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Showing posts from October, 2015

Hope Is What They Need

But since we belong to the day, we must be serious and put the armor of faith and love on our chests, and put on a helmet of the hope of salvation.
-1 Thessalonians 5:8 (HCSB)

People who are lost need hope.  Not false hope but real hope.  Real hope is found in the gospel.

I specifically have in mind, Christians who have lost hope, and have embraced false hope or hopelessness.  I believe that when Paul mentions putting on the helmet of the hope of salvation, here in 1 Thessalonians and in Ephesians 6:17, he is telling us that if we do not, we will get hit and hurt, in the head.

Our heads symbolize our thoughts, our minds.  Did you know that the hill where Jesus' cross was set, was called Golgotha, which is Hebrew for "Skull Place".  We need salvation in our minds.

If we lose the hope of salvation in our minds, then we can become captive to all sorts of other ideas, fantasies, or illusions.

Hurting people have lost hope or are embracing false hope.  The antidote for lack …

Real (Unconditional) Love

Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
-1 Corinthians 13:47 (HCSB)

I was thinking about unconditional love.  I would say that that is what these verses above are about, so I chose them.  If God is love and Jesus came to display God's love, then sends us to love one another and be on his mission of loving a lost world, then we need to learn unconditional love.

I see eight characteristics of what real love is and eight things that it does not do.  Eight "yes, yes's", and eight, "no, no's".  These sixteen items are "love checkers".

We say we love, but let us examine that love to see if it is the love of God in us, or just the "feels good" kind of love.  …

What It Is To "Train Up A Child"

Most translations fail to get at the true meaning of this popular verse on raising children:

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.  (KJV)

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (NIV)

The Amplified Bible shares something that other translators leave out:
Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. (AMP)

Breaking it down:
1Train up a child means "dedicate" or "consecrate", in the Hebrew.  For dedication and consecration to work, to bear fruit; there must be cooperation from the child, then there will be assimilation.  The older the child, the more responsibility they bear for their own training.
2.  We wrongly assume that "In the way he should go", …

What's The Story and What's Your Story?

“Go back to your home, and tell all that God has done for you.” And off he went, proclaiming throughout the town all that Jesus had done for him.

So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.
-Luke 8:39, 2 Timothy 1:8 (HCSB) 

I believe that story is a very important aspect of life, growth, and understanding.  In authentic relationships, we hear and tell stories, ours and theirs.  And God has a story that is His story.

God's story has been going on since before we started and his story brings meaning to ours.  As Christians, we have an inherent desire to know God's story and see how it plays out with our own stories.  In Christian fellowship, community, or discipleship; we learn about each others stories and edify each other around and through the stories.

When we authentically encounter one another, we receive hope.  We tell our stories to one another.  We seek to understand …

Expect The Unexpected

People plan their path, but the Lord secures their steps.
-Proverbs 16:9 (CEB)

Don't expect things to go a certain way, good or bad.  But, expect the unexpected.  If we are wedded to our ideas, we will be disappointed with God's ways, because God is bigger than our ideas.

We have to expect something, don't we?  Like looking outside or checking the weather app before leaving for the day.  Have you ever been surprised by rain?

One person has expectations that are not met.  They get disappointed and bitter.  Another person has hopes and dreams, but remains optimistic in their waiting.

Expecting the unexpected is an added dimension to our walk with God.  We don't know when, how, or what; but we believe God cares and may very well do something good.

My primary foundation to my walk with God, is that Father God loves me and cares about my life.  I can trust God.  Look at Jesus.

From that foundation, I can expect the unexpected good to come out of the bad, every time.  Hello…

Anchors Aweigh

The phrase "Anchors aweigh!", means, "Bring the anchors up", or "The anchors are free of the sea bottom and the ship is underway"(1).  It carries the idea that the anchors are no longer holding the ship in place and it can now sail.

Anchor occurs twice in the NT.  In Acts 27 and Hebrews 6.  In Acts 27, the anchors were used to keep Paul's ship from being wrecked, in verses 29 and 30.  Then, in verse 40, they cut the anchors loose, when they were about to make a final run for the beach, and give up the ship:

After casting anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and headed for the beach.
-Acts 27:40
In Hebrews 6:19, it says that we have the hope of Christ, as the anchor for our lives.  Christ keeps up during life's storms and anchors us, in himself, as we sail through life.

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the …

Taking Advice

Arrogance leads to nothing but strife, but wisdom is gained by those who take advice.
Arrogance only produces arguments, but wisdom accompanies those well advised.
-Proverbs 13:10 (HCSB, VOICE)

Question: Do you take advice?  Life is full of problems that need advice.  Arrogant people do not take advice.  And there is a side-affect to arrogance: it produces arguing and strife.

I am and have been an arrogant person.  I grew up, with an arrogant style.  But, when I was 24 years old, I shifted, when God came into my life in a profound way, and I became a person who sought advice or counsel.  I learned to listen and take it in.

