While driving to work last Friday morning, I was listening to K-LOVE and one of the morning DJs, Amy, shared an interesting statistic. She said that one-third of the people polled said that going to church was very important to them. She did not share who conducted the poll nor who was among those polled. Either way the statistic is alarming.
If it was a mix of all Americans, then that statistic is very telling. It means that 2 out of 3 Americans do not consider church an important part of their lives. That alone explains many of the ailments in America. At America’s founding, the large majority of Americans not only considered going to church important, but it was also the central cultural influence in their lives.
Continue reading “Making Church an Option”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
As Christians, we are not saved by good works; we are saved by grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor towards us through the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. He paid for our sins, and when we accept that payment we receive redemption. To redeem something, such as a coupon, it must be acted upon. So we’re not save by Christ’s sacrifice until we see our need for it and then accept it.
However, once we become Christians, our works are very important to God. They are evidence of being a child of God. I’ve written before that a stingy Christian is an oxymoron. We should be the most caring and giving people in society, and for the most part we are. It pleases our Heavenly Father when we do good works:
Continue reading “Pleasing God”
A stingy Christian is an oxymoron; or at least it should be. If Christians merely obeyed God’s command to tithe, it would radically change the world. Statistics I found online in a Relevant Magazine article show that only ten to twenty-five percent of a normal congregation is made up of tithers. Furthermore, only 1 out of 20 Americans tithe, with 80 percent of them giving only 2 percent. Finally, Christians tithe 2.5 percent in these abundant times, whereas during the Great Depression they gave 3.3 percent.
In his article, Mr. Holmes goes onto to described the impact the church would have if we were to tithed as commanded. He further states that giving is not a money issue; it is a heart issue. When I finally began to tithe as I knew that Lord wanted of me, it changed my heart. However, it didn’t change it about money; it changed my heart about materialism.
Continue reading “A Matter of the Heart”
You’ve no doubt heard that all religions lead to heaven and worship the same god. If this is true, then Christianity is a lie. Christianity is the only religion where salvation comes through grace alone, by faith in Christ. All other religions require some sort of works to receive salvation. This means Christianity is the opposite of all other religions. Two opposing belief systems can be wrong, or one can be right. However, both cannot be right.
Believers around the world celebrated Christianity’s holiest day yesterday. Most call it Easter; others prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday. Regardless its name, a Risen Savior is the center of the celebration. Many denominations are now rejecting a crucified and risen Christ. This too is a false Christianity. The Bible declares as much:
Continue reading “A False Christianity”
One thing that has become painfully clear in this election cycle is that those who describe themselves as evangelical may have those type of values, but they are not living them out. We can say we believe something, but if that belief does not translate into behavior, then we are only fooling ourselves. Our children and colleagues can clearly see the difference.
How does one not live out that which he or she says they value? They do so by not having a biblical worldview. A biblical worldview is only attained through devoted study of Scripture. Scripture is to be read, taught, and meditated upon so that it has the chance to take root in our hearts and thereby into our consciences. That is why the Apostle Paul reminded Timothy thusly:
Continue reading “Being Right”
One of the more concerning things I’ve heard Donald Trump say is that he has never sought forgiveness from God because he’s never seen a need to. This is not exclusive to Mr. Trump; I myself once believed this. So did most Christians before they saw their need for Christ. As much as I needed Jesus Christ to save me, so does The Donald and all who believe as him. This is not my political opinion; this is what the Bible teaches:
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)
Continue reading “Facing Our Sins Squarely”
I know people who make worrying an Olympic sport. I don’t mean to insult those who worry, but I want those who are habitual worriers to lean in a little closer and listen carefully. Never in the Bible are we told to worry; quite the opposite. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments we are told to “fear not” and “do not worry.” When we are commanded to do something and we do the opposite, we sin.
No doubt none of you worriers consider yourselves a sinner for this reason. I understand that, but just as important as overcoming sin, I want you to realize that worry steals your joy and affects your health. The Apostle Paul was a man greatly persecuted for his faith and in fact he wrote the following words from a Roman jail:
Continue reading “The Greatest Thief of Joy”
Do you have one? Do you have a marvelous testimony? The word testimony comes from the Latin testi- and means “to witness.” The suffix –mony is used in Latin abstract nouns, in this case signifying a function. So testimony is the function of witnessing.
As a Christian, do you perform the function of witnessing? Testifying to what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for believers was very high on His list. Many times after healing a person, Jesus would command that person to go tell people what had happened. One well-known case was after Jesus healed a demon-possessed man.
Continue reading “A Marvelous Testimony”
Have you ever heard someone say, “I can worship God anyway and anywhere I want?” Perhaps you’ve said or thought this. I know it is a convenient thought, but convenience is rarely the path we should take. When it comes to worshipping God, we have to do as He commands. We don’t get to pick and choose.
Many people get upset with me when I tell them this, but at least they haven’t wanted to kill me. Do you realize that the first murder ever committed by man was rooted in God’s rejection of man’s self-determined worship style? Have you ever heard of Cain?
Continue reading “Rejecting Cain’s Worship”
I cannot take credit for the “clever” title spelling of this devotional; it’s the name of a Christian music group. However, my pastor reminded me of the story of Naaman during a sermon as he was preaching on obedience. To refresh our memories about Naaman we turn to the Old Testament account:
“So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (2 Kings 5:14)
Continue reading “7even Times Down”
“So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’” (Luke 2:15)
Continue reading “Will You Go?”
“Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:4-7)
If you went back to your hometown where near or distant relatives lived, would you have to get a room at a hotel? Now some of us might choose to get a room, but would you have to? Or do you have family and friends in your hometown that would be delighted to put you up while you visited. In fact, most would insist you stayed with them.
Continue reading “Seeking Great Things For Ourselves”
One of the skills I appreciate most that I learned in the Army is the ability to navigate with just a map and a compass. Now that might come as a surprise to my wife and daughters, knowing my stubborn male ego and refusal to ask for directions at times. Nevertheless, I was taught and have taught land navigational skills.
One area in the world where you really rely on these skills is in the desert, especially at night. If you are familiar with the terrain, you can become comfortable navigating using terrain recognition during the day.
Continue reading “The Heavenly Trailblazer”
I wanted to share something else from Brother Pete’s sermon last Sunday. He encouraged us to “Worship God not for what He’s done for you, but for who He is.” That really struck home with me because outside of church I must confess I rarely do that. Normally my worship of God is in thanksgiving for what He’s done for me. I want to be more like David and worship God for who He is:
“Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2)
Continue reading “Worshipping God For Who He Is”
What would be your response if someone told you that you smell like Jesus? Would you think that person odd? Would have to seek clarification? Would you nervously thank him or her, look at your watch and hurry away? Or would you understand the tremendous compliment that had just been paid to you?
This may seem a funny topic, but yesterday in church our Minister of Discipleship and Evangelism Pete Belmain was preaching on “What It Means Not to Waste Your Life” and I was struck by something he mentioned. His fourth point was a life that is selflessly devoted to Jesus results in love-driven conduct. He was preaching from the familiar passage of Mary anointing Jesus with expensive spikenard. In John 12: 3 we read:
Continue reading “Smelling Like Jesus”