“Ever Feel Like You Have a Purse with Holes?” July 22

 

Do You Feel like You Have a Purse with Holes?Ever feel like you have a purse with holes? Have you put God on a back-burner? Are your priorities God’s priorities? Could He be using circumstances to get your attention?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 5 & 6
Psalm 87.1-7
Proverbs 21.19-20
Acts 23.1-15

 

Ever Feel Like You Have a Purse with Holes?

 

Ezra 5 & 6:

Are Your Priorities God’s Priorities?

 

The people who had come back enthusiastic and ready to rebuild the temple, had met some resistance and gradually quit doing God’s work and, instead, got busy with their own lives.

God used the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to stir and rebuke the people about their priorities. In Haggai 1, God said:

“‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.’ Thus says the Lord God of Hosts, ‘Consider your ways! Go up to the mountain, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,’ says the Lord” (Hag. 1.5-8).

What about you? Do you need to consider your ways? Are your priorities God’s priorities? Have you gotten “too busy” to be concerned about the things of God? Do you feel like you work hard, but everything goes into a purse that is full of holes? Could God be using circumstances to get your attention?

 

Do You Feel like You Have a Purse with Holes? - Ever feel like you have a purse with holes? Have you put God on a back-burner? Are your priorities God's priorities? Could He be using circumstances to get your attention?

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 87.1-7:

Everything Comes from Him

 

Verse 7b says, “All my springs are in you.” In Acts 17.28 Paul said, “… in Him we live and move and have our being.” And James 1.17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above … ” (NASB).

God is the source of every talent, every ability, every blessing. Scripture tells us that He even blesses the unrighteous in many ways. The Puritans called it “common grace.” And yet, we are so easily puffed up and become proud of our achievements, our possessions, even, our children. We need to be careful to give God the glory that He and He alone is due!

 

Proverbs 21.19-20:

Contentious and Angry

 

In verse 19, God again sees fit to warn us, ladies, that we can easily go from being a blessing to being a curse to our husbands and/or children.

“Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”

Of course, we women are not the only ones who struggle with anger and it’s just as destructive when it’s you men.

angry kids childrenIf you struggle with anger get a copy of Wayne Mack’s book Anger & Stress Management God’s Way. In it he explains that anger that is selfishly focused or controls us is sinful—no matter how we try to justify it. If you’re dealing with angry children, check out The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo or Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens. Both are extremely practical and helpful for parents and children alike.  Continue reading

“Could You Explain the Basics of the Faith?” June 24

 

Could you explain the basics of the faith? How do we know we can trust the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?Could you explain the basics of the faith? How do we know we can trust the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?

Also, is there an angry person in your life? How do you respond to them? Do you make excuses? Do you give in to their selfish demands? How should we respond to people whose lives are characterized by anger?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 11 & 12
Psalm 77.16-20
Proverbs 19.17-19
Acts 7.1-21

 

Could You Explain the Basics of the Faith?

 

Wise as Serpents & Harmless as Doves

Acts 7.1-21:

 

Stephen was taken before the Sanhedrin and falsely accused of blasphemy and here in chapter 7, instead of answering directly, Stephen began to speak the truth of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had said:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matt. 10.16-20).

We are living in a society where more and more restrictions are being placed on believers in our schools, in the workplace, and in the civic arena. It seems many in our culture want to give freedom of religion and expression to everyone except believers in Jesus Christ. While we need to be respectful of our civil laws, teach our children to respect authority in their schools and elsewhere, and be the best possible employees, we must sometimes risk censure to speak the truth to a lost world. When we do, we must do it out of a desire to please God and a love for the lost and not self-righteousness or an argumentative attitude.

Though we may not be killed for doing so, there will be times when it will be costly. We should pray that God will help us be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” as Jesus said in Matthew 10. For instance, we can take a co-worker to lunch instead of sharing the gospel at work and we need to be informed of our freedoms under the law and take advantage of them. Many people keep quiet because they are uninformed about the freedoms they do have.

 

The Basics of the Faith

We also need to learn to defend our faith. Many of us hold back because we don’t even know why we believe what we do. It doesn’t mean you have to have a degree in theology, but we should all know the basic tenets of our faith!

basics of the faith

How do we know we can trust the Bible?

Why did Jesus have to die?

How is a person saved?

What is “justification by faith”?

What does the Bible really say about homosexuality and abortion and how are we to treat people caught up in life-dominating sins?

