Who Should Correct?

If correction is needed, what kind of person would you prefer to deliver the message? Would you rather it be a humble or arrogant person? Of course we want the humble person, don’t we? It is very difficult to respond positively to an arrogant person. A humble person is a much better choice for delivering a corrective message, but correction is still the issue. Think of a person you deeply respect. Maybe it is a parent, grandparent, teacher, former pastor, current pastor, a Bible study teacher, or maybe it is Billy Graham. Think about their walk with God. You trust they have a deep relationship with Christ. If that person should observe you doing something wrong this week and they approached you and said, “I heard what you said the other day and that wasn’t appropriate. You need to make … [Read more...]

False or Real Hope

Many are offering false hope to save our society. To the drunk, the world says it is not his fault; it is a disease or an addiction. He cannot control himself. Society must save him! Society says, “We want to help you. We have groups to support you. We will help you manage this problem.” Why does this reveal false hope? Because the same groups will say to the alcoholic, “You will always be an alcoholic. You will never get rid of this, but we can teach you how to manage it.” God is much more gracious than that! He offers a cure–Jesus. Looking back 50 years, we can evaluate the combined efforts of the medical, social, educational, governmental, legal, and theological professions. The combined impact on society has been negative. There are exceptions here and there, but in general, human … [Read more...]

What’s Down In The Well Comes Up In The Bucket!

I remember my grandmother saying, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket! If the well has muddy water, then that is what you get, if it is clean spring water, then that is what comes up in the bucket.” What's down in your inner self is what comes out when you are in conflict. When your values or beliefs are challenged or affirmed, you will discover what is "down in the bucket." Your first response shows the condition of your heart, mind, and attitude at the time. There is much social pressure that requires you to look happy, to act as if you were happy, to be polite, and to do the acceptable thing. The Christian is concerned, not only with his tone of voice, but with what is in the inner self as well; not only with how he acts, but with how he feels. Jesus said, “What … [Read more...]

Repentance and Memory Lane

A spirit of repentance will encourage you to remember where you have come from in your spiritual life. While our memory is not always accurate, when you want to change from where you are to where God wants you to be, He will enable your memory to remember "from where you have fallen" (Rev. 2:5). Do you remember when... You were in the first grade? You had a first best friend? You were given your first tricycle, big wheel, or bike? Do you remember... Subjects you studied in 3rd grade? The color of your classroom? The name of your elementary school? Some of us remember more details than others about our childhood. My wife remembers many details about her childhood, while I struggle with the details. Though I have trouble with the small stuff, important events … [Read more...]

A Quiet Spirit

Imagine responding to pressure, perplexities, persecution, and destruction with a quiet spirit. To experience quietness and peace is indeed a treasure. Maybe you think of a quiet secluded place is needed to achieve a quiet spirit. But, the Spirit of God also has a quieting effect on the body. Of course you do not have to respond to God, you can take on your troubles with your own strength if you choose. One of the key ways in which we tend to do this is to claim our problems are someone else’s fault. Talented, well-educated, highly-trained people reason that it’s the other fellow or their circumstances that are at fault. They reason that their reactions, given their situation, are quite normal and natural. After all, aren’t they being mistreated, misunderstood, not appreciated, and … [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...]

Those Annoying People!

"Those annoying people did it to me again!" Have you said that lately? There is not doubt there are many annoying people in this world. But why is it that we have to run into them so often? God's Word gives us some insight in Galatians 5:20-21 stating, “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy,” are works of the lower nature. Other words that we could use would be quarreling, debate, disunion, and anger. I am going to lump all of these together and call them “annoyance.” Feelings of Annoyance Feelings of annoyance can range all the way from very slight annoyance that you hardly notice to intense annoyance that breaks through our shells and causes our faces to flush, our hearts to pound, and causes our bodies to break into a sweat. … [Read more...]

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