Just the other day, I spent about an hour with an older couple and I told them about my plans and a problem.  They gave me a piece of advice that I had not considered, which perfectly solved my dilemma.  This has happened for me, over and over, as I have sought out advisers.

The arrogance of the proud person that argues in a quarrelsome fashion is that of a person …

Renewing a Friendship

Now the LORD had said to Aaron, "Go and meet Moses in the wilderness." So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him.
-Exodus 4:27 (HCSB)
Have you ever renewed a friendship?  Life's circumstances took you apart.  But now, you meet again.  Here are a few tips.

1. When they knock, answer.
When your door is knocked on, answer it.  Don't give up on people.

2. Take out the garbage before having dinner.
If you got hurt in the past relationship, make sure you take out the garbage before you reconnect.  Forgive them, before God.  When you see them again, you get the chance to start over.

3. You can't win them all.

Keep your expectations in check or neutral.  If your expectations are sky high, you will likely be disappointed.  You will evaluate the encounter as a "glass half empty", when it is really a "glass half full".

Come down to earth and embrace the reality that, "you can't win them all".  Sometimes, you will re…


They say to the seers, "Do not see," and to the prophets," Do not prophesy the truth to us. Tell us flattering things. Prophesy illusions."
-Isaiah 30:10 (HCSB)

An illusion is a false idea or belief.  It is a delusion, a self-deception, a fool's paradise, misconception, or misapprehension.

We might have illusions about life.  When we accept the reality that the illusions are not true, we can become disillusioned.  Disillusionment is when we are angry or bitter or cynical about life.

God is neither under an illusion nor disillusioned about things.  Disillusionment carries with it the feeling of disappointment.  God can be disappointed, but not disillusioned, because God never was under any illusion.

Children are not born with wisdom about how the world works and how to function here.  Children grow in wisdom and understanding.  We expect children to be childish.  We expect children to live under some illusion.

As life goes on, we grow in wisdom and understandin…

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. -Psalm 89:1

Have you ever had things in your life go in the opposite direction of what you wanted?  Have you failed and hurt over it and asked, "why?".  Have you been disappointed that your life has not turned out as you had hoped?

If you said yes, then you are in the same boat as many believers through the generations, including a man named Ethan, who wrote Psalm 89.  This psalm is not just a song for kids to sing, but a song of worship, for all who have been afraid that they missed it, and feel like things are off-track and off-base; not going as planned.

I will sing

There is something powerful about singing.  Songs release words into the air, where they have affect.  If I do not have a voice, my spirit still sings and releases songs in the spirit realm.  When I sing, "God is good, yes God is good, I do believe that my God is good!", it changes th…


The best is always yet ahead, no matter what was great in the past.

Failures do not define us, but refine us.

If you can not "do it over", you can try something.

Replace, "just do it", if you don't know what to do, with, "just do something".

Pray always.

When you pray, you don't have to pray coherently, you may have "no words" and that is ok.

Pay attention to your loved ones, and you will be paid attention to.

Listen to those around you.  Listening is ten times more productive than speaking.

Plan.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Plan for drought, death, and loss.

Also plan for fruitfulness, abundance, and multiplication.

Be flexible to modify, improve, and change plans often.

Be open to new ideas.

Do not live today, based on what has been.

See now as becoming and preparing for what your future is.

Know where you are going, and live like that person who is there.

Cultivate a generous heart daily, giving to others in any way.

Reach …

Jesus Walking, Then and Now

As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen.  “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fishers of  people!”  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  Then the news about Him spread throughout Syria. So they brought to Him all those who were afflicted, those suffering from various diseases and intense pains, the demon-possessed, the epileptics, and the paralytics. And He healed them.  Large crowds followed Him from Galilee, Decap…

Loving Your Wife As Your Own Body

In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

-Ephesians 5:28

In Ephesians, Paul uses the metaphor of the body, to describe the church, and it's relationship to Christ.  Then Paul draws a parallel between Christ's and the church's relationship, with the husband and the wife's relationship.  As Christ loves his body, the church; husbands also love the their wives, as they love themselves.

There is a method of teaching "the husbands and wives passage" in Ephesians 5, where the teacher says, "this is for you, wives", or, "and now, this is for you, husbands".  Worse than that is to talk to the men, the husbands, about, "what those wives need to to", or to talk to the ladies about, "what those husbands need to do".  We end up blaming the other party for our lack of obedience.

"If she would just be submissive", men lament, or, "If he would be more …

Bad Moon Arising? Don't Give Up The Fight

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap,  because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.  So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
-Galatians 6:7-10 (HCSB)

Don't give up the fight.  The epitaph of every Christian's life, should be, "I have fought the good fight" (2 Tim. 4:7).  I could not find a verse that said, "don't give up the fight".  But, Galatians 6:9 comes the closest, with the phrase, "don't give up", or "do not give up".

The perseverance concept or way-of-life is common to the believer's life, referenced in the Bible.  Galatians 6:9 is one of the best verses that expresses this.  I grew up, h…