“Are There Seasons for Ministry?” February 12

 

The Seasons of Ministry - When Moses and the people prepared to build the tabernacle, God gifted the people with the resources and the abilities needed to create a place of beauty and artistry. Then He stirred their hearts so they gave so much that there was more than enough. What would happen if God's people today freely gave of all the gifts and abilities He has so graciously provided? Would there once again be more than enough? It's certainly important to give and serve as we have the ability and means to do and as God moves on our hearts. But are there seasons when we should wait? #seasons #ministry #giving #faithWhen Moses and the people prepared to build the tabernacle, God gifted the people with the resources and the abilities needed to create a place of beauty and artistry. Then He stirred their hearts so they gave so much that there was more than enough.

What would happen if God’s people today freely gave of all the gifts and abilities He has so graciously provided? Would there once again be more than enough?

It’s certainly important to give and serve as we have the ability and means to do and as God moves on our hearts. But are there seasons when we should wait?  Continue reading

“Friend of God?” February 11

 

Friend of God? - Perhaps you've heard the Phillips Craig & Dean song, I am a Friend of God. It's a great song. Once I hear it, I find myself humming it for days. But who truly is a friend of God? #wisdom #friendofGodPerhaps you’ve heard the Phillips Craig & Dean song, I am a Friend of God. It’s a great song. Once I hear it, I find myself humming it for days. But who truly is a friend of God?

What about wisdom? Does God save His wisdom for a select few who achieve some deeper knowledge or is it there for everyone to hear and apply? And is there a way for those seeking to grow in wisdom to do so?  Continue reading

“Sex, Manipulation, Power & Revenge” January 21

 

Sex, Manipulation, Power & Revenge - God created sex. He designed our sexuality as a means to delight and bring pleasure to one another within the marriage relationship. But, sadly, as our culture knows all too well, "sex sells" and it has been twisted and used throughout the ages to manipulate and entice and for many other evil purposes, including revenge, to gain power, and for financial or political gain. #sex #manipulation #power #revenge #wisdomGod created sex. He designed our sexuality to delight and bring pleasure to one another within the marriage relationship. But, sadly, as our culture knows all too well, “sex sells” and it has been twisted and used throughout the ages to manipulate and entice and for many other evil purposes, including revenge, to gain power, and for financial or political gain. Continue reading

“Soap Operas, Reality TV & the Bible” January 15

 

Soap Operas, Reality TV & the Bible - The Bible is full of stories about love, sex, rejection, envy, jealousy, adultery, immorality, scheming, deceit, greed, thievery, contention, even murder (and that's the short list)! Why did God lay out humanity's dirty laundry here and in other passage of Scripture? It wasn't just for entertainment value. #realitytv #polygamy What do soap operas and reality TV have to do with the Bible?

First, let me say, I’m not a fan of soap operas or reality TV. Oh, there was a day when I didn’t miss an episode of Dallas. Yep! I admit it. Some of you are going, “Dallas? Isn’t that a city in Texas?”

I guess soap operas are still around, but today we have reality TV, modern-day soap operas lived out live before the camera. We seem to be fascinated by all the fussing and fighting, backstabbing and conniving. Maybe it makes us feel a little better about our own sinful hearts.

But sadly when you meet today’s cast of characters in our Old Testament reading, you’ll realize soap operas and reality TV have nothing on our spiritual ancestors.

The Bible is full of stories about love, sex, rejection, envy, jealousy, adultery, immorality, scheming, deceit, greed, thievery, contention, even murder (and that’s the short list)!

Why did God lay out humanity’s dirty laundry here and in other passage of Scripture? It wasn’t just for entertainment value.  Continue reading

“Scary Words: ‘I never knew you!'” January 9

 

Scary Words: "I Never Knew You!" - Jesus gave a pretty serious warning in Matthew 7 when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven ..." There are people, sitting in church every Sunday, who believe they are headed for heaven when they're really in danger of hearing those words, "I never knew you, depart from me ..." #salvation Jesus gave a pretty serious warning in Matthew 7 when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven …” There are people, sitting in church every Sunday, who believe they are headed for heaven when they’re really in danger of hearing those words, “I never knew you, depart from me …”

Read today’s post to see what won’t save us. Don’t let pride or fear of what people might think keep you from seeking answers if you think that could be you!

Also, read about the importance of removing the logs from our own eyes before we can be any help to others in “Judging Hearts & Log Removal,” what it really means to live “Life on the Rock,” about “God’s Favor,” and from our Old Testament reading, “Why Did Sarah Laugh at the Promise of God?” and “The Outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Continue reading

“Satan, Swords & Fighting Temptation” January 4

 

Satan, Swords & Fighting - What was going on during Jesus' temptation in the wilderness that we use everyday in our lives? How does memorizing Scripture help protect us from the attacks of Satan and how does he use Scripture against us? - #bible #swordoftheSpirit #temptationWhat was going on during Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness that we can use every day in our lives? How does memorizing Scripture help protect us from the attacks of Satan and how does he use Scripture against us?

Also, did you know that every major civilization has a “flood story” as part of its oral or written history? What does the biblical account of the flood teach us about God, His character and His sovereign control of world events?  Continue reading

“The Tribulation: Opening the 7 Seals” December 16

 

The Tribulation: Opening the 7 Seals - God is a God of mercy and grace, but He is also the Righteous Judge and will one day, possibly soon, begin opening the seven seals of Revelation 6 and unleashing final judgment on all who refuse to repent and turn to Him for forgiveness. #tribulation #seals #judgment #soulsurvivalThe Tribulation: God is a God of mercy and grace, but He is also the Righteous Judge and will one day, possibly soon, begin opening the seven seals of Revelation 6 and unleashing final judgment on all who refuse to repent and turn to Him for forgiveness. What will that look like?

