This morning I looked up the word independence in my Thompson Chain-Reference Bible index and could not find it. However, I did find the words dependence and freedom. Americans like to consider themselves as a free and independent people. As Christians, we are to consider ourselves dependent of Jesus Christ:
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)
Continue reading “Dependent Freedom”
The writer of Hebrews tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” It is also true that a Christian cannot conduct God’s business, “His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” without faith. As Dr. Charles Fowler recently taught my church during a prayer conference, “Faith is the commodity of heaven.”
Faith is simply trusting God. However, that simple definition can cause much confusion. As is rightly stated in Ewell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, “Faith in God involves right belief about God.” It is vital that we have a biblical view of who God is.
Continue reading “The Commodity of Heaven”
Are you a worry wart? That’s seems like an inappropriate question, or at least grammatically incorrect. A wart is a thing; not a person. So, I guess we could ask, “Do you have a worry wart?” Or perhaps, more accurately and simpler, “Are you a worrier?”
If you ask people what they want most in life, many will say peace of mind. Imagine if the great majority of people actually had peace of mind. However, Christians should desire a greater level of peace. Instead of settling for peace of mind, believers need to strive for the peace of God:
Continue reading “The Anchor of Anxiousness”
Life can be hard. Every day people face marital issues, financial problems, unemployment, business failures, or even persecution, just to name a few. It is in these desperate times that we seek relief from any number of sources. For the Christian, he or she should be seeking God’s word for such relief. The biblical antidote for such anxiety is rejoicing:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Continue reading “Redecorate Your Surroundings”
This past Easter weekend I heard a K-LOVE disc jockey tell her listeners that on occasion we should celebrate ourselves. For those of you not familiar with K-LOVE, it is a Christian radio station that plays great music and often delivers bad theology.
The young lady’s main point I believe she was trying to get across is that every once in a while, it is good to pamper ourselves. Although that is not at all what she conveyed, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Her exacts words were, “Celebrate you, because Jesus does!”
Continue reading “Celebrating Me”
Recently, a brother-in-Christ approached me and asked me to pray for him because he was battling with a sense of not fulfilling his potential. He believed that while he knew God was providing, he felt that he could be doing so much more. I told him that was a man thing.
God has wired men to be hunter-gatherers and we always have a sense of needing to provide for our family. If that sense leaves a man, that is usually a sign of spiritual sickness. However, the longing for more can simply be idolatry, but in many men, it is a longing to do more for the Lord and for his family.
Continue reading “Satisfaction”
There are times when I forget that I am going to have to give an account for every action and word I take and speak. Thankfully, God gives me reminders of this eternal truth and one such reminder came yesterday at church.
Our pastor is preaching on Christ’s seven sayings from the cross. Yesterday he was reading from Matthew 27 when the reminder came to my mind:
Continue reading “Mocking Jesus”
One of my favorite Christmas songs is not even a carol. It’s a song by Steven Curtis Chapman titled, “Heaven in the Real World.” There is a stanza in the song that says:
It happened one night
With the tiny baby’s birth
God heard creation crying
And He sent heaven to earth
Continue reading “He Sent Heaven to Earth”
There is a saying in the entrepreneurial industry that ideas die in the daylight. What that means is someone will conceptually come up with a great product idea, but tactically they never implement it. The same can be said for the Christian walk.
As believers, we often make resolutions to study our Bibles, spend more time in our prayer closets, or share the gospel with a loved one, and yet the intention dies in the daylight. The reason that happens is we saturate our plan with human effort instead of heavenly grace:
Continue reading “Dying in the Daylight”
If America is going to have a reversal of fortunes, then revival must come first. If revival is to come, it must come through the church. If revival is to come to the church, then it must come from Christians responding to the call of Christ on each of their lives. There is no other magic way it will happen. We must say yes to Jesus.
It’s been nine days since Americans decided who our next president will be, and many feel as though we’ve been given another chance. I believe this to be the case, however, my concern is that we the church will squander it. Do not confuse this mainly as a call for all of you to become more politically active. As a citizen, you should already be doing so.
Continue reading “Living in the Now”
We are three weeks from electing a new president. I will be so grateful (if the Lord wills it) to wake up on Wednesday morning, November 9th knowing God is still on the throne. He will be on the throne regardless the outcome of our national election. While many will be shocked and dismayed by the outcome, whatever it is, God will not be among them.
Last week I caught myself entangled in a web of confusion weaved by my own emotions. I’ve allowed the cacophony of opinions to flood my soul and spirit to the point I felt I was drowning. Thankfully, God has provided my church with a pastor who is one of the wisest men I know. He wonderfully has summed up how every conversation should begin: “Meet me at the cross.”
