One writer defined “the spirit of poverty” as a “constant inability to focus on God’s ability and abundance; our faith being limited by our own background and status.” Since more of us than not have come from varying degrees of meager backgrounds, this may well be something for all of us to ponder. This spirit of poverty can cause us to view God as on our own level, restricted to our own limitations. It can affect our faith, depress our spirit, dampen our enthusiasm, and handicap our future. Continue reading “The Spirit of Poverty”
It was one of “those” days. I was sick, nearly dropping in my tracks with a bad cold. We were on a tight schedule. The weekend had been over-crowded and I had left my Bible with the notes for an upcoming conference locked in the church with no way of retrieving them before we had to leave the motel at 6:45 am the next morning. All this combined with a nagging apprehension of several coming responsibilities made me very vulnerable to the ever-lurking enemy of fear. Once my armor was cracked, he slipped into my mind and a good case of the “what if’s” set in. Continue reading “The Prescription”
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” –Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, KJV
Between the two extremities of a time to be born and a time die there is a lot of living, learning, loving, losing, being, and becoming. Life is made up of seasons, spiritual and emotional seasons as real and opposing as the budding springs and the bleak winters of nature. In the natural world the two preferred seasons – the “perfect” seasons – are spring and autumn. Both are bright with exciting color and expectancy. Absent are extremities. Everything is “just right.” But God broke into these “just right” seasons with the scorching heat of summer and the bone-chilling cold winds of winter. The extremities, the positives and the negatives, temper God’s creation. Continue reading “Sensitive to Seasons”
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”
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?”
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?”