of them. Continue reading

“7 Ways to Avoid a Roller Coaster of Emotions” August 19

 

7 Ways to Avoid a Roller Coaster of Emotions - When we go through tests and trials, there is often a roller coaster of emotions. But we don't have to let our emotions run the show! As believers, how can we learn to live by something other than our feelings and emotions?When we go through tests and trials, there is often a roller coaster of emotions. But we don’t have to let our emotions run the show! As believers, how can we learn to live by something other than our feelings and emotions?

Also read about the meanings of God’s name, how joy follows loving discipline, and how the truths of the Gospel contain the power of God.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 29 & 30
Psalm 97.7-12
Proverbs 23.15-16
I Corinthians 1.1-31

 

7 Way to Avoid a Roller Coaster of Emotions

 

Job 29 & 30:

Don’t Let Emotions Run the Show!

 

Our friend Job is on quite a roller coaster. In yesterday’s reading he had some of the most incredible revelation from God and in today’s reading He thinks God has totally abandoned him.

Isn’t that a picture of the roller coaster of emotions we can all experience when we are going through a test or trial? The important thing to remember is that even though the feelings are there, they’re real, and they’re often strong, we don’t have to be controlled by our emotions. By that I mean, we don’t have to let them determine the way we act and respond!

In spite of all his roller coaster feelings, Job stayed faithful to God. Remember what his wife said at the beginning, “Why don’t you just curse God and die!” (my paraphrase). But Job didn’t waver from his faith in God, even though he didn’t understand why God was allowing all this calamity.

So how can we avoid letting emotions run the show in our own lives?

 

7 Ways to Avoid a Roller Coaster of Emotions: 

Continue reading

“To Spank or Not to Spank” August 18

 

To Spank or Not to Spank? - To spank or not to spank? Should physical discipline be a part of today's parenting? What is your source of truth on the subject? If you spank, what should be your attitude when doing so?To spank or not to spank? Should physical discipline be a part of today’s parenting? What is your source of truth on the subject? If you spank, what should be your attitude when doing so?

Also read about the importance of not criticizing, complaining or being divisive within the church body … and … when and how it’s right to disagree.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 27 & 28
Psalm 97.1-6
Proverbs 23.13-14
Romans 16.1-27

 

To Spank or Not to Spank?

 

Proverbs 23.13-14:

What is your source of truth?

 

“Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.”

bible reading manI know these are hard verses for some and something that flies in the face of much of the current child psychology.

As with other areas of thought, psychologists say one thing and God’s Word says another. We must each answer the question, “What is your source of truth?”

That was God’s question to Adam and Eve.

God had said, “Don’t eat the fruit for if you do you will surely die.” Then Satan came along and said, “You will not surely die, but you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The passage goes on to say that their eyes were opened and they saw that “they were naked.” God’s question to them was, “Who told you that you were naked?” In other words, what or who is your source of truth?

Of course, we must remember that Scripture is to be interpreted in light of other Scripture. Ephesians 6.4 says, “… do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” We must have the right heart attitude when we discipline our children. God does not want us to discipline our children in a way that would injure them, neither are we to do it in anger.

parentingThis passage is talking about “loving” physical discipline used when appropriate. Discipline that hurts enough to make an impression, but not so much as to do bodily harm. It should be done in love, with the best interest of the child in mind, and should include loving instruction in helping the child come to genuine repentance.

The “rod” might be a wooden spoon for a younger child or a small flat paddle for one a little older. Again, something that will sting and bring tears, but not anything that would do real harm.

I’ve heard many of the arguments against spanking. Number one among them is that they will just learn to hit, too. But when discipline is administered lovingly on the backside with a “honey-I-love-you-too-much-to-let-you-go-your-own-way” attitude, even a young child knows the difference between a spanking and hitting in anger.

There are a number of good books on the subject of child discipline from a biblical perspective. I’ll include some links at the bottom.

 

To Spank or Not to Spank? - To spank or not to spank? Should physical discipline be a part of today's parenting? What is your source of truth on the subject? If you spank, what should be your attitude when doing so?