If you don’t know the answers to those questions, ask your church leadership if there is a discipleship class or program. Many churches, like ours, offer courses to help you get grounded in the truth.

You can, also, do a self study with books like, Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott or The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin L. DeYoung.

COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE BASICS OF THE FAITH? How do we know we can trust the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Betrayal & Forgiveness

1 Chronicles 11 & 12:

 

1 Chronicles parallels 2 Kings and repeats much of the same narrative story, but because of the viewpoint of the return from Babylon, it emphasizes certain points. So as I said yesterday, don’t be confused by the repetition.

Notice in 1 Chronicles 11.41 in the list of David’s mighty men—those who served him so well—the name Uriah the Hittite. He was the husband of Bathsheba. David’s sin of adultery and murder would have been bad enough no matter who Uriah had been, but it was aggravated by the fact that Uriah was a loyal associate.

Yet, though there were consequences, some of which affected David for the rest of his life, God forgave him and Bathsheba. Because of His faithfulness and grace, their son Solomon would be the next king in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  Continue reading

“Handling Anger Biblically” Part 3 + LINKUP

 

Anger … it’s a common, almost universal struggle.

We get angry because we want to decide what’s right and what’s wrong for us! We want to control what goes on around us.

When we should be saying, “Lord, how do you want to use this in my life,” and trusting Him, we often allow our “feelings” to take over.

In the two previous posts, we’ve said emotions like anger, sorrow, guilt, depression, etc. are not sinful in and of themselves. It’s what we do with them that makes them sinful or not. And even righteous anger can quickly become sinful by our failure to deal with it biblically.

Anger is not just an emotion. It’s an issue of the heart (Matt. 15.18-20). And when we are angry our tendency, instead of taking responsibility for it, is to make excuses, minimize it, or blame other people or our circumstances.

We’ve touched on them in previous posts, but today, we’re going to talk about the two primary forms of anger and steps to overcoming it.

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Handling Anger Biblically – Part 3

 

We have just wrapped up a series on God’s design for marriage. If you missed it, you can access the lessons here. We’re in a new series “Handling Emotions Biblically.” Today’s post is the third of three on anger.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll also talk about:

Depression
Guilt
Fear & Worry
Trials & Suffering

I hope you’ll be here each week (post goes live at 5 PM MST on Sundays).

 

Two Forms of Anger

 

While there may be variations in the ways we express it, there are two primary forms of sinful anger. The first is “blowing up.”

 

Blowing Up

 

When we blow up, we frequently yell and scream and use cutting words.

“I hate you!”
“I wish I had never met you!”
“I don’t care what you do!”
A parent who says, “I wish you had never been born.”

Sometimes blowing up involves intimidation.

“You’re going to pay for this!”
“You’ll wish you had never met me!”

We may lose control physically by:

Pushing and Shoving.
Hitting and Punching.
Getting in someone’s Face.
Road Rage.
Murder.

 

Clamming Up

 

The second way we express sinful anger is by “clamming up.” We put up walls, withhold fellowship and affection, and refuse to deal with issues.

“I’ll just keep it to myself.”
“I’m not going to risk being hurt again.”

Clamming up frequently means giving others the silent treatment. And when the other person asks what’s wrong we say, “Nothing!”

We get focused on ourselves, how we’re suffering, how life is unfair. We play the martyr.

Or we decide we’ll just “get over it.” But it’s like throwing junk in a gunny sack. Eventually, the sack gets too full to carry and the person blows up!

Most of us vacillate between the two.

So, if we know we’re dealing with anger issues of either kind, how do we change?  Continue reading

“Handling Anger Biblically” Part 2 + LINKUP

 

Handling Anger Biblically - While it may take different forms, most of us have struggled with anger. Some of us turn our anger inward by clamming up or engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Some of us explode at the least provocation. No matter how we express it, anger can be extremely damaging. Today's post is part 2 of our discussion on "Handling Anger Biblically."While it may take different forms, most of us have struggled with anger. Some of us turn our anger inward by clamming up or engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Some of us explode at the least provocation. No matter how we express it, anger can be extremely damaging. Today’s post is part 2 of our discussion on “Handling Anger Biblically.”

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Handling Anger Biblically – Part 2

 

We have just wrapped up a series on God’s design for marriage. If you missed it, you can access the lessons here. We’re in a new series “Handling Emotions Biblically.” Last week we started talking about anger. Today we’ll discuss when and how anger becomes sinful and steps to overcoming sinful anger.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll also talk about:

Depression
Guilt
Fear & Worry
Trials & Suffering

I hope you’ll be here each week (post goes live at 5 PM MST on Sundays).

