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Showing posts from February, 2021

Thoughts on Correcting Others

  ·      I will walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7). ·      I will forgive others as God has forgiven me in Christ (Ephesians 4:32). ·      I will only judge others if I have taken the splinter out of my own eye first (Matthew 7:1-5). ·      I will correct him only if I am spiritual and gentle (Galatians 6:1). If I feel like correcting him, I am probably neither. ·      I will correct another with the intention of restoring him or her to close fellowship with God. I will do it in a biblical manner (Matthew 18:15, 35). ·      I recognize that there is a difference between those who are forgiven and those who are qualified to be teachers. ·      I will not talk about the life of a fellow believer unless his life is a positive testimony to God’s saving grace. If there is a negative rumor, I will check with the person himself. If a believer is a public figure and there is a rumor of moral impropriety about his life, that rumor should be brought to his attention. He shoul

Keeping Confidences

  “I can keep a confidence. It’s the people I tell it to who can't."  - Unknown I hardly ever promise to keep a confidence before I hear the story. I may promise to keep one after I hear the story, and I do keep the confidence. I determine which ones I keep, not the person who shares it with me. This lack of promise is not the same as gossip, although it could be gossip. We are required to speak to the assembled believers if someone is unrepentant. The assembled believers are to take action on the unrepentant believer (Matthew 18). If I promise to keep the information secret, I might hobble myself so that I cannot obey God and tell the church. Many years ago, a professional person came to see me. I did not know him, although I knew of him. He wished to tell me something awful about a friend we had in common, but first he wanted me to promise to keep it confidential. I told him that I did not make those kinds of promises. He was astounded. Wasn’t I a minister of the gosp

The Sin of Listening to Gossip

"They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:29-32).   I wish to draw attention to just one of these awful sins—gossip. Paul lists it with murder, slander, deceit, and malice, among other great evils. It is part of the complete depravity and dissolution which man falls into as the result of refusing to glorify God: "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God , he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done" (Romans 1:28). What does Scrip

Like Grasping the Pacific Ocean

  "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 1:14). Paul was a man of great wisdom and knowledge, but he played it down. In fact, he wrote it off: " Knowledge puffs up but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God' (1 Corinthians 8:1-3).   It almost looks like knowledge is the opposite of love. If it were, we would have to stay ignorant in order to be loving. Having knowledge is a temptation. Being puffed up is the sin. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. He is in sin.  "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.' Where is the wise man? Where is the sc

Whole-Hearted Devotion

1 Chronicles 28 records David’s charge to his son Solomon. It is great! “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with whole hearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts . If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” Notice that the reason for whole-hearted devotion is that “the Lord searches every heart” and the reason for a willing mind is that “the Lord understands every motive behind the thoughts.” This post coordinates with today's reading in the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge . If you are not in a daily reading plan, please join us. We would love to have you reading with us.

Humanism vs. Christianity

  The Bible is not a book that humanists can adjust to. It is too extreme. The humanist wants to be good now and then and here and there. His is the religion of random acts of kindness. The Christian must be kind to everyone (1 Timothy 2:24). Humanists worry that people might have low self-esteem. The Bible says, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" (Romans 12:3). "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2). Unfortunately, many Christians prefer the humanist approach to the biblical standard. They judge Scripture in the light of our humanistic society. It is easier than judging society in the light of Scripture. Are the people doing this not Christians? That would be a reasonable conclusion, except that these humanistic voices are coming from mainstream evangelicalism. Television, maga

Cleaning Up vs. Confession: What's the Difference?

  A euphemism is a pretend synonym. It puts a good face on a bad-sounding word. It indicates the same act, practice, or exclamation but does it in such a way that the thing it signifies does not sound bad. In fact, it might even sound good or at least innocent. Here are a few examples: ·        adultery—affair ·        homosexuality—gay ·        Jesus—Geez ·        taking the Lord’s name in vain—doggone it ·        damn it—darn it, dang it  Some people think it is a virtue to soften words like adultery and homosexuality. They think it sort of cleans up the dirt. This kind of treatment does not succeed; it only has the appearance of being clean. Why? God cleanses those things which are confessed as sin. Cleaning up the words is not confession, and therefore the sin is not forgiven. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) God does not forgive mistakes. With love we can say to those

Obedient Mouths

  "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving" (Ephesians 5:1-5). Our speech should not contain obscenities, foolish talk, or coarse joking. The Bible commands us to avoid these things without defining them. The Apostle Paul assumed the Ephesians would know what he was talking about. Obscene and filthy words are not in most dictionaries, but we understand what they are. People use obscene language, not because they do not know it is filthy, but because they do know. There is a certain delight in the use of something vulgar and unclean. Some people like to quibble about defini

Our Tongues as Messengers

  "But what does it say? 'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved" (Romans 10:8-10). Romans 10 records the two greatest uses of the tongue. The first is confessing Jesus Christ and calling upon Him. It is our “part” in salvation: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13). The second great use of the tongue is preaching Jesus Christ: "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How bea

Voluntary Famine

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it’” (Amos 8:11-12). I have no idea whether this prophecy has ever been fulfilled in any specific sense, i.e., a particular time and place in history. It may have been fulfilled fifty years after Amos when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed. The Southern Kingdom had two revivals, both related to reading the Scriptures. One under Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:14-33), and the other under Ezra (Nehemiah 8). The famine today is not in the unavailability of Scripture. In Josiah’s day, there was only one copy of God’s Word, and it had not been looked at for several generations. We have the Scriptures, and we do not read them daily. There is spiritual decay in the land. This

Wisdom & Folly

  “'Let all who are simple come in here!' she says to those who lack judgment" (Proverbs 9:4, 9:16). This quotation is from two different women, Wisdom and Folly. They say it from the same place, “the highest point in the city” (9:3, 14), and they say it to the same people, “those who lack judgment.” The difference is that Wisdom offers food, wine, and life, but openly asks for repentance (9:5-6). Folly offers a lie which she presents as a free gift: “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” (9:17). Wisdom gives life. Folly offers immediate benefits, which are “sweet” and “delicious”…  " But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave" (Proverbs 9:18). *Excerpted from Being Christian . To purchase, visit .  This post coordinates with today's reading in the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge . If you are not in a daily reading plan, please join us. We would love to h

The Overflow of the Heart

  In my ninety-three years of life I have heard many dirty words. There were places I expected to hear them, like when I was working in the Omaha stockyards as a teenager and in the U.S. Navy as an enlisted man. My memory focuses on the unexpected times I heard them. They came from the mouths of a four-year-old boy, a woman, boy scouts in the scout clubhouse, midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, and a cousin of mine when we were pheasant hunting as teenagers. All of these shocks happened before I was a Christian. I was idealistic. To me, women did not talk that way, boy scouts were clean, four-year-olds were innocent, midshipmen were the all-American boys, and cousins were part of my family where words like that were not used. Early in my Christian life, my eyes were opened. I came to realize that my heart and the hearts of boy scouts, midshipmen, four-year-olds, women, and my family all started out overflowing with evil. Jesus gave an explanation of why people are this way: &quo