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 27 & 28:

The Secret Things Belong to the LORD

 

In chapter 28 Job talks about the precious things in life which men will work so hard to dig out of the earth—gold, silver, precious stones. Then in verse 12 he says:

“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?”

The Bible teaches that the wisdom of God—that is—that measure of wisdom which He gives to men and women must be dug out, too. But there is, also, a wisdom that remains with God.

Verse 13, “Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living.”

Deuteronomy 29.29 says:

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

God doesn’t always see fit to explain everything He does to us! There are things and truths and reasons which we will not know until we get to heaven, if then. But there are things that we can understand and those things are revealed to us through His Word.  Continue reading

“The Mere Edges of His Ways!” August 17

 

"Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!" Job 26.14.“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!” Job 26.14.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 26
Psalm 96.11-13
Proverbs 23.10-12
Romans 15.25-33

 

The Mere Edges of His Ways!

 

Job 26:

The Glory, Power & Holiness of God

 

Job and his friends disagreed about the source of Job’s troubles, but they did not disagree about the glory, power, and holiness of God. Here in chapter 26, Job says …

earth world circle horizonHe hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it … He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm … Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?” (v. 7-8, 10-14).

Think about that phrase, “these are the mere edges of His ways.” Even when we view the beauty and majesty of creation or see His power in lightning, hurricanes, and volcanoes or study the intricacies of the human body or watch the birth of a baby, we are only seeing the mere edges of His ways … the mere edges of His power … His wisdom … His glory … His holiness … and His sovereignty. What an awesome God we serve!

 

All that we know of Him is just ... "The mere edges of His ways"


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 96.11-13:

His Glory in Creation

 

Think about these two verses:

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Here nature itself is pictured as rejoicing over the coming of the Lord to rule His creation.  Continue reading

“Should You Admonish a Sinning Brother or Sister?” August 16

 

Should you admonish a sinning brother or sister? - As Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able to admonish one another when biblically necessary. That means risking what people may think, even their rejection, in order to speak the truth in love when there is an issue that is hurting others, hindering their walk with God, or hurting the cause of Christ. In our fast changing world, many things that were once universally considered wrong are now called right. Speaking up when God's standards are at stake is going to be more and more costly ... but God's grace will abound to those who remain faithful to God and His Word.As Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able to admonish one another when biblically necessary. That means risking what people may think, even their rejection, to speak the truth in love when there is an issue that is hurting others, hindering their walk with God, or hurting the cause of Christ.

In our fast changing world, many things that were once universally considered wrong are now called right. Speaking up when God’s standards are at stake is going to be more and more costly … but God’s grace will abound to those who remain faithful to God and His Word.

And notice to whom this passage was written and what we need to do before we go to someone.

Also, when it comes to our political leaders, how should a clear understanding of God’s sovereignty and His commands concerning authority, effect how we speak and respond now?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 23-25
Psalm 96.7-12
Proverbs 23.9
Romans 15.1-24

 

Should You Admonish a Sinning Brother or Sister?

 

Romans 15.1-24:

For Our Benefit

 

bible study

Verse 4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

The Scriptures, in particular the Old Testament (like the book of Job which we are going through), were written so that we might grow and learn by the examples of others, good and bad. God patiently instructs us in how we should change and shows us the results of unbiblical living. And as we grow and come to understand God’s love and grace, we find comfort in His faithfulness to those who remained devoted to Him.

 

Admonishing When Needed

 

Let’s look at one more verse in Romans 15:

“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (v. 14).

Notice this verse is not written to pastors or counselors or spiritual leaders. It was written to the believers at Rome and by extension to us as believers. Paul says all of us are “able to admonish one another.” That word for admonish means, “exhort, admonish, and instruct.” Admonish means, “to rebuke or to advise or warn someone to do, or not do, something.”

So God expects us to be willing to get our hands dirty, to risk what people may think of us and even rejection, at times, to speak the truth in love to those who are sinning, as well as, those who need encouragement.