 

Last week we said that since God is the One who created us and everything else, all sinful anger flows out of our unwillingness to accept the fact that He is the Creator, and that He gets to make the rules.

presumptuous sinsWhen we get angry we’re really saying, “I don’t like the way You’re letting things work out in my life!”

We get angry because we want to decide what’s right and what’s wrong for us. We should be asking, “Lord, how do you want to use this in my life?” Instead, we allow the “feelings” to take over.

We also talked about the fact that emotions like anger, sorrow, guilt, depression … are not sinful in and of themselves, it’s what we do with those feelings that makes them sinful or not.

We discussed the different kinds of anger and said that anger is not just an emotion, but an issue of the heart (Matt. 15.18-20).

So, it’s not enough to just “control or manage anger.” The heart issues must be addressed if we want any lasting change and the kind of change that’s pleasing to God.

 

Different Expressions

 

We may express anger in different ways:

Sometimes we try to keep it under the radar. We say or do something mean … and then claim, “I was only kidding, can’t you take a joke?!” This kind of anger is deceitful and vengeful.

Prov. 10:23 says, “To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.”

And Prov. 14:8 says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.”

Sometimes anger is explosive. We may yell, slam doors, hit something or someone.

Sometimes we clam up, give others the silent treatment, or turn it in on ourselves.

No matter how it’s expressed, anger, when not dealt with in God-honoring ways, is destructive and sinful.

 

Why Anger?

 

Why would God give us an emotion that can be so damaging?  Continue reading

Handling Anger Biblically + LINKUP

 

Handling Anger Biblically - While it may take different forms, most of us have struggled with anger. Some of us turn our anger inward by clamming up or engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Some of us explode at the least provocation. Anger can be extremely destructive. It can cost us our jobs, our marriages, our families, our testimonies, even our health. Much has been written about anger and how to control it, but the Bible doesn't call us to control sinful anger. It calls us to something much deeper.While it may take different forms, most of us have struggled with anger. Some of us turn our anger inward by clamming up or engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Some of us explode at the least provocation. Anger can be extremely destructive. It can cost us our jobs, our marriages, our families, our testimonies, even our health.

Much has been written about anger and how to control it, but the Bible doesn’t call us to control sinful anger. It calls us to something much deeper.

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Handling Anger Biblically

 

We have just wrapped up a series on God’s design for marriage. If you missed it, you can access the lessons here. Now we’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” Doing so helps bring peace and stability into our lives. Today and for the next two weeks we’ll be talking about “Handling Anger Biblically.”

Then over the following weeks, we’ll be discussing:
Depression
Guilt
Fear & Worry
Trials & Suffering

I hope you’ll be here each week (post goes live at 5 PM MST on Sundays).

 

Anger

 

While it may take different forms, most of us have struggled with anger at one time or another.

Some of us turn our anger inward. We may clam up and give others the silent treatment. We may turn to drugs or alcohol or some kind of self-harm.

We may simply stuff our feelings into an invisible gunny sack and refuse to deal with them. Until, one day the sack is bursting and it explodes on everyone around us.

Worse, we may be agitated, even boiling within, just waiting to explode.

Some of us react by exploding instantly for the least provocation. This kind of anger can be cruel, sarcastic, violent and vengeful.

 

Characterological Anger

 

Anger can become so much a part of someone’s life that he or she is known as an angry person. Proverbs has much to say about an angry man.

Make no friendship with an angry man,
And with a furious man do not go,
Lest you learn his ways
And set a snare for your soul (Prov. 22.24-25).

An angry man stirs up strife,
And a furious man abounds in transgression (Prov. 29.22).

 

Understanding Anger

 

To fully understand anger we need to start at the beginning. Genesis 1:1 says that God created the heavens and the earth. In verse 26 He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness …”

And in verse 31, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”

It sounds elementary, but God is the One who created us and everything else.

Sinful anger flows out of our unwillingness to accept the fact that He is the Creator, that He gets to make the rules, and that He is the Sovereign God of the Universe.

What we’re really saying is, “I don’t like the way You are letting things work out in my life!”

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?” (Is. 45:9).

When we get angry, it’s because we want to decide what’s right and what’s wrong for us (Gen. 3.5).

Instead of seeking to understand how God wants to use the circumstances to conform us to His image, we allow the “feelings” to take over.