Also read about praying when you’re discouraged and God’s wisdom.  Continue reading

“Will We Affect Them for Good or Evil?” August 31

 

Will We Affect Them for Good or Evil? - Often when we harbor some sin, we console ourselves by claiming it only affects us. But whether we sin or whether we choose righteousness, we never do it in isolation. The effect of our sin on our children and others can be profound and long lasting. Will we affect them for good or evil?Often when we harbor some sin, we console ourselves by claiming it only affects us. But whether we sin or whether we choose righteousness, we never do it in isolation. The effect of our sin on our children and others can be profound and long-lasting. Will we affect them for good or evil?

Also, read about the conclusion of the Book of Ecclesiastes and the sweetness of God’s wisdom.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ecclesiastes 11 & 12
Psalm 103.15-22
Proverbs 24.13-14
1 Corinthians 11.1-16

 

Will We Affect Them for Good or Evil?

 

Psalm 103.15-22:

Children’s Children

 

Verse 17, “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.”

Often when we harbor some sin, we console ourselves by saying we know it’s wrong but claiming it only affects us. But, in reality, whether we sin or whether we choose righteousness living, we never do it in isolation. Our actions and behaviors do affect others, especially our children. That doesn’t mean that God punishes our children for our sins (Ezek. 18.20), but our actions do have an effect on them—sometimes a profound effect!

Sometimes, Children who grow up in a home where the family attends church and says all the right things in public. But at home their parents fight, give one another the silent treatment, and refuse to solve problems biblically. Often those children walk away from the faith when they go off to college or leave home. Biblical Christianity was never lived out for them. Instead, they saw hypocrisy.

Children who grow up in a home where drugs or alcohol are abused are often neglected, emotionally and physically. They may pick up the lifestyle they saw lived out or become angry and bitter.

Children whose parents go from relationship to relationship or turn to work or hobbies instead of solving problems with their spouse, may never learn to solve problems or resolve conflict in Christ honoring ways.

Conversely, when we choose to live righteously, it also affects them. No one knows us like those who live in our own home. When our children see us living in the fear of the Lord when no one else is watching, it can be more powerful than all the words we use to teach them right from wrong. To fear the Lord is to recognize that He alone is God, to reverence and respect Him as God and to be more concerned about pleasing Him than either ourselves or other people.

 

Will We Affect Them for Good or Evil? - Often when we harbor some sin, we console ourselves by claiming it only affects us. But whether we sin or whether we choose righteousness, we never do it in isolation. The effect of our sin on our children and others can be profound and long lasting. Will we affect them for good or evil?


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Ecclesiastes 11 & 12:

Life is short. Spend it well.

 

The book of Ecclesiastes ends with this:  Continue reading

“21 Premarital Red Flags” August 30

 

21 Premarital Red Flags - God's wisdom can help us avoid numerous problems, but ignoring it can lead to all kinds of trouble and heartache in every area of life. And when it comes to the decision of whether or not to marry, God's Word provides an abundance of wisdom and cautions that can save you from years of heartache. Ignore it at your own peril. God’s wisdom can help us avoid many problems, but ignoring it can lead to all kinds of trouble and heartache in every area of life. And when it comes to the decision of whether or not to marry someone, God’s Word provides an abundance of wisdom and cautions that can save you from years of heartache. Ignore it at your own peril.

Also read about one secret to contentment, the danger of delayed justice, and some important questions to consider before exercising our “freedoms” in Christ.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ecclesiastes 8-10
Psalm 103.6-14
Proverbs 24.10-12
1 Corinthians 10.19-33

 

Premarital Red Flags

 

Ecclesiastes 8-10:

Delayed Justice

 

“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (8.11).

And we wonder why our criminal justice system doesn’t work?

It’s not that we shouldn’t take the time to allow for a thorough investigation and give an accused person a chance to defend him or herself, but when cases drag on for years and sentences are not carried out in a reasonable amount of time, punishment is much less of a deterrent.

 

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

 

“So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun” (8.15).

couple eating pizza joy contentmentThis is not about living a party lifestyle, doing whatever we please, but about enjoying life’s simple pleasures within the framework of God’s will. The sad fact is that just like Adam and Eve, we constantly feel we must go outside the guidelines God has given to find the pleasure we think we “deserve.” God gave them the whole garden to enjoy and they settled for a lousy tree!

“Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun” (9.9).

God gives us all the benefits of marriage to enjoy and we will settle for some other guy or some other woman who we think “understands us” or builds up our ego—forgetting the spouses they are willing to neglect while they commit adultery with us! We will destroy two families, our testimony, and our relationship with God to have what we think we want, and realize too late it doesn’t deliver.

 

Premarital Red Flags that Can Keep You from Years of Heartache

 

13 This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man.

16 Then I said:

“Wisdom is better than strength.
Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised,
And his words are not heard (9.13-16).

Solomon reminds us that “Wisdom is better than strength,” though he admits it may not always be appreciated in this life.

Even God’s principles, the greatest wisdom, are often rejected as too hard, too inconvenient or too restrictive. But when the consequences of living life their own way sets in, people come looking for help just as the men of this small city came looking for this wise man.

One area where I see this played out is with premarital couples. At our church we require couples to take a “Preparing for Marriage” class before they can be married by one of our pastors. It is followed by an interview with the couple leading the class. When there are red flags concerning marriage, they may counsel them personally or refer one or both of them to one of our other counselors.  Continue reading