Archive for June, 2013

Yesterday was a tough day.

A family I love experienced something very discouraging.

I can’t go into any detail but I will ask you to do all you can to persuade people away from ungodly behavior.

Even if they say they don’t want to hear your thoughts, at least offer it them to the extent that you can so that you aren’t burdened with the guilt of wishing you’d spoken up before an explosion of consequences occurred.

Interestingly, the passage below was part of today’s One-Year Bible reading:

“Doing wrong leads to disgrace, and scandalous behavior brings contempt.” (Proverbs 18:3)

This passage was given by God to King Solomon as a warning to people claiming to have faith. It was, in effect, a warning to believers.

It still applies today.

When Satan’s lures appear tasty and so secret, PLEASE remember that they are poison intended to humiliate and destroy us AND wound and disgrace all those who love us.

Live like Jesus.

The alternative is just too costly.

As always, I love you

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From today’s reading in the One-Year Bible

“A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.
“Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent, with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”
(Proverbs 17:27-28)

Six words came to mind when I read this passage:

Talk less.
Say more.
‘Nuff said.

As always, I love you

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As Christians, we are called to be humble. We are called to be patient. And we are called to be forgiving.

But we are never called to be wimps.

Sometimes, the battle against darkness involves calling out others for the wrongs they’ve done – or are doing – to us.

The Apostle Paul’s and his helper Silas’ experience in Acts 16 is instructive in this way.

Paul and Silas were falsely accused by pagans who didn’t like losing the income from a fortune teller that had been exorcised of a demon by Paul.

The accusations, embraced by leaders of the city named Philippi, led to Paul and Silas being stripped and beaten severely and thrown into prison.

Paul and Silas were Roman citizens and such things were never to happen for citizens without a trial before Roman authorities.

That was a huge mistake by the city officials, one that – under the law – should have resulted in their being stripped and beaten and thrown into prison.

You’ll want to read the amazing story of Acts 16:11-40. It will strengthen your faith.

What you’ll also read in that story is the demand of Paul and Silas that the city officials come to them and make a public apology for their grievous error.

But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.” (vv. 37-39)

Was Paul failing to show Christian humility by making this request? Was Paul not being forgiving?

Of course not.

He was simply exercising his rights under the law.

And he was protecting the rights of other believers who were citizens who might have faced harrassing efforts by these same leaders in the future.

I’m sure that this episode left an impression of the impulsive city leaders who punished first and investigated later.

Listen, it is not wrong to demand your rights.

You might, for the sake of the Gospel, choose to lay your rights aside at times in order to demonstrate spiritual strength and a spirit of forgiveness.

But if you’re being harrassed at the job via illegal actions of the boss or other workers or if a business person makes an unjust decision that effectively steals money from you, stand your ground.

Seek wise advice. Protect your legal interests. Doing so is not a sin but actually might make it easier for your future service and for other believers who might face less hassle because you spoke up.

Bullies that face no push-back by people of integrity will just keep harrassing people, including believers.

As you’ve heard before, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

As always, I love you

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A number of things have the ability to lasso our eyes.

A baby smiling at us.

A tropical fish looking through the aquarium glass at us.

A shiny new car glistening in our driveway.

Our bride or husband on our wedding day.

The list goes on and on.

Of course, we all know that our eyes are also drawn to things that are off-limits in God’s sight.

Especially men who are typically more visually influenced than are women when it comes to seeking enjoyment.

I’m reminded of a stanza from the childhood song “Be Careful.”

Be careful, little eyes, what you see… Be careful, little eyes, what you see… for the Father up above, He is looking down in love, so be careful, little eyes, what you see.

What does God want our eyes fixed upon?

His wisdom, that’s what.

And His Son.

Consider these two passages:

“Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We know that Jesus was tempted in every way that you and I are tempted, and then a whole lot more ways.

How could He avoid sin?

Because His eyes belonged to His Father in heaven, that’s how.