 

Not Always Sinful

 

Not all anger is sinful, at least not in its early stages. But if not dealt with biblically it can quickly escalate into sinful thoughts, words, and actions.  Continue reading

“When You Let God Down” May 4

 

When You Let God Down - The Disciples still didn't get it! While Jesus was preparing Himself for the reality of the cross they were squabbling about their future positions in the kingdom, bragging about how they would never let Him down, and sleeping when He asked them to pray. Do you ever feel like you have let God down? You promised to never again fall into some old habit. You promised you'd be faithful to the end. Instead, you found yourself arguing with your husband, yelling at your kids, missing your quiet time, and giving up in discouragement.The Disciples still didn’t get it! While Jesus was preparing Himself for the reality of the cross they were squabbling about their future positions in the kingdom, bragging about how they would never let Him down, and sleeping when He asked them to pray.

Do you ever feel like you have let God down? You promised to never again fall into some old habit. You promised you’d be faithful to the end. Instead, you found yourself arguing with your husband, yelling at your kids, missing your quiet time, and giving up in discouragement.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 10 & 11
Psalm 55.16-23
Proverbs 15.18-20
Luke 22.24-46

 

When You Let God Down

 

Luke 22.24-46:

Squabbling, Bragging, & Sleeping

 

Do you ever feel you’ve messed up too badly for God to use you? Maybe it’s your “before Christ” past that haunts you. Maybe it’s something you did as a Christian. Sometimes it’s easier to accept God’s grace for those B.C. (before Christ) sins than those we commit as believers.

Here in Luke 22 as the events leading up to the crucifixion unfold, Jesus spends His last hours with His disciples. He has spent three years teaching and preparing them.

Yet now, with the reality of the cross looming, they were squabbling over their future positions in the kingdom (v. 24), bragging about how they would never let Him down (v. 33) and falling asleep when He asked them to pray (vv. 45-46). But just as He does with us when we fail, He lovingly corrected them, warned them of the dangers to come, and prayed for them that ultimately they would come out the other side.

 

Do you feel like you have let Him down? Run to Him not away from Him. Pray and ask for His forgiveness. Remember that He is praying for you and receive His forgiveness and help to change. It is for this that Christ died!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

1 Samuel 10 & 11:

By the Way … Bless Me!

 

prayer womanNow Israel has her king and God has confirmed His choice through military victory, but that doesn’t mean it was God’s best for the nation. I believe there are times when God allows political events to bring about His holy, just and righteous purposes. Often, if not always, those purposes include revealing the hearts of the people involved. The Israelites wanted to be like all the other nations. They didn’t want God to be their King. Instead, they wanted Him to bless their choice to live like everyone else.

How like us they were! Too often, instead of seeking God’s will in a given situation through prayer and wise counsel, we make our own choices and then, almost as an afterthought, we ask Him to bless our decision. I wonder how different things would be if we got on His agenda, instead of always expecting Him to come bless ours! Continue reading

“Spoiled Children & Selfish Adults” April 24

 

Spoiled Children & Selfish Adults - Children who grow to expect whatever makes them happy, often approach the throne room of God like spoiled children and grow to be selfish adults. How does your parenting help or hinder your children's understanding of God? Could you be setting them up for failure in their relationships with a future spouse or others without even realizing it?Children who grow to expect whatever makes them happy, often approach the throne room of God like spoiled children and grow to be selfish adults. How does your parenting help or hinder your children’s understanding of God? Could you be setting them up for failure in their relationships with a future spouse or others without even realizing it?

 

Today’s Readings:
Judges 13 & 14
Psalm 50.16-23
Proverbs 14.29-30
Luke 17.20-37

 

Spoiled Children & Selfish Adults

 

Judges 13 & 14:

Get Her for Me

 

Here we begin the story of Sampson. We’ll talk more about Samson’s calling and how God used him tomorrow, but today I’d like to comment on a few things about his relationship with his parents.

Obviously, these were loving people who desired a child very much. They believed in God and reverenced Him as we see from their responses when they realized they had been visited by the Lord.

But I have to wonder how they parented Samson. The first interaction we see between them and their son is in 14.1-2:

“Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, ‘I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.'”

His parents wanted him to do what was right:

“Then his father and mother said to him, ‘Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?'” (v. 3).

Sampson’s response:

““Get her for me, for she pleases me well” (v. 3).

