“The Unpopular Truth” December 15

 

The Unpopular Truth - The Bible is the unpopular truth to many today. And those who speak the truth are being told, "You can't say that here ... 'there's separation of church and state.' " Or, "You're trying to impose your religion on us." Others demand that we, "give hardy approval" to the sinful things they do. How does God expect us to respond to those pressures?The Bible is the unpopular truth to many today. And those who speak the truth are being told, “You can’t say that here … ‘there’s separation of church and state.’ ” Or, “You’re trying to impose your religion on us.” Others demand that we, “give hardy approval” to the sinful things they do. How does God expect us to respond to those pressures?

Also read about praying in difficult times, a word to Christian singles, and Jesus the soon coming King.

 

Today’s Readings:
Amos 6 & 7
Psalm 142.1-7
Proverbs 29.27
Revelation 5.1-14

 

The Unpopular Truth

 

Amos 6 & amos 7:

Speaking the Unpopular Truth

 

Chapter 7.12-13:

12 Then Amaziah said to Amos.
“ Go, you seer!
Flee to the land of Judah.
There eat bread,
And there prophesy.
13 But never again prophesy at Bethel,
For it is the king’s sanctuary,
And it is the royal residence.”

Rather than hear the truth and heed their warnings, the people of Amos’ day banished the prophets. How very much like the world in which we live. Today the cry is “separation of church and state” or “don’t try to impose your religion on me” or “you can’t say that here!” Those who talk about God’s standard are called intolerant, homophobes, judgmental or worse.

Many even demand that we approve their lifestyles and their right to live anyway they choose. Some people give in to their demands out of fear of criticism, intimidation, or misguided acceptance. Continue reading

“Bad Company & Politics” November 24

 

Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals

Bad company corrupts good morals. That is true of friends, advisers, co-workers, business partners, spouses, and anyone else with whom we spend a great deal of time. It’s true in our personal lives, in our work lives, and Proverbs tells us, even in politics.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 39 & 40
Psalm 132.10-18
Proverbs 29.5
James 5.1-20

 

Bad Company & Politics

 

Proverbs 29.5:

Bad Company Corrupts Morals & Politics

 

“Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.”

The king represented their system of government. Romans tells us “bad company corrupts good morals.” That is true in politics, as well as, in our personal lives. Let’s pray that our president-elect, politicians and other leaders would surround themselves with godly counselors.

But we also need to be wise in our personal choices of friends and associates.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6.14).

Bad company corrupts good morals

We can’t always choose our co-workers, but we can be wise about how much time we spend with them during breaks and after work. We can be careful not to listen to gossip, complaining or advise from those who are ungodly.

If we’re already married to an unbeliever we need to fill our hearts and minds with God’s truth and seek to love them biblically while continuing to be salt and light. If we’re single we should only date someone who would be a godly spouse.

We need to choose our friends wisely. It’s not that we should never spend time with unbelievers, but our closest friends should be those who love God and will speak truth into our lives not tell us what we want to hear all the time.  Continue reading

“Biblical Grounds for Divorce” July 24

 

Biblical Grounds for Divorce - What does the Bible say about divorce? Is it allowable to divorce because we're not happy or no longer in love? Is it OK if we're unequally yoked? Are there even any biblical grounds for divorce?

 

I’ve often heard that the rate of divorce in the US is about 50%, but I’ve discovered that statistics are hard to pin down. Some say the rate of divorce has dropped in the last decade and that as high as 70% of marriages make it to their 15th year. While that’s good, what about the 30% who don’t? And is it possible that the divorce rate is going down because many couples simply live together without marrying?

What does the Bible say about divorce? Is it allowable to divorce because we’re not happy or no longer in love? Is it OK if we’re unequally yoked? Are there even any biblical grounds for divorce?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 9 & 10
Psalm 88.6-10
Proverbs 21.23-24
Acts 24.1-27

 

Biblical Grounds for Divorce

 

Ezra 9& 10:

Marriage and Divorce when Unequally Yoked

 

59 years had passed since the completion of the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel. In these passages, the second group of former captives have returned led by Ezra. He has learned that the Jews who were already there, including many of the leaders, have taken pagan wives. This was strictly forbidden by the Law, had repeatedly led the people into idolatry, and had caused the nation to be taken into captivity. Yet, they had gone back to the same practices!

John MacArthur points out in his Daily Bible notes that even though there was a decision made that these wives as a whole were to be “put away”—that is divorced—each marriage was examined individually, probably to learn whether the wives had become believers. He also notes that other gentile women like Ruth and Rahab who had embraced faith in God were accepted and even included in the lineage of Christ.

So what about today? Can we divorce an unbelieving spouse? Matthew Henry in his commentary says, “As to being unequally yoked with unbelievers, such marriages, it is certain, are sinful, and ought not to be made; but now they are not null, as they were before the gospel did away the separation between Jews and Gentiles.”

2 Corinthians 6.14 says:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

So while it is wrong for a Christian to marry a non-Christian, if a believer is already married to a non-believer, divorce is not an option in most circumstances.

 

divorce argumentBiblical Grounds for Divorce

 

So what does the Bible say about divorce? Is it ever allowable? Jay Adams, in his book Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible, says, “Contrary to some opinions, the concept of divorce is biblical. The Bible recognizes and regulates divorce.”

When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, “being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly (Matt. 1.19). He was going to divorce her until an angel convinced him that she had not committed adultery. Continue reading

“Unborn Babies, Ungodly Friends & Turning the World Upside Down” July 12

 

Unborn Babies, Ungodly Friends & Turning the World Upside Down - As a nation we will answer to God for our failure to defend the fatherless. Pray that our nation as a whole and our leaders, in particular, would repent and change. In the meantime, let's commit to do all we can for the most innocent and helpless of the fatherless, our unborn babies. Can being unequally yoked in marriage, in business, and in our close friendships affect our walk with God?As a nation we will answer to God for our failure to defend the fatherless. Pray that our nation as a whole and our leaders, in particular, would repent and change. In the meantime, let’s commit to do all we can for the most innocent and helpless of the fatherless, our unborn babies.

Can being unequally yoked in marriage, in business, and in our close friendships affect our walk with God?

With all the evil in the world, can believers still turn the world upside down?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 19 & 20
Psalm 82.1-8
Proverbs 20.29-30
Acts 17.1-15

 

Unborn Babies, Ungodly Friends & Turning the World Upside Down

 

Psalm 82.1-8:

Our Failure to Defend the Fatherless

 

The word “god” here refers to world leaders. All authority comes from Him and ultimately all the world’s leaders will answer to Him. This phrase from our reading in 2 Chronicles comes to mind, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD …  therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you.”

Verse 3 says, “Defend the poor and fatherless …” If there is any area where our leaders, the political movers and shakers, the media, and people as a whole, have lost any fear of the Lord, it’s in this area.

We may be defending the poor, though not necessarily wisely, but we have horribly ignored the second part, that of defending the fatherless. Instead, as a nation, by making abortion a woman’s right, we have decided to simply destroy many of the “fatherless” as an inconvenience! Pray that the fear of God would once more rule our country!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

2 Chronicles 19 & 20:

Rebuked by God for the People with Whom He Associated

 

Verses 19.1-2, “Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned safely to his house in Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you.'”

Here was a man who loved God and obeyed Him in many areas, but God was greatly displeased with him because of the people with whom he associated!  Continue reading

“The Slippery Slope” June 1

 

Slippery Slope

We’re never standing still when it comes to the things of God. Either we’re growing and becoming more like Christ or we are heading down the slippery slope. But often, like Solomon, we play around with sin, thinking we’re too smart to get caught in its snares.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 11 & 12
Psalm 69.5-15
Proverbs 17.20-22
John 12.1-26

 

1 Kings 11 & 12:

The Slippery Slope

Once we begin to focus on things other than God, we can easily slide into greater and greater sins. Here we find Solomon taking foreign wives—women who worshiped other gods. He loved them and became sympathetic to their desire to worship their own gods. Eventually he worshiped them, too!

We can easily do the same thing by dating or getting into close relationships with people who aren’t serving God whole-heartedly or at all. We reason that we’ll change them, but most of the time they pull us away from God. Becoming unequally yoked with unbelievers is still forbidden for that reason and others. Continue reading

“Why do you follow Jesus?” May 19

 

Why do you follow Jesus?Recently I heard of someone who said he was willing to come to church to “see what God has to offer him.” That’s understandable for an unbeliever who is just beginning to explore the claims of Christ. But sadly, many professing believers seem to follow Him for much the same reason.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 9 & 10
Psalm 65.1-8
Proverbs 16.20-21
John 6.1-21

 

John 6.1-21:

Why do you follow Jesus?

head scratchingVerse 2, “Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.”

They didn’t follow Him because they saw their need for spiritual change, but for what He could do for them. Sadly, that hasn’t changed for many people.

God does bless those who love Him, but that should never be our primary motive for serving Him. We are to live our lives to please God out of our desire to bring glory and honor to His name, not with a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

2 Samuel 9 & 10:

Don’t be unequally yoked

Chapters 9 & 10 give us a glimpse of David’s heart—first as he showed kindness to Mephibosheth as a way of honoring his covenant with Jonathan and in chapter 10 as he sent representatives to comfort Hanun at the time of his father’s death.

Sadly, David’s gesture toward Hanun was not only rejected, but met with ridicule by Hanun when he shamed and humiliated David’s ambassadors. Should we be surprised when our gestures of peace and kindness are met with rejection? Those in the world often find it hard to believe we don’t have ulterior motives, because of what’s in their own hearts.  Continue reading

December 15 “The unpopular truth” + LINKUP

unpopular truthRather than hear the truth and heed their warnings, the people of Amos’ day banished the prophets. Today those who speak truth are being told, “You can’t say that here … ‘there’s separation of church and state.’ ” Or, “You’re trying to impose your religion on us.” Others demand that we, “give hardy approval” to the sinful things they do.

Today’s Readings:
Amos 6 & 7
Psalm 142.1-7
Proverbs 29.27
Revelation 5.1-14

Amos 6 & 7:

Speaking the unpopular truth

Chapter 7.12-13:

12 Then Amaziah said to Amos.
“ Go, you seer!
Flee to the land of Judah.
There eat bread,
And there prophesy.
13 But never again prophesy at Bethel,
For it is the king’s sanctuary,
And it is the royal residence.”

Rather than hear the truth and heed their warnings, the people of Amos’ day banished the prophets. How very like much like the world in which we live. Today the cry is “separation of church and state” or “don’t try to impose your religion on me.” Those who talk about God’s standard are called intolerant, homophobes, judgmental or worse.

Many even demand that we approve their lifestyles and their right to live anyway they choose. Many give in to their demands out of fear of criticism, intimidation, or misguided acceptance.

“and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1.32 NASB).

But God in His mercy always has a faithful remnant willing to speak the unpopular truth, in spite of criticism, and even threats. Like God Himself, we are called to love sinners, while hating sin, and sometimes that means speaking the truth under difficult circumstances and when it’s unwanted.

Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4 also applies to us:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Continue reading

September 13 “Whining or shining?”

imagesCAA3XMC3

We’re called to be different! But when it comes to how we respond to circumstances, tests, trials, or the state of our nation, economy or politics … are you whining or shining?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 17 & 18
Psalm 106.32-39
Proverbs 25.11-12
2 Corinthians 5.1-21

Isaiah 17 & 18:

A remnant … whining or shining?

In these chapters God through the prophet continues to warn of coming judgments, but reminds them there will always be a faithful remnant (18.6).

As we see what’s happening here in our nation, we cannot give up or lose hope. We must realize that is our calling—to be part of His faithful remnant. We are to be salt and light.

Philippians 2.14-15 says we are to:

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world” (emp. added).

How’s your light? Is it bright and clear? Is it dim and hidden by junk (sin or the cares of this world)? Or do you just whine and complain like everyone else? Continue reading

August 10 “Are there contagious sins?”

sin is contagiousWe take every precaution with deadly diseases like ebola, but are there diseases of the soul that are just as deadly?

Today’s Readings:
Job 11 & 12
Psalm 94.1-11
Proverbs 22.24-25
Romans 10.1-21

Job 11 & 12:

Love believes the best

Now it’s Zophar’s turn. He can’t believe what he is hearing. He’s sure that Job is guilty of some serious sin, so he rebukes him sharply.

While Job agrees with Zophar’s assessment of God’s wisdom, power and sovereignty and he doesn’t claim to be perfect, he strongly condemns his simplistic conclusion.

We, too, need to be careful about jumping to conclusions about others. Whenever possible we should give others the benefit of the doubt (1 Cor. 13.7) and let love cover as much as possible (1 Pet. 4.8). Even when we do need to reprove someone, we should do so in a spirit of gentleness continually looking to ourselves lest we also be tempted (Gal. 6.1-2). Continue reading

July 24 “Biblical grounds for divorce”

The Bible says we are not to be unequally yoked, so is it ok to divorce an unbelieving spouse? Are there ever biblical grounds for divorce?

imagesCAJEY8UM

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 9 & 10
Psalm 88.6-10
Proverbs 21.23-24
Acts 24.1-27

Ezra 9 & 10:

Marriage and divorce when unequally yoked

59 years had passed since the completion of the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel. In these passages, the second group of former captives have returned under the leadership of Ezra. He has learned that the Jews who were already there, including many of the leaders, have taken pagan wives. This was strictly forbidden by the Law, had repeatedly led the people into idolatry, and had caused the nation to be taken into captivity. Yet, they had gone back to the same practices!

John MacArthur points out in his Daily Bible notes that even though there was a decision made that these wives as a whole were to be “put away”—that is divorced—each marriage was examined individually, probably to learn whether the wives had become believers. He also notes that other gentile women like Ruth and Rahab who had embraced faith in God were accepted and even included in the lineage of Christ.

So what about today? Can we divorce an unbelieving spouse? Matthew Henry in his commentary says, “As to being unequally yoked with unbelievers, such marriages, it is certain, are sinful, and ought not to be made; but now they are not null, as they were before the gospel did away the separation between Jews and Gentiles.” Continue reading