RSS Feed

Tag Archives: faith

Make the Word the Foundation of Your Life

Posted on
Make the Word the Foundation of Your Life

We must understand how incredibly powerful the influence of the world around us is, how it shapes and molds our thinking. Every movie we watch, every newscast we listen to, every Facebook or Twitter post we read, all shape our thoughts and eventually mold our beliefs.

The world Noah lived in was so bad, the Bible says, his soul and mind were greatly disturbed by the things he saw and heard. Noah didn’t have the written Word like we do.

Our first thought on every issue of society ought to be, What does the Word say?

Five weak foundations you want to avoid building your life on:

  • Popular culture – There’s a tremendous amount of pressure today to conform to how everyone around us thinks (what is right or wrong).

Isaiah 5:20 says, “There are those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.”

You have to teach yourself to recognize the dysfunctional thinking of our society. The Bible, God’s Word, will help you know the difference!

  • Tradition – This is primarily found in religion devoid of true faith. Amish teach we are saved by our works (good outweighs bad).

Ephesians 2:8 says, “By grace we are saved, through faith. It is not by our works.”

  • Reason

Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

  • Feelings

Judges 21:25 says, “People did whatever they felt like doing.”

  • Intellect

1 Corinthians 1:21 says, “In the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom, did not know God.”

We have to make the Word of God the foundation of our life, and not base our beliefs on the influence of the world around us.

You can listen to the complete audio message here. 

 

Advertisements

Obey the Bible’s Instruction

Posted on
Obey the Bible’s Instruction

It’s easy to hear the Word. It’s not as easy to weave it into the everyday fabric of our life and thought. But, if you want to build your life on God’s Word then you must obey its instruction.

Jesus told a story about two men. Both had consistent exposure to the Word. Both heard the sermons and read the books. But only one put the truths he learned into practice in his everyday life.

One day the inevitable storms of life came to both men. The outcome was so different.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.[1]

The other man fell apart and GREAT was the fall of his house!

The Apostle James wrote about being not only a hearer of the Word but a doer of the Word.

We can’t just hear it. It’s vital that we DO IT!

Most scholars believe that James was one of the brothers of Jesus. James did not become a follower of his older brother, Jesus until after the resurrection when Jesus appeared to James in His resurrected body.  No doubt in the early years James heard the Word taught by Jesus many times. But he did not internalize the Word or put it into practice.

First, we must accept the authority of the Word, second, we must then begin to practice it, and third, we must learn to self-feed.

Don’t miss the next blog coming up in just a few days about the importance of learning to self-feed.

To listen to this entire message via podcast, click here.

[1] Matthew 7:24-25 NIV

 

The Bible Grows My Faith

Posted on
The Bible Grows My Faith

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

The Word stimulates my faith. So if I consistently access God’s Word, my faith level goes up. If I consistently neglect God’s Word my faith level goes down. It’s all so predictable!

So, how do we build our lives on God’s Word?

The first step is to accept its authority. Some people really struggle with the authority of scripture. They ask:

  • How can we know if the Bible is actually God’s Word?
  • How do we know that God really spoke to the writers of scripture?

If you can believe in Jesus, you can believe in the Word because Jesus IS THE WORD!

Paul gave assurance to Pastor Timothy that the Word of God is reliable.

You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.[1]

Paul commended the Thessalonians for accepting the validity of the Word: “We thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”[2]

Did you see that? The Word of God WORKS in those who believe!

If your life is going to be built on the Word of God, you must settle this issue. Do you accept the Bible as the Word of God? If you are struggling with this, take some time and pray about it today.

To listen to this entire message via podcast, click here.

 

[1] 2 Timothy 3:15-16 NLT

[2] 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV

 

God’s Word Confronts My Sin

Posted on
God’s Word Confronts My Sin

The Word of God is powerful and alive.

I’ll never forget the day when my daughter, Desirée called and said, “Daddy, God has called me to be an English Comp professor. Words are important Dad. Did you know that the world was created by words?”

Before there was a world, there was The Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.[1]

In your mind, never minimize the Word. In your heart, never take it for granted. In your day-to-day life, never dismiss it. God’s Word is powerful. It has life-changing energy.

The Word of God confronts my sin.

We don’t like to think about or even admit our sins, but the Bible has a wonderful way of confronting the sin in our life.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”[2]

I had a visitor in my first pastorate in DeKalb, Illinois who told me, “You were like a surgeon today. You carefully and tenderly cut my heart.”

I didn’t do it, the Word of God did it!

To listen to this entire message via podcast, click here.

 

[1] John 1:1-3 NIV

[2] Hebrews 4:12-13 NLT

It Is Written – A Life Built on God’s Word

Posted on
It Is Written – A Life Built on God’s Word

Imagine a soldier’s battlefield uniform as you read about the spiritual armor we have been given as believers in Ephesians 6.

So then, take your stand! Fasten truth around your waist like a belt. Put on God’s approval as your breastplate. Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace. In addition to all these, take the Christian faith as your shield. With it you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Also take salvation as your helmet and God’s word as the sword that the Spirit supplies.[1]

Christians who don’t build their life on the Word of God are like soldiers who go into battle without a gun! They can have the best body armor in the world, but if they don’t have a gun they can only hide from the enemy, they can never defeat him.