“Get her for me!” And, of course, they did. Sometimes in our love and desire to see our children “happy,” we can easily become indulgent with them, giving them the idea that the world revolves around them.

Spoiled Children & Selfish Adults - Children who grow to expect whatever makes them happy, often approach the throne room of God like spoiled children and grow to be selfish adults. How does your parenting help or hinder your children's understanding of God? Could you be setting them up for failure in their relationships with a future spouse or others without even realizing it?Our children learn much about the nature of God from us. If we allow them to expect
whatever makes them happy, how will they approach the throne room of God? Many believers seem to think that God is there to give them whatever they want without regard to His will or His knowledge of what’s best.

This “get-me-what-I-want” attitude will also hinder their relationships with others. Paul said:  Continue reading

“Is the old man or woman still hanging around?” April 12

 

Are there areas of your life where you have failed to have victory? Are there some habits of the old man (what my old friend Pastor Morgan used to call the old idiot) that have crept back in or never fully left?

 

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 13 & 14
Psalm 44.20-26
Proverbs 14.3
Luke 11.1-28

 

Is the Old Man Still Hanging Around?

 

Joshua 13 & 14:

Pockets of Resistance & the Old Man

 

Verse 14.15b, “Then the land had rest from war.”

This was a time of relative peace, though as I said yesterday, there were still areas that needed to be fully occupied. There were also pagan tribes they never fully destroyed as God commanded. Those groups would be thorns in their sides for generations. They would draw them into false worship, attack their cities, and create a multitude of problems.

Isn’t that the way it is in our lives? He saves us, puts our feet on the Rock, gives us new righteous desires, and many things in our lives change. But, even though, we may have quit doing a lot of the things we used to do (sometimes because God has supernaturally removed the desire for those things), there are still “pockets of resistance”—areas of our lives where we hold on to “old man” habits (Eph. 4.22).

gossipMaybe it’s a tendency to gossip, to harbor unforgiveness, to give someone the silent treatment, or to respond in sinful anger. Maybe it involves our thought lives … “After all, (we think) I’m not doing anything wrong!” We mistakenly believe we can play around with a thought or a fantasy without it showing up some where in our life or walk with God

The added danger is that as months and years go by without dealing with that area of sin and as we push conviction away, our consciences are seared and we become blinded. Continue reading

Blended Families Part 6: Angry Children + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 6: Angry Children - We’ve all seen them, or experienced them, blended families with angry, resentful children or teens. And parents who are just trying to “live through it” until the kids are old enough to leave home. In some cases, the children aren’t only angry, but are in full blown rebellion. I don't have to tell you this falls far short of God's best for families. How does this happen when couples start out with such high hopes for their marriages and families?

 

Blended Families Part 6: Angry Children

 

We’ve been talking about the challenges blended families face and some of the ways their struggles are common to us all.

In previous posts we’ve talked about favoritism, the goal of the blended family, how to love biblically, and the importance of right priorities, among other subjects.

Today we’re going to talk about angry children.

 

We’ve all seen them, or experienced them, blended families with angry, resentful children or teens. And parents who are just trying to “live through it” until the kids are old enough to leave home. In some cases, the children aren’t only angry, but are in full blown rebellion. I don’t have to tell you this falls far short of God’s best for families.

How does this happen when couples start out with such high hopes for their marriages and families?

 

It starts with a seed.

 

It starts with a seed and that seed is a hurt.

… who can bear a broken spirit? (Prov. 18.14b)

The hurt often comes as a result of sin on the part of one or more parents or step-parents, but not always.

It can be real or, sometimes, only imagined. Things like:

  • A step-father trying to take a father’s place.
  • Unfair treatment by a parent or step-parent.
  • Desertion or rejection by one or more parents.
  • Favoritism toward a sibling or step-sibling.
  • The loss of friends or extended family.

If it’s not dealt with in a biblical way, the seed will grow into a root of bitterness.

 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many (Heb. 12.15 NLT).

The child cultivates that seed by playing the offense over and over in his or her mind. He thinks about how unfair it is, how he wishes things were different, or how he wants his old life back. As he does he’s nurturing and watering it. The seed grows into a bitter root and that root, if not addressed biblically, will spring up into an ugly bush.

We’ve all tasted something bitter. It’s sharp to the tongue and leaves a bad taste.

A bitter person, child or adult, is sharp with others, even when the other people are trying to be kind or loving. Pretty soon other family members are avoiding unnecessary interaction, fueling more anger and bitterness.