He looked at things that God the Father would look at rather than letting His eyes “chase rabbits” of sinful pleasure and schemes for hurting others.

Let’s be like Jesus. Let’s seek to have the eyes of God.

As always, I love you

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God loves you so much.

In fact, He’s thinking about you all the time.

How can He do so for you and for me and for the people at your church and for the missionary serving on the other side of the earth and even for the the spiritual skeptic who hasn’t yet embraced Christ, I don’t know exactly other than to say, “He’s God, that’s how.”

I was reminded of this amazing love as I read from the One-Year Bible this morning.

Here is a sliver of the love described in Psalm 139:

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” (vv. 17-18)

When somebody says over the phone that they’ve been thinking about us lately, it’s encouraging.

If a random thought about us by a human makes us feel appreciated, then how much more should our hearts be stirred when the sovereign Creator of the Universe, the God of heaven, tells us that He thinks about us so many times that it can’t even be counted?

Listen, God believes that you’re VERY special even to the point of dedicating loads of his brain time to your life.

Please pursue godly living and service in the days ahead as a child who has the same peace and enthusiasm of a little kid who knows he or she has Daddy’s unconditional love for all the moments of his or her life.

You love seeing kids who know they’re loved. They smile a lot. Let’s show the world our smiling hearts.

As always, I love you

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The message is very clear in Psalm 138:6.

Vanity is our enemy.

Humility is our friend.

And life has proven to us that we need all the friends we can get.

Here’s the psalmist’s take on God’s will in this regard:

“Though the Lord is great, He cares for the humble, but He keeps His distance from the proud.”

Proud people think and act as if they don’t need God.

“I got this,” is the prevailing attitude when the opportunity comes to the choice of shining the spotlight on themselves or upon others.

We can tell when somebody thinks he or she is better than us, doesn’t want our help and doesn’t want us around.

God can, too.

Please, join me in the prayer for humility and clear vision as to the undeniable inadequacies that we all possess, shortfalls that should remind us to run to the One whose grace and wisdom and strength can lift and lead us to a better place.

I want to be with God. And so I want to be more humble.

I hope you do, too.

As always, I love you

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It’s a tragic thing when a person exchanges a heritage of faith for a wad of “here today, gone tomorrow” cash.

How does this happen? Here are a few examples:

  • Rampant missing of church in order to make money.
  • Destroying a personal testimony via unethical actions that boost sales or job promotion prospects but corrupt faith.
  • Refusal to show compassionate generosity to people in need, particularly family members or close friends.

These sorts of behaviors are bad enough by themselves but when they are witnessed by children, the offenses are made worse.


Because they show that wealth is more important than faith.

No caring parent would offer his or her child an arsenic pill.

But when we act as if money is more important than God, are we not doing something far worse? Something that could lead to destruction of our child’s soul?

No matter what money we “leave on the table” by protecting our heritage of faith, it’s not worth destroying our testimony in the eyes of our kids and other impressionable people.

We are to be seen as role models for Matthew 6:33, seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and trusting God to provide what we need for living.

Why this topic today?

Today’s daily Bible reading included the I Kings 21 story of evil Israelite King Ahab wanting the land of a farmer named Naboth. Ahab offered to buy the land that he wanted for a vegetable garden.

Naboth said “No” to the sale, saying that the land was his ancestral inheritance from the days the Hebrews entered the Promised Land. There was no way he was giving the land up for money. Such would show that he cared more for himself than for his descendants.

Heritage comes first, Naboth told the king.

Ahab ended up with the plot, however, because Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, had Naboth murdered.

Naboth’s descendants lost the land and their father/grandfather/etc…., but they were given a heritage of testimony that is still impressive nearly 3,000 years later.

Let’s embrace Naboth’s commitment to a heritage of faith, no matter what carrots of cash or vanity or lust the world might wave in front of our noses.

In 100 years, our descendants would much rather have a heritage of faithfulness from us than they would the minimal — if any — remnants of wealth left after generations of taxes and possibly poor spending decisions.

As always, I love you

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