Category Archives: Seriously

Well Said

A tribute to the Gideons and their passion for God’s Word. They have shared over 2 billion copies of God’s Word. The following words are printed inside the Testaments they distribute.  

“The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here too, Heaven is opened and the gates of Hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.  It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.

It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”

Wasn’t that well-said?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

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.

Steadfast

Does anyone come to mind that you admire but you consider wishy-washy and like a leaf blown by the wind of each influence? Likely not. The people we generally admire are steadfast in life, character, and disciplines. They know who they are, and how to maintain it (and what to avoid), and have a forward direction consistent with their goals. I’m convinced that doesn’t just happen but is purposeful. 

Aren’t we glad that our God is steadfast (unchanging)? Notice as God describes Himself to Moses, this is Who He is, not Who He is most, or some, of the time. “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Ex 34:6–7). God is immutable and does not change over time. He is unchangeable. I believe that is a reason we admire others who don’t change. 

May we each consider our life over this next week. How steadfast are we? How steadfast are we in Christ?

Soul Healthy

Last week we noted how being in the Word every day is a foundational influence for us to have the right mindset of “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:12). As we fill our hearts and minds with the good things from above (Col. 3:1-2), we can have joy and peace that the lost/world doesn’t know. However, understand that the good spiritual influences are not the same as the dopamine and adrenaline-jazzed thrills the world offers and to which the flesh easily becomes addicted. You have to decide in advance if your life will be filled with influences pleasing to the Lord or the flesh. (Hint: the more we are in the Word and love it, the less we will want the cheap thrills of this life.)

Nutritious food does not provide the tastebud-exploding sensation that foods like ice cream and Doritos do, but it produces a healthy body. In a similar way, spiritual influences don’t excite the flesh, but they do nourish the soul. There is a choice each of us must make. Will we be slaves to pleasing our flesh or desirous of the joy that comes from pleasing our Lord?

“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:13-14).

Oh my brothers, may we make no opportunity for the flesh. 

It Is So Good

We ended our last Seriously with the question: Does that mean we really can’t enjoy life? That question was based on Satan’s enticement to us that enjoyment in life is bound up with feeding/thrilling our flesh. I propose that the Christian’s best enjoyment of life will come through his relationship with Christ and serving Him, rather than doing entertaining, exciting, and fun things. Our relationship with Christ grows through edifying influences.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 tells us to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”According to the Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary “Prove” means: to test, examine, and scrutinize to see whether a thing is genuine or not, and deemed as worthy. “Good” means: excellent in its nature and characteristics, and genuine, therefore well adapted to its ends. These are great benchmarks for the influences we should want in our lives.

The foundational good influence in our lives will be the Word. Do you have daily time set aside to read and meditate on your Bible and pray? Are you leading your family in a nourishing time in the Word each day? Are you listening to Scripture, sermons, and doctrinally sound Christian books when you are commuting or at other times you are alone? 

What about spending time with people who are good influences – ones who demonstrate the good influences we are talking about? Frankly, this one is extremely difficult, and just because they go to your church, don’t automatically assume they will be good for you to spend time with. 

When a Christian’s mind is set on things above, he enjoys life on earth. Let’s look at a few more good influences next week. 

The Outcome of The Bad Influence

It seems too good to be true, yet the popular Christian today insists it is. “You can be an effective believer for the Lord and have what the world offers (as long as it isn’t sinful).” Might that idea be a major reason why our country is now “post-Christian?” Let’s consider where that propaganda originated by looking at Matthew 16:23 when Jesus said to Peter. “… Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Notice Satan was credited with what Peter said. 

What were the circumstances surrounding what might have been the strongest rebuke delivered by the Lord to Peter, one of His apostles, who would be commanded to go unto all the world making disciples of men? Jesus had just told them (in verse 21) He was going to “suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed.” Then He said in verse 24, “ … If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Suffering was not part of the apostles’ plan. Their hearts were not set on denial of self. Don’t many Christians share a similar mindset? 

Maybe Satan has continued influencing Christians by convincing them that they can have the good life with all the entertainment, sports, music, and movies they want as long as those aren’t outright sinful.

Might we have come under the influence of the propaganda being spewed forth that the believer can have both the Lord and the world? Is Satan whispering in our ears: “Sure, spend your time on all these things. Enjoy life while still being a good Christian. Jesus never really meant for you to deny yourself, and take up your cross, and follow Him. Paul really didn’t mean for you to ‘… seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth’ (Col 3:1). You can love the things of this earth and heaven and still be a good Christian.” Satan’s subtle influence continues to proclaim, “Don’t be a narrow-minded Christian. Enjoy life!”

Does that mean we really can’t enjoy life? Continued. 

Influence 3

Over thirty years ago, before we quit team sports, one of my sons remarked how he had been wondering how he would look with his hair spiked. I was shocked and couldn’t imagine where he got that idea. It turned out that several of his baseball team members wore their hair spiked. Spiked hair is nothing these days compared to wild, unnatural, ungodly fluorescent-colored hair. You scratch your head and wonder: Where do Christians get the desire to look so odd and of the world? “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). 

The answer is simple—rock stars, sports heroes, and lots of screen time. They want to be cool and accepted, so they look and act like their screen idols. They spend a lot of time following them. Didn’t Jesus say, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)? Brothers, how aware are you of what you and your family are being influenced by?“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).

Under The Influence 2

Hopefully, each of you worshipped at a Bible-believing and teaching assembly this past Sunday. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another…” (Hebrews 10:25a). It is important that the church’s doctrine is biblically sound as hearing it taught each week will have an eternal impact on the lives of your family. 

There is another influence almost as powerful as the preaching. The collective influence of the church body is a force not to be underestimated. God intended that force to be for good in helping those attending live consistently with His Word. However, the world has infiltrated so many churches through the members’ worldly lifestyles that even though their doctrine may be good, the influence on your family may not be. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). 

Sometimes a look at the youth will reveal the “fruit” of the church. What is the youth group like? What do they do in their meetings? “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes” (Luke 6:43-44).

Just because an organization calls itself a church, it doesn’t mean the outcome of its influence is good. 

A Tragedy

I spoke with a man who by today’s standards was an outstanding dad. He spent time with his son and took him to church. Sadly, his adult son can barely hold a job, lives for drugs, and has no relationship with the Lord. Most would agree that’s a tragedy! However, even if a child has a great job, is happily married, but doesn’t know the Lord, that still is a tragedy. 

We know that children tend to look to their parents and love what Dad and Mom love. What/Who is it that you love and can’t live without? Might it be entertainment, sports, hunting/fishing, etc. Or do you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37-38).  Brothers, is it the deep, deep desire of your heart—to love Him, Who first loved you (1 John 4:21) and to follow Him (Matthew 16:24)? 

Do you want to grow? Do you want to serve Him? Do you want to lead others to Him? There is no lack of challenge there, no room for boredom, no time to love the world. The world and all it offers is death. Opposite to that is Jesus Christ and life in Him, which is true life. “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). As you live a life of love for Christ, your children are watching. What you love, they will love.