It’s All Because of Jesus

July 22nd, 2014

I awoke this morning with the song “All Because of Jesus” running through my mind. Our praise band did the song this past Sunday. It’s wonderful to wake up with a praise song running through your head. That in itself is a work of grace. It is also an important reminder.

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Turning the Corner

July 21st, 2014

Life can be so busy that we miss it. Our schedules rule our days and even the slightest desire to “stop and smell the roses” is overruled by our next appointment or destination. Our busyness is the shame of the modern world.

Our pastor has begun a three-part study of Psalm 19 where David writes of “The Perfect Revelation of the Lord,” as it is described in my Bible. I confess that I am guilty of filling my day with things that lack any eternal value in light of Scripture. As my pastor began reading the first six verses of the psalm, I couldn’t get past verse 1:

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Getting Knowledge and Grace

July 18th, 2014

Sherlock-Holmes-007I am by nature a loner. As a child, I was totally content to play by myself with all my imaginary friends. My late mother used to tell me about how when I was four, she looked out the kitchen window to the backyard and saw me playing. She said she could see me having a grand time talking and directing at least three different imaginary friends. Perhaps it is because I had two older sisters, while doting over me constantly, obviously were not boys with whom to play. More likely, it is writer’s nature to sit alone and contemplate and imagine different scenarios. This can be creative at times and detrimental at others. The Bible warns against too much isolation:

    “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1)

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Spiritual Nourishment

July 16th, 2014

Knowing God’s will; that seems to be the great mystery to many a Christian. We studied that last Sunday in Bible study. Volumes have been written on it. In fact, I’m working on just such a book. Part of the mystery was unlocked for our church at least in our pastor’s latest sermon. I wonder how many in attendance even caught the clue. Pastor Brunet said, “Doing the will of God is how I am spiritually fed.”

He was preaching from John 4 when Jesus was met by His disciples after talking to the woman at the well. The disciples had gone into the city Sychar to get some food and upon their return urged Jesus to eat. The Lord told them He had “food to eat of which you do not know.” Again they missed the point; Christ was talking about spiritual food. Nevertheless, Jesus cleared up their confusion:

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Not Really Wanting To Know

July 14th, 2014

head_in_the_sand 2Yesterday in Sunday School we studied Acts 21 on how to know the will of God. I shared that if we were totally honest with ourselves, most Christians would admit that they really don’t want to know God’s will. Why? If we know God’s will, then we are without excuse for not obeying it. It is so much easier to deceive ourselves into believing we cannot know God’s will. The Bible teaches us quite differently:

    “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10)

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Feelin’ Good

July 8th, 2014

feeling goodI woke up this morning with an old blues rocker song from Elvin Bishop called “Feelin’ Good” playing in my head. Funny thing is I wasn’t feeling bad when I went to bed. However, my wife and I spent a wonderful day yesterday driving along the Gulf Coast to Panama City Beach and had lunch there. We have great memories there because that is where we honeymooned. Ending a long four-day Independence Day weekend spending time with my bride always makes for “feelin’ good.”

Studies have shown that human wholeness combines spiritual health with physical health. Our emotional and mental states can literally make us ill, so having a healthy spirit makes for overall health wellness.

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Spiritual Calluses

July 7th, 2014

spiritual callusesCallused hands on a man is a good thing. We build up calluses on our hands through hard work, which is also a good thing. Man was made to work. From the beginning of mankind, God has expected man to work. In Genesis 2 God puts Adam into the Garden of Eden to work. In Genesis 3 we find a life of hard work through sweat and toil is prescribed. A man who works will avoid many of the troubles this life brings:

    “But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” (1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12)

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Always Looking Down

July 3rd, 2014

C.S. Lewis quote on prideThere are days when I am convinced that my pride is the thorn in my flesh. I try to overcome it with sheer will power. I try to pray it away. I try to give myself pep talks in the morning that today is going to be different and I’m going to not draw attention to myself. I resolve to not be haughty and yet I resort to my old prideful ways. It almost seems like a curse, but that too is somewhat prideful. Pride is part of my sin nature and although I am born again, my old nature is still with me. The cure is found in a simple verse from the Book of Proverbs:

    “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

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The Liberty Of Jesus

July 2nd, 2014

FreedomIt was on a Tuesday, 238 years ago this date, that we as a nation declared our independence from Great Britain. Think I’m a couple of days too early? July 2, 1776 is the day the Second Continental Congress voted to adopt Richard Henry Lee’s resolution declaring independence from Great Britain. Twelve colonies voted unanimously, with New York abstaining. It was on July 4, 1776 that Thomas Jefferson made his final edit on the Declaration of Independence. John Hancock and Charles Thompson signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, with the 54 other delegates signing the document on August 2, 1776.

Why the history lesson in a devotional? I share this with you so that you know the complete and truthful history of our nation’s founding instead of what you learned in school. As John Adams declared while defending the British troops during the Boston Massacre trial, “Facts are stubborn things.” Facts are not only stubborn, but they are also very important.

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Angels Of Apathy

June 30th, 2014

apathyjpgMatthew West has a new song titled “Do Something.” In this song he talks about Christians who “live like angels of apathy,” when it comes to serving and taking care of the needs of the needy. Imagine if angels were as apathetic as Christians. What if the 80/20 rule prevailed among the heavenly angel community as it does in the earthly church community? You know the 80/20 rule: that’s where 80% of the work in and out of the church is done by 20% of the people. We’ve almost cheerfully embraced that Christian coolness towards service.

Too many Christians want to be served rather than serve. I praise God that is not the case at my church. Last week we had evening vacation Bible school and close to 80 volunteers worked in all areas needed to make our VBS a smashing success.