Our theme for the next series of blogs comes from the story of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness found in Luke 4 and Matthew 4.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days, he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”[2]

A Christian will only remain a Christian by staying connected to the Word of God. It’s really that simple.

I read an article published at the end of 2017 about Tony Campolo’s son Bart: “The Evangelical Who Stopped Believing.” Bart is now a rising star of atheism. There came a point in Bart’s life when the Word of God became unimportant to him. Doubt began to grow and his faith in God began to die.

Jesus said, “if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.”[3]

The Bible infuses us with strength and empowers us to fight the good fight of faith. Without it, we lose. We must stay connected to the Word of God.

To listen to this entire message via podcast, click here.

[1] Ephesians 6:14-17 GW

[2] Luke 4:1-4 NIV

[3] John 15:7-8 NLT

Anger Can Move You to Action

Posted on
Anger Can Move You to Action

When you look at the ministry of Jesus about the only people He ever got angry at were those who loved worship more than they loved man. The Pharisees were in that group. They loved their rules. They loved their worship. But they didn’t love people.

So, what did Jesus do at the beginning and at the end of His ministry? He thoroughly cleansed the temple (John 2). This story is borderline bazaar. The same man who said, “turn the other cheek” turned over tables. The same man who said, “Love your neighbor” physically drove the moneychangers out of the temple!

Jesus’ anger moved Him into action. And Jesus paid a dear price for it. This act of anger was a challenge to their authority. It so infuriated the Jews that it motivated them to begin planning His murder.

Sometimes godly anger will lead us to do what we would otherwise not do, it will lead us out of our comfort zone so we will FIGHT the good FIGHT.

In the “good fight” the shock value very often leads to change. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s peaceful protest stirred an entire nation into action and laws changed, hearts changed, and life got better for the powerless.

In this story, Jesus did something shocking to challenge God’s people and stir up their thinking. Jesus knew that three years from this Passover, He would become the Passover lamb slain for the sins of the whole world.

The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. He found those who were selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons in the temple courtyard. He also found moneychangers sitting there. 15 He made a whip from small ropes and threw everyone with their sheep and cattle out of the temple courtyard. He dumped the moneychangers’ coins and knocked over their tables.[1]

Jesus was very aware that He lived in a dangerous world. He needed to be smart, but He also knew He needed to speak up. So He did. The Old Testament Jewish form of worship involved bringing a living sacrifice to the house of worship; cattle, sheep, and pigeons. This was part of the worship but some had turned it into personal gain.

What was Jesus so offended by? Was it the fact they were bringing all those messy animals into the house of God and it would get dirty? No. Jesus was offended because these men were exploiting the guilt of the worshippers. They were profiting from it. That’s what angered Him!

It’s good for us to examine ourselves:

  • What motivates my anger? The true condition of our heart is exposed by the things that anger us.
  • Do I primarily get angry about the things that inconvenience my life, or am I angered by the injustice that the powerless experience?

The last night we were in Athens, Greece we saw a large group police in riot gear coming by. There were 2,000 protestors. Our guide said, “It’s a challenge but what are those poor people supposed to do? I would do anything for my family!”

There are so many thorny issues in every society. As followers of Christ we must examine every issue through the lens of biblical values, not just through our own personal opinion.

It’s really not so important how I feel about an issue. What’s most important is, how God feels about it?

  • How would God have me to think about this matter?
  • And what, if anything, does God want me to do about it?

[1] John 2:14 GW

Fear is a Spirit

Posted on
Fear is a Spirit

Fear is a spirit, but it’s not the right spirit. It’s not the Spirit of God.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God didn’t give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment.”[1] That same scripture in the New King James translation says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear.”

A spirit of cowardice keeps us from making good decisions. A spirit of cowardice keeps us from stepping into the fray of life. Here’s what I’ve come to learn.

God can ONLY use me to the degree that I can stand the heat.

And in my most difficult moments I grow the most!

Jesus experienced every human emotion and feeling that we will ever experience. In the Garden of Gethsemane He tasted the fullness of fear. Most of us don’t know when we are going to die, and it’s for sure that we don’t know how. But Jesus knew both. His entire life He was preparing for death, and what a painful death it would be—a crucifixion.

Jesus had to come to that place of accepting His death and walking into that moment.

  • He literally sweat great drops of blood/He could have died right there!
  • Angels came and ministered to Him!

When Jesus arose from prayer He was at complete peace. He walked with confidence towards His captors. They didn’t take His life. He laid it down. Through faith and trust in God we can get to the place where we can face death itself without fear. I’ve seen it many times, and it’s amazing!

Jesus had frequently been called the son of David. It was His father, David who wrote those amazing words; “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for YOU are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”[2]

Paul boldly called Timothy to lay down his fear. “So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord or be ashamed of me, his prisoner. Instead, by God’s power, join me in suffering for the sake of the Good News.”[3]

 

[1] GW

[2] Psalm 23:4

[3] 2 Timothy 1:8 GW

%d bloggers like this: