Where is the line between a self-centered lifestyle and a self-giving one? Jesus taught, “If they take your coat in court, give them your cloak also. If they compel you to go the extent of one mile, go two. Give to those who ask and don’t ignore that that would borrow” (Matthew 5:40-42). The world is full of people who would abuse a disciplined Christian sincerely trying to live this to the letter. Continue reading “Plus or Plush”
Someone asks, “How are you doing?” Convinced they don’t really want to know the truth, we say, “Fine!” or “Fabulous!” or “Great!”
These expressions concerning our circumstances, events or feelings are sometimes somewhat true. Sometimes they are spoken in an almost desperate attempt at speaking faith. Sometimes, seeking acceptance and approval, we mask up and hide our vulnerable selves and tell the modified truth. Continue reading “Honesty”
It has been observed that there are at least 365 “fear not” scriptures in the Bible. One would have been enough, should have been enough. However, He said it to us over and over again hoping that in whatever circumstance of life we find ourselves, we would hear and know the “fear not” falling from His voice over us.
Fear is a common experience for all of us. It has a paralyzing effect on creativity, sensitivity, and accomplishment. The prophet Elijah had seen prophets slain, fire fall, and had prayed down a storm. Yet, when fear took dominion of his inner kingdom, he panicked, became depressed, went into seclusion, lost control of his thinking and became defensive in his praying. Fear resulted in His misdirection. Continue reading “Fear Not”
I was exhausted in every way. For days my time had been so fragmented, the demands almost more than I could meet. My time of private devotion to spiritual matters had been affected by a divided mind. For this, guilt was taking its toll. But faithfulness is always a winner. As usual, I went into my study early that morning. Mentally harassed, soul hungry, emotions disturbed, spiritually desperate, physically tired but willfully determined, I reached for my Bible and the comfort and consolation of David’s Psalms. Continue reading “Faithfulness Wins”
Life, with its varying seasons, brings floods as surely as it brings sunshine. Sometimes we watch as the pressure slowly builds – a rising tide – accompanied by an inner dread – and we find ourselves overwhelmed. At other times, it is the sound of a cell phone buzzing – the ding noting an incoming text message – that brings us from peaceful and calm to storm-tossed with a single sentence. A flash flood of emotion can easily overwhelm us.
As my husband says, we are both “north of eighty” years of age. In my life’s experience I have weathered more than my share of floods and want to share some simple things I’ve learned. Continue reading “Faith at Floodstage”
While watching an old Gaither Homecoming video recently, an old Patriotic song brought my thoughts to the cost that was paid for my liberty. It sent me on a word study, where I discovered that the word liberty is used some 27 times, in the 66 books of the King James Bible. There are 10 different Hebrew and Greek definitions for the word that is translated “liberty.” Most of them are very similar and some derivatives of the same root word. There are repeated phrases like “set at liberty” and “proclaim liberty” and “your liberty” and “my liberty.” The meanings range from “broad, large, roomy, wide” to “freedom/pardon/forgiveness” to “relieve” and “release” and “rest.” Liberty.
This month of July in America starts off with a celebration of who we are – the crafters and proclaimers of the Declaration of Independence, victors in the Revolutionary War, the ones who are truly the free and the brave. That’s us!
Sometimes, amidst the fireworks and the barbecue dinners, time with family and friends, and maybe even on a campground for an old fashioned Camp Meeting, we forget that the freedom we celebrate was not free. It came only after hard-won battles. Lives were lost. Families were fractured. Freedom was not free. Maintaining that freedom for ourselves and others continues to come, even today, at a high price.
As we look then, to our spiritual freedoms, we have to also ever remember the price that was paid for our spiritual liberty. Sin bound us all. Yet, from the foundation, there was a Lamb slain. There was precious blood spent to purchase you and me.
The flag of the United States is a thing of beauty with it’s red and white stripes and blue background with stars. The Statue of Liberty, with her lighted torch, and the plea of “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is awe-inspiring.
On the other hand, there it is a beautiful terrible cross where Jesus Christ died to purchase our salvation. Healing was in the stripes He suffered but it was gruesome not gorgeous. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Yet, it was the price He paid for us for our liberty.
How grateful we should be for the men and women who protect and serve our country and maintain freedom for us and others. How much more grateful must we be to the God who robed Himself in flesh to walk among us to suffer and die on Golgatha’s hill that we might be free.
I close with the lyrics of the song that got this thought process started. I am proud to be called an American . . . glad to be called a Christian. I will honor our flag and the statue of liberty. And I will cling to the old rugged cross . . . where He purchased my liberty.
In New York stands a lady
With her torch raised to the sky
And all who see her
Know she stands for liberty for you and me.
I’m so proud to be called an American
To be named with the brave and the free
I will honor our flag and our trust in God
And the statue of liberty.
On lonely Golgatha stood a cross
With my Lord raised to the sky
And all who kneel there
As all the saved can testify
I’m so glad to be called a Christian
To be named with the ransomed and whole
As the statue liberates the citizen
So the cross liberates the soul.
The cross is my statue of liberty
It was there that my soul was set free
Unashamed I’ll proclaim that the rugged cross
Is my statue of liberty.
Do you believe a consistent study and understanding of the scripture is necessary for real spiritual growth?
Do you only quote, or do you take seriously the command to study to show yourself approved unto God, skillful in using the Word, as as to rightly understand it?
Do you know some part of your attitude, action, character, or disposition that has been significantly affected by your personal study of the scriptures in the past three months?
Are you presently involved in a consistent and continuing plan of Bible study by book, chapter, or subject?
Are you a milk-fed Christian, almost totally dependent on spiritual nourishment previously digested by a preacher and hand fed to you?
Are you serious about your personal responsibilities to study the Bible? Continue reading “DO YOU? ARE YOU? WILL YOU?”
June 4, 2017 is marked on most Christian calendars as Pentecost Sunday. So, for this month’s article, I wanted to do a little reflection on our Pentecostal history. This is not the history of a denomination or a movement or any other random collection of people. It is a very specific Biblical account of events following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.
Acts 2:1-4 opens the story for us all. Jesus had been crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb. All hope had seemed gone until that 3rd day when He rose from the dead and for forty days walked among them. He left them with the instruction and the promise to go to Jerusalem and wait until they were endued with power from on high. So it was that 120 believers were gathered in an upper house in Jerusalem, waiting. . . Continue reading “Just A Little History Lesson”
There is a passage in Matthew 25 it seems we have often overlooked. This chapter is a part of what is called the “Olivet Discourse” of Jesus, which actually begins in Chapter 24 and continues through Chapter 25. The cause for the discourse was Jesus’ answer to the well-known question of the disciples, “…What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
We are very familiar with the first several parts of this significant portion of scripture. We are assured that wrs and rumors of wars, false prophets, the abomination of desolation, and the sun and moon being darkened, and budding fig tree are definite signs of the end of time, and know that we are seeing them fulfilled.
We are, also, sure that we should heed not only the story of the virgins who foolishly did not have enough oil but also the warning of the wicked and slothful servant who did not multiply his talents.
The question is, though, have we overlooked the last part of Matthew 25? Continue reading “Do We or Do We Not?”
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We don’t talk about persecution too much these days. When we talk of persecution we often find ourselves focusing on the martyrs of old, men like Michael Servitus and Pliny the Younger and Justin Martyr and thousands of others who gave their lives rather than denounce their belief in Jesus Christ.
Tertullian observed: “The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow. The blood of Christians is seed.” (Tertullian, Apology 50, c. A.D. 200). In the earliest years of Christianity, persecution of Christians was rampant. Continue reading “Blessed are the Persecuted”