The Christian Life: A Human Impossibility

Learning the basics of Christianity is relatively simple–if knowledge of the how to’s are all you desire. Simply listing the commands of Christ does not require an in depth study nor a massive amount of time. Putting into practice the commands of Christ is quite different. To do what Christ says requires study, devotion, prayer, and daily experience. I suppose for years I worked on Christianity the same way many others went about the task. Making sure I did't miss my daily Bible reading and prayer time was the main focus. Other than that, I attempted to not do all the evil things that Christians were to avoid. I reasoned that if I avoided evil activities, then I would be a good Christian. Later I learned that was simply attempting to not walk in the flesh. Though for the most part that … [Read more...]

The Joy of Repentance Brings Peace!

Peace Doesn't Come from Places or People Shortly after completing my university education, I began my first experience serving as a full-time associate pastor. Little did I know that I would need to experience the joy of repentance that brings peace in my first assignment. Excitement permeated my life as God had allowed me to serve Him in such a role. While serving at the church, I was given the privilege of attending seminary. And if that was not enough to keep my schedule full, I was also married and had a young child. Would the stress of all these new life adventures bring me peace? Christian education was my major assignment at the church. I had been trained for years to be a good minister of Christian education. All the resources and tools available to a leader were in my library. … [Read more...]

Pretending Happiness

Pretending happiness is a tough way to live. It takes a lot of energy to keep up this acting lifestyle. George wanted to clear up the gnawing sense of anxiety and growing unhappiness that plagued him, and hoped to do so before anyone else found out about his condition. So he quietly sought professional counseling. He would rather have died than have his associates learn that he was bored with church and its activities, dissatisfied with his wife, and annoyed with his fellow employees at work. But the counseling experience was a shattering one. The counselor, who George suspected was a non-Christian, pressed him to share his antagonisms, and George did not like it. He insisted he had no antagonisms. He stoutly maintained that since he was a Christian he loved everyone and was nice to … [Read more...]

Are You Ready To Change?

Change may be needed but are you ready to change? How do you you know when a friend is ready to hear and apply the truth of their situation? There is no guarantee that you will know but you must estimate when the counselee is ready to consider a biblical description of the problem and take some action. Then, you present your insight and leave the result with God. Do not fear being wrong when you are using the Bible as a mirror. Your counselee may have been telling you how angry his wife makes him. He has believed this for years. Now you are telling him that his anger is a work of the sinful nature and a change must take place. What change? A change of heart. He may become furious at you for even suggesting change. You quietly tell him to think about it and see you next … [Read more...]

Understanding The Inner Person

Understanding our inner person can be quite complicated for us. However, God’s invitation is to believe, receive, abide, come, and take of His resources so that we will have a greater understanding of the inner person. Frequently, an individual will protest that he has no will power, that he is weak, or that his case is special. He pleads for understanding, implying that if he were understood, he would be accepted as he is. Of course it is true that all people are weak, unrighteous, and sinful. It is also true that a disturbed individual needs to be understood by others but also by him or herself. But understanding the inner person and his/her problems does not change him/her, it only makes his/her need clear. He needs someone to reassure, instruct, and guide him to Christ who can … [Read more...]

Who Is Fighting Your Battle?

Have you ever tried to solve your problems when you knew that you really couldn’t solve them even with your greatest effort? Our tendency is to find a way to cause everything to work out the way we want it to be resolved with all of our personal human resources. Maybe your spirit knew that only God could solve this but your mind wouldn’t let it go still attempting to work it out on your own. King Jehoshaphat could have relied on his powerful army and all of his resources to go into battle. Everyone would believe that was the right thing to do. But, the Spirit of the Lord came upon the son of Zechariah--Jahaziel and delivered a message to all of Jerusalem and the King. “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s “(2 Chronicles … [Read more...]

Christ’s Help in a Self-Help World

Christ's help for us is different than the assistance available from a "self-help" world. No matter what the world tells you, Jesus has a clear, concise, simple promise for His disciples: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27 The apostle Paul taught: Walk in [live by] the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  Gal. 5:16 Everyone has two options in life: turn to God for help or, turn to the world for help. Of course there are common events in life for helping yourself, but remember, spiritual needs come from God, not self. It’s like determining if you are headed north or south. Those are opposite directions. God's help, and self help are … [Read more...]

Deception Has Become Ordinary

Deception is a common act of everyday life. It has become so common, many times people don't even recognize when they are deceptive. In the courtroom, if a witness fails to reveal accurately what is on his mind while under oath, it is called perjury, or deception. If an action or event that is known to be wrong is in a public forum, a scandal occurs. Many scandals happen every day. There are sports, political, sex, corporate, and Olympic scandals. The Watergate scandal should be a stark reminder of the misery we can cause ourselves by covering up the truth. The men involved brought the wrath of the nation down on themselves. In day-to-day, human relations, we tend to create minor scandals when we misrepresent what is on our minds and hearts. We can give ourselves a variety of reasons … [Read more...]

Controlling Yourself — Can I Really?

Do you have trouble controlling yourself? Is it even possible to control yourself? How can we control ourselves? I understand wanting to control other people. We all have a desire at some level to control those problem people at work, home, or church. Who would you control if you had that ability? People have difficulty with self-control for all kinds of things in life. A bag of peanut M&M’s, a shopping spree, a gun show, golf, an obsession for physical fitness, or an incredible dinner can dominate your thinking and time. There are all kinds of things in this world that demand our time, efforts, and our love. When you read Galatians 5:22-23, it is understandable that the fruit of the Spirit is love, not human love–God’s love. It is not human joy. It is God’s joy. It is peace, not … [Read more...]

How Does the Truth Affect You?

When you are faced with the truth, how does truth affect you? Christians who have knowingly committed sin and then are corrected in humility will either become mellow or hard hearted when they hear the truth. If you are the one being corrected, you will face the same choice of response. Your response to truth is not determined by the spirit of the person delivering the message. Your reaction to the truth is determined by your spirit. The safest response to needed correction is to change. To delay change may require increased discipline by God to turn your heart back to Him. Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:16). If you are cold, you know you are cold. If you are hot, you know you … [Read more...]

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