Bitterness, if not dealt with grows into anger. This kind of anger is not the occasional outburst that comes from various provocations, life events, or frustrations, but an angry disposition that begins to characterize their lives.

Allowed to remain, it can quickly grow into stubbornness or what some might call insubordination. Imagine the proverbial donkey with her front hooves dug into the ground while her master tries to move her forward. A stubborn son or daughter is uncooperative, often refusing to take part in family events, interact with others, or obey her parents.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry (1 Sam. 15.23a).

Stubbornness is idolatrous because the stubborn person thinks she is god of her own life. What makes her happy is getting her own way.

But sadly, stubbornness is not the end of the road for someone on this downward spiral. Stubbornness can lead to the next step, full blown rebellion. A rebel is someone who has become a fool in God’s eyes. He or she refuses to be under authority, especially, the authority of his or her parents.

Look at some of the characteristics of a fool from the book of Proverbs:  Continue reading

“Picture of a Mature Christian Life” October 2

 

What does a mature Christian life look like? Is it the things we do or the things we don't do? What did Paul mean when he said, "live a life worthy of the calling ...?"

What should a mature Christian life look like? Is it the things we do, like going to church or reading our Bibles? Is it the “big sins” we don’t do, like getting drunk or stealing? What did Paul mean when he said, “walk worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Eph. 4.1)?

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 55 & 56
Psalm 113.5-9
Proverbs 26.20-21
Ephesians 4.1-32

 

Picture of a Mature Christian Life

 

Ephesians 4.1-32:

What does a mature Christian life look like?

Verse 1 begins with “I, therefore, … beseech you …”

Therefore! Because of all the things Paul had just explained in chapters 1-3—because we are “in Him”—saved, redeemed, sanctified, justified, blessed, set free—we should “walk worthy of the calling with which [we have been] called” (Eph. 4.1)!

Now in these last three chapters of Ephesians, Paul begins to tell us how those truths should be lived out. Chapter 4 says:

We should work to have unity and peace in all our relationships—in our family, in our church, in the workplace—wherever God places us (v. 3).

We should no longer be spiritual babies, tossed to and fro by every appealing sounding doctrine or new spiritual experience that comes along (v. 14). Babies need constant attention, are easily upset and will believe in every “Santa Claus” that comes along! We need to be rooted and grounded in the truth instead of wanting someone to make us feel good or think we need to be entertained all the time. We need to “grow up” (v. 15)!

arguing silent treatmentWe are to speak the truth in love (v. 15). That means three things should happen. We should speak—not clam up or give someone the silent treatment—ever! Nothing justifies that behavior in the life of a believer. Second we must “speak truth”—not half truths, not omissions of the truth, but truth! And third it must be spoken “in love”—not because we want to give them a “piece of our minds” or unload on someone!

We should not act like pagans who don’t know God (v. 17). That means we can’t justify our behavior because, “Everyone else is doing it,” or because, “This is not the first century!”

That, obviously, means we don’t commit fornication or adultery. But it also means we don’t flirt if we’re married and we don’t flirt with married men or women if we’re single.

Ladies, it means we don’t dress like the covers of most magazines or some actress (and husbands, don’t ask your wife to dress that way, unless it’s in the privacy of your home). It means our beauty is to be primarily inner and spiritual. It does not mean we have to dress like a grandmother or be drab or unattractive.

It also means we don’t live with someone if we are not married to him or her … period! Having him stay at your house 2 or 3 times a week, or even occasionally, while you’re not technically “living together” is no better. You’re only deceiving yourself.

We’re not to be lewd, unclean or greedy (v. 19). No dirty jokes or sexual innuendos. No lies because “how else are you going to get ahead in business.”

We are to put off those habits and lifestyles of the old sinful nature (v. 22).

We are to work at renewing our minds (v. 23)—spending time in His Word, reading good theologically sound books, memorizing Scripture and meditating on it—thinking about how it is to be lived out in our lives personally.

We are to put on new righteous habits and lifestyles (eph 4.24).

We are to stop lying, deceiving, omitting, hiding and coloring the truth; and become open and honest in all our relationships (v. 25).

We are not to sin in our anger, but deal with it quickly (v. 26). There are some things that should make us angry, but we cannot use that as an excuse to sin. We must deal with those sinful thoughts, feelings, and actions quickly (don’t let the sun go down on them). If we don’t, we’re giving the devil an open window to crawl—or charge—through (v. 27).  Continue reading