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Doing God’s Commandments

June 23rd, 2014

love-of-God-signIs it possible to live the Christian life with the Ten Commandments as a standard for living? I submit it is because my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ combined all ten commandments into two when asked which was the great commandment of the law:

    “Jesus said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:37-40)

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Every Thing Really Hurtful

June 19th, 2014

Will_Of_GodHow can I know God’s will for my life? I get that question a lot from Christians. I’m currently working on a book on the subject, but I’m going to give you a sneak peek. I always answer that question with a question. Are you doing right now what you know God wants you to do? The responses, particularly facial expressions if I’m talking directly to them, are varied. Some people get it right away, which then bring different responses. Other people immediately say yes without really thinking it through. So let’s pretend this is your question and now I’ve answered you with my question.

Are you doing right now what you know God wants you to do? King Solomon warned:

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Busy Being Fabulous

June 16th, 2014

Busy Being FabulousThere’s a song by the band The Eagles titled “Busy Being Fabulous,” where the man in the song is lamenting about coming home to an empty house because his wife has decided to go out on the town again. She leaves him a note that says, “Don’t wait up for me tonight.” His wife is seeking the high-roller life instead of the wonderful quiet, country life they dreamed of when the first fell in love and got married. She’s out chasing dreams that she’s never going to realize.

I wonder how many Christians, or at least those who profess to be Christians, are just too busy being fabulous to allow God to do a real work in their lives? How many Christians live an insecure Christian life because of a false trust in man and the things of this world? How many Christians are trusting in earthly riches instead of heavenly treasures?

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Helping Myself To Everything That’s Empty

June 4th, 2014

Roomful of EmptinessChristian singer Jeremy Camp’s latest single is titled “Let It Fade” and in the first verse he asks, “Have you helped yourself to everything that’s empty?” That question really strikes home with me because for a very long time, fifteen years to be exact, I helped myself to everything and anything that left me feeling empty. If I’m not careful I can still do it today. This world not only helps itself, but it also promotes things that are empty. Emptiness is a strange phenomena today in a world of everything. However, it is only strange if you are looking through worldly eyes. When you look through spiritual eyes you see the truth:

    “I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure’; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter— ‘Madness!’; and of mirth, ‘What does it accomplish?’ I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-3)

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Measuring The Distance Of My Victory

June 3rd, 2014

measuring the distanceThis past weekend my pastor, Dr. Dennis Brunet, preached from 2 Kings 13:14-21 and titled his message, “The Danger of A Small Commitment.” While commenting on King Joash’s actions, Brother Dennis said, “God let us measure the distance of your victory.” That stunned me for a number of reasons that I’ll share in a moment, but I want to first look at two verses:

    “Then he said, ‘Take the arrows’; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground’; so he struck three times, and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him, and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.’” (2 Kings 14:18-19)

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Biblical Illiteracy

May 23rd, 2014

biblical-illiteracyYesterday at a company picnic another brother-in-Christ and I were having a wonderful theological discussion and we began discussing Christians’ reading habits when it comes to the Bible. He shared that an astonishing low number of Christians read their Bibles regularly. LifeWay Research found that only one in five churchgoers read their Bibles daily. One out of four read their Bibles a few times a week. I imagine the numbers would be lower if they had polled self-described Christians. Remember, these were “churchgoers.”

So what does that mean when it comes to Christianity’s influence on American culture? It means the church is raising a generation of Bible illiterates. We don’t need to get too tied up in the percentages because consistent Bible study is what is important, not putting a checkmark in the “I read my Bible today” box. I go to the Word of God so it can bring clarity to my life and grow me as a Christian. The benefits of the Bible are countless. Do you need to straighten out your life?

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Wandering From The Way Of Understanding

May 21st, 2014

wrong wayOur walks with the Lord can often meander like a slow moving river. The issues of life can get us off track and before we know it we have either wandered from the Lord or we are so backslidden we are living a life of rebellion. So how does the Christian keep on the path of righteousness? Is there an antidote for our tendency to get off track? There are a couple of things that come to mind to keep us from doing so.

First, if you’ve been down that bad road before, why would you want to travel it again? You’ve been there and you know it not only leads to a dead end, but it is also a rough way to travel. It is not an enjoyable trip no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise. The temporary pleasure can never compensate for the relentless guilt. It makes you feel lifeless:

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Man of Integrity

May 20th, 2014

Man of IntegrityIntegrity is something a man can lose and not easily overcome. Random House Dictionary defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Is that you?

In today’s postmodern society it may seem difficult to define morality. Moral relativism rules the day in the hearts and minds of a majority of people. What is right for you is not necessarily right for me. The problem with moral relativism is it assumes man has the authority to make the rules. The Bible claims otherwise:

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Alone With Christ

May 12th, 2014

Loneliness is a serious malady. Studies have shown that loneliness can affect the same part of your brain that triggers physical pain. Some research has shown that as high as 20% of Americans suffer from loneliness. The research on the causes of loneliness are varied as are the symptoms and cures.

Loneliness also affects Christians and the church needs to take a closer look at this malady and its treatments. It is true that a Christian without friends many times is not very friendly. However, many Christian singles suffer from a lack of intimacy, elderly Christians are home bound and lonely, and even a married person can suffer from loneliness.

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Loving The Law

May 7th, 2014

The Law of GodI hear many Christians say that we are no longer under the Law of the Old Testament. Many “churches” reject the Old Testament outright and claim they are “New Testament Only Churches.” If that is true, then might I lighten your load on Sunday and suggest you rip out the first 39 books in your Bible? Or perhaps you can purchase a New Testament all by itself. However, if you do that you’ll miss the poetic beauty of the Psalms and the eternal wisdom of Proverbs. King Solomon left us this little nugget:

    “Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye.” (Proverbs 7:2)

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