Continue reading “A Web of Confusion”
Yesterday during at the beginning of his sermon, our Associate Pastor Rev. Pete Belmain made the following declaration:
“I’m sure there are lots of churches up and down this highway giving feelgood sermons. This nation doesn’t need anymore feelgood sermons.”
Continue reading “No More Feelgood Sermons”
Besetting sin is the one that keeps coming back. You return to it like a dog returns to its vomit, to borrow a phrase from the Bible. That may sound disgusting, but you are disgusted with yourself every time you recommit this particular sin. The problem is you try so hard not to. That is the problem; you’re trying not to instead of training not to.
It takes discipline to live a holy life. The Apostle Paul says we are striving for a crown. We are in a race and there can be only one victor. Victory over sin has already been won; Jesus defeated sin and death at the cross and leaving the tomb empty. So we need to live our lives in such a victory. Even though there can be only one winner in a race, we can experience victory in Jesus if we will commit ourselves to loving and obeying Him. We need to run the race because in the end we have an everlasting crown waiting for us on the other side:
Continue reading “Training or Trying”
Imagine your loved one giving you a Christmas gift that looked as though it took him or her three minutes to throw together. There was no effort put into getting your gift, no cost or value, no sacrifice of time or resources. Now if it’s your two-year old child doing so, that is cute and heart-warming. If it is your spouse, then you’d be in a heap of trouble.
So why do we give such ungrateful gifts to the Lord our God? Why do we give Jesus the scraps from our table when we’re finished with the day? In some cases, we don’t even do that. The reason is we don’t love our Lord enough. We express our love to one another in the sacrifices we make for each other. To do otherwise is to be guilty of the same sullied sacrifices for which the Prophet Malachi confronted Israel:
Continue reading “Sullied Sacrifices”
A very popular song from the 80’s was Foolish Heart by Steve Perry. Perry is warning his heart against foolishly falling in love, warns his heart that it has “been wrong before, don’t be wrong anymore.”
Many people live their lives as “one and done” if they are hurt in a relationship in order to protect themselves. Perry is wisely recognizing that our hearts can deceive us. We believe we know ourselves and yet Scripture tells us otherwise:
Continue reading “Foolish Heart”
Random House Dictionary defines deception as, “The state of being deceived.” It further defines deceive “To mislead by a false appearance or statement; delude.” The biggest deceivers in our lives are usually us. I can convince myself that I am living a life pleasing to Christ, all the while going back to a besetting sin like a dog returns to his vomit.
Self-deception is not a 21st Century phenomenon; the Apostle John addressed this delusion from which many in the new church suffered:
Continue reading “Cutting Through the Deception”
Imagine your worst day ever, or perhaps you don’t have to imagine it. You’ve already faced your worst day. It was a day that you did not think you would survive. Perhaps the death of a loved one unexpectedly visited your home. Or maybe financial ruin crumbled life as you knew it. It could be that you are facing such a time right now.
To where do you turn in times of trial? For me, it is always helpful to have people in my life who have been through the same or similar fire to give me counsel. When my son Eddie was killed in Iraq nearly nine years ago, a woman named Debbie Lee came into Karen and my lives. She was a Gold Star Mom who lost her son Marc a year prior. She is like a sister to us. She has been a solid rock to lean on in trying times.
Continue reading “Falling Apart”
Just about every Christian radio station you listen to has its daily “power verse.” While I appreciate a good Bible verse every day, I wonder how many Christians actually allow the Scriptures to strengthen their daily lives?
Do we seek God’s word for His wisdom and strength to get through our workaday lives, or are we using Bible verses like a quick charge from an energy drink? Of course, turning to the Bible for strength in moments of weakness does help us get through the day, but God wants us to thrive instead of just survive.
Continue reading “At Our Disposal”
Fear is the enemy of faith. My fear can overwhelm me if I’m looking with worldly eyes. When I see the state of my country, I fear for its future. This fear is not unfounded, however, if my fear is calculated without God, then it is unfounded.
Jesus’ disciples were facing a life-threatening moment, one in which all of us would no doubt be fearful. We should be able to totally relate to their fear and nod our heads in understanding, and yet Jesus rebuked them for having little faith:
Continue reading “Panic Prayers”
At a recent men’s Bible study, we had split up into small prayer groups when one of the gentlemen in my group said that he had once fallen out of love with God. I told my group I once believed that is what happened, but in actuality we stop loving God.
When someone falls out of love with another, that relationship is usually over. This is how so many divorces happen. However, if a person has stopped loving another, they’ve allowed their love to grow dormant, and that can be rekindled with purposeful effort.
Continue reading “Stopped Loving God”