Category Archives: General

Not a Legalist!

Have you ever had a conversation with a Christian and at some point you ask, “Do you read your Bible every day?” 

He replies, “No, I’m not a legalist about it.” What do you say in response to him?

What about you? Maybe you don’t read your Bible and pray every day because you don’t want to be a legalist. You think, “The Bible doesn’t command us to read our Bible every day. I might be a legalist if I did.” 

Give it some thought. Continued next week. 

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Ahhh Peace and Rest

When you want a peaceful, relaxing evening what do you do? Based on talking with others, including professing Christians, many turn to a movie or TV (and sadly some also grab a beer/alcohol). They sit down, turn on the tube, and turn off their mind. Ahhhhh. 

Where do you go for peace? Where should those who are bought and paid for by the blood of the Lord Jesus get peace? “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Notice, “not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”

Might the very best “place” we could go for peace be to our Lord? What might that look like practically? The first place to start is His Word. Is your ironclad habit to have family Bible time every evening? Reading Scripture, discussing it, and praying is a peaceful, delightful and restful time. 

Maybe after family Bible time, you still have more time in your evening. Then, be enriched and challenged reading about how the Lord has worked in other lives. There are hosts of good Christian biographies that you can read to your family. 

Be sure your time is both peaceful AND edifying. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

Never Never Stop

Hopefully, when we evaluated ourselves we saw still a great need for growth in steadfastness in Christ. Oh Brother, be committed. There is no autopilot. We haven’t arrived and won’t until the trumpet sounds. Every day is a new day. Put off the flesh, and put on the Lord Jesus. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

Don’t ever think: “This won’t harm me. It’s harmless. It certainly isn’t sinful.” That voice speaking is the voice of pride. Always seek what is edifying (1 Cor 10:23) as it will lead to a closer walk with your Lord and holiness. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Never, never stop pursuing Christ.

Under the Influence

On occasion we hear of someone who was stopped for driving under the influence (DUI). It is very easy to wonder “what were they thinking?” They know to drink and drive is not only illegal but dangerous. However, if they were thinking rationally, they wouldn’t have made the dumb choices that led to that consequence. 

Frankly, it is beneficial that we step back and consider, “What influences am I under?” Hopefully, none of us are under the influence of alcohol or drugs that alter our minds, but we are all under many influences. What might some of those be? 

  • people we spend time with
  • people we admire
  • music we listen to
  • what we read
  • what we watch

There are influences that will benefit us and others that will harm us. How aware are you of each of them and their differences? Are you seeking to fill your life with good ones and avoid bad ones? This is such a critically important topic that more words are needed. To be continued. 

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2). 

Posted in: General

Ask An Expert

Experience can be a wonderful instructor provided a man is willing to learn from his mistakes. You should have a pretty good guess, after their experiences with disobedience, how the following would encourage you to live obediently: 

  • Adam
  • Abraham
  • Lot
  • Saul
  • Moses
  • Dathan, Abiram, and their families
  • Achan and his family
  • Samson
  • Saul
  • Jonah
  • The million men (approx.) who died in the desert on their way to the Promised Land

Obedience is far more than just avoiding consequences. Obedience to the Lord and His Word is where freedom is. “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” (Psalms 119:45). 

Walking with the Lord obediently, with the desire to please Him, is where sweetness of fellowship with Christ is. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalms 16:11).

Posted in: General

Harmless or Fun?

We do our children serious harm when we accept things of Satan’s realm. All parents will flee from someone who seeks to do their children harm. Considering that Satan wants you and your children to spend eternity in hell, shouldn’t you put as much “distance” as possible between his influence and the hearts of your children? We are once again nearing his high holy day. As such we would expect born again Christians to flee anything having to do with Halloween.

I know/have known well-meaning believers who either see nothing wrong with some degree of participation in Halloween or want to redeem the time as an outreach. If you are one of those, I would plead with you to reconsider. Some things simply aren’t redeemable.

  • Psalm 97:10 “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil.”
  • Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world.”
  • Romans 12:9b “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”
  • Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

If we parents don’t abhor Halloween as evil, don’t be surprised to watch your children over time embrace other things that God hates. Parents, do you love your children’s souls?

Posted in: General

Nobody Likes Them

If you are in the practice of sharing your faith, someone likely has told you he didn’t want to be a Christian and be like the other hypocrites who say they are Christians. Hmmm. Let’s consider that thought. 

Let’s say I TRULY believe that Scripture says unless someone repents of the hell-bound path they are on and trusts solely in Jesus’ shed blood on the cross (propitiation, Romans 3:25) for the remission/payment for their sins, they will spend eternity in hell. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). 