However, we must guard against a harsh or self-righteous attitude. We are to confront others lovingly, gently, tentatively, especially if we’re not sure of the circumstances, and humbly. That requires checking our own motives and a careful self-examination to make sure we take the logs out of our own eyes first (Matt. 7.3-5).

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6.1).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 23-25:

Understanding and Comfort from a Book like Job

 

Adult Woman Reading a Bible. CloseAs we continue to read through God’s Word, especially the book of Job, it’s tempting to grow tired or get confused by all that is happening. As we read of Job’s sufferings, his friends’ lack of mercy and grace, and God’s silence so far, we should ask ourselves some questions:

How will coming to understand this better help me be more patient in my sufferings and disappointments? How can I learn to trust God more? What can I learn from listening to Job’s “comforters“? What can I learn from Job about responding to unjust criticism?

Often when we fail to grow in our understanding of Scripture it’s because we fail to ask the right questions.  Continue reading

“Whatever Is Not Done in Faith … is SIN” August 15

 

Whatever is not done in faith ... is SIN - Even if something is not sinful, in and of itself, if we believe it is, and do it anyway, it reveals a heart that is willing to sin against God.Even if something is not sinful, in and of itself, if we believe it is, and do it anyway, it reveals a heart that is willing to sin against God.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 21 & 22
Psalm 96.1-6
Proverbs 23.6-8
Romans 14.1-23

 

Whatever Is Not Done in Faith … is SIN

 

Romans 14.1-23:

Whatever Is Not of Faith

 

Christians and alcoholOne person believes she is free to have a glass of wine with dinner. Another believes it is a sin. One believes it is OK to eat pork. Another believes the Old Testament dietary laws should still be adhered to. One believes a certain book, or movie, or TV show is allowable; another’s conscience is offended by it. One thinks “Christian contemporary music” is great, another believes worship has to be hymns.

Certainly, there are lifestyle choices which are clearly right and wrong, sinful and good, but there is also a great deal of freedom in Christ. Whatever we do, however, we need to be able to do it in faith:

But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin (v. 23).

Even if something is not sinful, in and of itself, if we believe it is and do it anyway, it reveals a heart that is willing to sin against God and is, therefore, sinful.

One of the key points in this chapter, though, is that we should be willing to forego things we believe we are free to do, if what we are doing could be offensive or a stumbling block to someone else (Rom 14.13). Love considers the welfare of others above his or her own (Phil. 2.3-4).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 21 & 22:

What Did You Do about My Son?

 

In chapter 21 Job tried to convince his friends that their conclusion about his suffering was wrong. He reasoned that because the wicked are not always punished in this life, they couldn’t say good is always rewarded and evil always punished. He pointed out that, at times, even people who shake their fist at God seem to do so with impunity.  Continue reading

“True Worship = Obedience” August 14

 

True Worship = Obedience -

True worship is more than a time of music and singing. True worship involves how we live our lives, whether we obey God or respond by hardening our hearts to His commands.

Also, God is a God of order and He has ordained authority as part of that order. No matter what we think, we are not living obediently if we aren’t fully submitted to the authority He has placed in our lives.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 19 & 20
Psalm 95.6-11
Proverbs 23.4-5
Romans 13.1-14

 

True Worship = Obedience

 

Psalm 95.6-11:

For He Is Our God

 

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.

listening ear

True worship is more than merely showing up at church to sing and raise our hands. It is submitting our hearts and lives to God in obedience and realizing that “He is God.” It’s then that we “will hear His voice.”

No matter how often we attend church or what kind of outward religious activity we perform, if we’re not submitted to God in our hearts, which is demonstrated by our obedience, we are no different from those who hardened their hearts, rebelled, and tested God.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 19 & 20:

My Redeemer Lives

 

In spite of all his miseries, Job could still say, “For I know that my Redeemer lives …” That should put most of us to shame! He went on to say, “… I shall see God.” So no matter what, he was sure of his eternal destiny.  Continue reading