Basic Obedience: What’s the Issue?

Basic obedience is at the heartbeat of basic Christianity. Matthew 7:21 (Skinner paraphrase: “Not everyone that calls Jesus Lord really means it. Only those who do what Jesus says really mean it.”) Did you know that spiritually, as a Christian, you are created to obey? Spiritually, you are built to obey–not command. Humanly, how are you built? To command. It is not your first nature to obey everyone. It is not your nature to do everything people tell you to do. Human nature is rather to take command or do things your way. For the Christian, spiritually, you are built in such a way that you want to obey and not command. Now if a Christian says, “that is not the way I function,”  we know where to find the problem. The problem is lack of obedience. If you’re tired of obeying, you … [Read more...]

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...]

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 Do I Love?

To be in love with somebody is a wonderful experience. I remember the dating experience with  Elaine. I dreamed about that girl! I used to talk about her all the time, and carried her picture in my wallet, and at odd moments, I’d take it out and look at that simple image of her. I had a picture of her in my room (I still have that picture on my iPhone now). Every night that I wasn’t working, I went to see her. I went to see her as often as my parents would let me! I bought gifts for her and did everything I could to show my love for her. While we all enjoy being with our families, we also like to be around various other people. Many times you must pause and ask yourself what comes first, family, time with friends, or to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and … [Read more...]

Come to Terms

Come to terms with others! When you have a disagreement with another believer and refuse to make it right, there will be a major roadblock to the rest of your prayer life. The sin that stands in the way of walking in the Spirit will stop your prayers. God said through the prophet Isaiah, Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.  Isaiah 59:1-2 Praying to God that He will provide help for everything in your life may receive this answer, “Your sins have separated you from Me and I will not listen to you.” Stop struggling and come to terms. There are two simple things needed to help you get back to a … [Read more...]

What Are the Worst Sins?

Just what are the worst sins a Christian can commit? Would you say it would be to call someone a liar? Maybe it is for a married person to commit adultery. Or, what about deceiving others? Could it be that the worst of all is to murder someone? We know that all sin is an offense against God. All sin cost God the life of His Son Jesus to provide redemption for a people who could not help themselves. Sin is unquestionably the great reproach against God. But why are there lists of sins in the Bible? Are some worse than others? Are they listed so that we can be more aware of them in our lives? Could you list all the sins in the Bible and then rank them according to what you think are the worst ones, or maybe make a Top Ten list of sins? Of course you could do that. What I find … [Read more...]

Two Forms of Patience: Human and Spiritual

Two forms of patience reside in the believer–human and spiritual. The spiritual patience residing in every believer is the power of the God Himself! If that is so, then as long as you are in right relationship with God, the spirit of patience will control you. The question is not whether or not patience is available, but will you experience the patience that resides in you. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  1 Thessalonians 5:14 The focus in this passage is to be patient with all–not most. Do you need to learn more patience than you are currently experiencing? Most of us would say yes but we do not want to go through the process required to learn patience. Spiritual attributes described in Scripture, … [Read more...]

Grace Illustrated

Do you need grace? Have there been times when you needed others to share grace with you? Grace is a gift from someone who give us something we don't deserve. Mercy withholds from us what we really do deserve. A local newspaper carried an article called “Road Rage” that demonstrated a need for grace. A motorist cut into another driver’s lane so abruptly that the other motorist had to apply his brakes to avoid collision. Both drivers became angry enough that one of them threatened the other with a gun. No shots were fired. Police arrested the gun-wielding man as he came off the interstate: The first man had called the police from his car phone. The gunman resisted arrest and had to be forcibly extracted from his car. This is a sobering picture of the human heart straight from a local … [Read more...]

Amazing Testimony of A Gentle Spirit!

This amazing testimony gives evidence of a truly gentle spirit. May this warm your heart as you read! Dr. Henry Brandt and I were asked to be consultants for an organization that Chuck Colson began called Prison Fellowship. One of the prisons that we consulted was in Houston, Texas. The leaders asked us to train their counselors and staff in biblical counseling and put together a program of discipleship for the inmates in the program. One of the requirements for entering the program was that a participant could possibly be paroled in eighteen to twenty-four months. After all, if they were going to be released, then releasing a person empowered by Christ instead of empowered by their flesh would be much preferred. One of the men in the group was there for committing murder. He had … [Read more...]

What is My Problem?

What is my problem? I hear this question asked over and over by sincere people looking for solutions to difficulties in life. Most often the issue is about overcoming anxiety, stress, and frustration. Let’s first set the context by considering this passage from Proverbs: Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. (Prov. 3:7-8). One of our responsibilities as Christians is to be witnesses to weary travelers who are trying to use human resources to deal with sin. The collapse of family life and the escalation of dishonesty, stealing, violence, crime, physical and sexual abuse speaks for itself. Our world needs a good dose of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, … [Read more...]

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