Or I believe Scripture says you can’t be saved (or kept) by good works as many churches/religions teach.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

If I truly, truly believe those things and don’t make sincere, constant efforts to lovingly engage those I encounter and share with them the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, wouldn’t you say I was worthy of being called a hypocrite? How could I sincerely love people who are headed for eternity in hell and not seek to turn them?

Brothers, is it any wonder this country, full of professing Christians, is throwing off everything of Christ in the pursuit of evil? Is your hand to the plow my brothers or the TV remote, gameboy, fishing pole, or whatever your pleasure might be? “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

Remember

If you are like me, as you read the account of Israel’s exodus out of Egypt, it is hard to believe how often Israel questioned God’s love. Over and over and over again, they grumbled and rejected Him. We can see it in them, but how often do we have a similar attitude? You might see it in your children too. 

Here is a possibility for your family Bible time. Consider diverting from your current Bible reading for a week and read Deuteronomy 8 each night. Make the word “remember” a theme for the week (lifetime would be good too). The word “remember” is used 14 times and “forget” 9 times in Deuteronomy. 

Discussion possibilities your family has experienced:

  • God’s provision 
  • God’s protection
  • God’s love
  • God’s commandments
  • God’s chastening
  • God’s testing


How well has our country “remembered”?

“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

Posted in: General

The Wake-Up Call

Recently I had a health wake up call – blood glucose numbers approaching pre-diabetic levels. The Lord had been putting concern on my heart about my food choices, but I didn’t want to listen. Instead, I justified what I was doing with thoughts like these: 
I enjoy my treats. 
I deserve a treat. 
They aren’t so bad. 
I eat plenty of healthy food. 
My family loves me with treats and brings them to me. What can I do but eat what they give me?
My weight is okay. I can manage it all well enough.

What Is My God?

In the midst of those excuses was a nagging sense of guilt about the opposite of those excuses – the fact that they weren’t healthy, that I could make better choices if I needed a snack, and that my weight was going up. Along with the guilt were some verses that seemed to always stand out to me as I read Scripture with this one being the top, which talks about the enemies of the cross of Christ: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19).

I would wonder if my belly was my god because of how much I loved my treats, but again I could quickly send it away. No, I thought, Christ is my first love, not food. I reminded myself that everyone enjoys treats. That doesn’t make their belly their god. Then I would decide I should prove that by setting the treats aside for a time. Despite my best resolves and asking God to help me let go of the sweets, I was back at it fairly quickly, along with all the excuses.

God’s Chastening?

God answered my prayer, and He did it with chastening. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:5 – 6). I received those glucose readings as chastening from the Lord – a gentle chastening from my loving, heavenly Father while I could still do something about it – a nudge to move me to what I wasn’t choosing before.

Now I have been three weeks without sweets and other carbs in order to bring those glucose numbers down. At first, it was hard, very hard. I didn’t have any energy. I thought about the Mother’s Day treats I had been gifted with but hadn’t yet eaten since I askedSteve to put them somewhere I didn’t know. I planned when I would bring them back into my diet and how I would be much more careful eating them. I decided I could not continue eating this way because I felt so badly.  

I am past that, now, however, and I feel much better. Those thoughts about the goodies I am not eating aren’t filling my mind, and I am happy to be where I am.

What’s Being Excused?

I share my story because I wonder what there might be in your life that you excuse before the Lord but know in your heart isn’t pleasing to Him. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Maybe for you, it is food like me. It could be not exercising, wasting time on social media, not going to bed at night to get the sleep you need, or not spending time in the Word. There are unending possibilities. May I encourage you to surrender before the Lord brings chastening to your life? Even though I miss my treats, my heart is happier this way, feeling that sense of joy that comes from obedience. And by the way, my glucose numbers are down where they need to be! I’m committed to keeping them there. 

What a Strategy

Have you ever wondered how the enemy could have been so successful in hindering the church from reaching our country for Christ? We have had over 200 years to evangelize this country and sadly we now have a pagan nation. If Satan would have used persecution to hinder the evangelization of the United States, he knew it would have strengthened believer’s resolve. 

Instead, he used the “good life” and all the fun and exciting things of the world, that weren’t overtly sinful, to pull the hearts of God’s people away from our Lord and His command. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20a).

My brothers that is why we are to guard our hearts and set them on things above. Just because Christians approve of all sorts of things it doesn’t mean our Lord does. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).  

I remember a Christian teenage boy who told me that he couldn’t imagine life without movies. For many, just fill in the blank instead of movies – TV, video games, sports, skate boards, hunting, fishing, and … For me it was flying small private planes, but I praise God He enabled me to put that away over 40 years ago. Brothers, what do you live for? Examine your time usage and thoughts.