We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine


God get our attention

Probably the most painful and least desired ways that God gets our attention is through failure. After all, nobody likes to fail. However, this is often the best way for God to get through to us. Pride is something that can absolutely block your communication with God. It is one of the few things that Scripture clearly says the Lord hates (Proverbs 6:16-17; 8:13; 16:5). So, if there is pride in your life, God knows exactly what you need: a good dose of failure. And that is what happened to Israel in Joshua 7. The new nation had just won a mighty victory in Jericho and, as a result, had become rather prideful. Considering themselves invulnerable after taking such a powerful city, they allowed faithlessness and disobedience to creep into their attitudes. In arrogance, Israel ignored God’s battle plan for the little city of Ai–the soldiers were certain that they could take the small town on their own. But they were wrong. God denied them this victory, and the few men of Ai drove them back in a humiliating defeat. God had blessed Israel with a shocking victory over Jericho, but He now needed to get their attention in another way. And you can be sure that God still speaks to us through failure when it becomes necessary. If failure today can lead to great success tomorrow, isn’t the setback worth it? When unexpected failure occurs, be sure to check your response. Don’t just say, “Well, I blew it.” Instead, agree with God that “I messed up pretty badly,” But then ask, “Lord, what are You trying to tell me in this?” – Dr. Charles Stanley

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Malachi 2: 14-16 Unfaithfulness

In the book of Malachi, I saw something that I have never seen before. The text seems to suggest that in marriage, God’s Spirit creates a oneness that leads to godly offspring IF we as men remain faithful to our wives. Unfaithfulness brings violence and generational upheaval. Here’s the Did God not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking, Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless. So guard yourselves in your spirit. So many men today spend time building their bodies, the careers, and their hobbies; Paul in the NT writes that men ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. Can you imagine what our marriages would be like if we actually loved our wives as much as we enjoyed golf, or Monday night football, or fishing? What many men don’t realize is that the result of not loving their wives as much as they love themselves is their loss. Did you know that the average divorce cost around 30 thousand dollars? Did you know that in America, divorce is a 31 billion dollar per year business, resulting in 175 billion dollars in money spent virtually down the drain? Can you imagine what would happen to this economy if we just strengthened our marriages? The deficit would be erased and the budget balanced in just a few years! I can’t think of a better stimulus package!

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pyramid of greatness

I first learned about John Wooden during his years of basketball coaching, I think was UCLA he was one of the most successful coaches ever. But his influence went beyond coaching and everyone seemed to be asking him his secrets of success. Several years ago, he wrote a children’s book on character and I found that he was able to translate his world view for children. When someone can do this, you know that it is good for adults. His world view has now been written in the form of a pyramid. I think we will all benefit from reading and putting these foundation stones into practice. By the way, this is his 99th birthday

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Company of the Committed

This weekend I will be speaking in Western NY in Batavia and on Saturday, at Letchworth State Park. For me this is an opportunity to share God’s Word and redemptive hope to a people without a Savior. It is my hope that for my brothers and sisters in Christ it will be a time as Elton Trueblood writes: “The Company of Jesus is not people streaming to a shrine (or a new church building); and it is not people making up an audience for a speaker; it is laborers engaged in the harvesting task of reaching their perplexed and seeking brethren with something so vital that, if it is received, it will change their lives.”

Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

How have you been sleeping?

When we’re too preoccupied to hear God’s voice, He will often get our attention by giving us a restless spirit. The book of Esther gives us a wonderful example of this. In the sixth chapter, we see that King Xerxes “could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the king” (v. 1). As a result, Xerxes became aware of an assassination plot that had been foiled by a man named Mordecai. Filled with gratitude for this act of service, the ruler made plans to honor him. What Xerxes could not have known, though, is that this hero had been targeted by Haman, one of the royal advisors. Not only had Haman plotted to hang Mordecai the Jew (5:14); he was also planning to exterminate the entire Jewish population. As a result of the king’s intervention, however, Mordecai and all of the Jews were saved. Now, what started this process? It was a restless night. Xerxes did not know why he couldn’t sleep, but we know–the king had insomnia because God was trying to get his attention. The Lord had something important to say to Xerxes, and His way of getting through to him was an unpleasant night of sleeplessness. How often has this happened to you? You go about your career and activities restlessness seems to hang over you, often causing sleepless nights. In such moments, dare to bow and pray, “Lord, what is it You want to tell me?” You’ll discover that God can and will speak in your unrest. -Dr. Charles Stanley

Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stupidism

Marco Andreoli was 32 years old in 2002 when Italy’s Highest court ordered Marco’s father to pay Marco approximately $1000 per month until Marco found a job that, and I quote, “fit his aspirations.” What was this court thinking? And that is what Marco’s father asked after the decision. According to the British newspaper & The Guardian, “The judges said that a parent’s duty of maintenance did not expire when their children reached adulthood, but continued unchanged until they were able to prove either that their children had reached economic independence or had failed to do so through culpable inertia.” If that was me, my father would have given me inertia at the end of his boot. What was not reflected in the newspaper was that Marco’s son held a law degree, a house on a posh street in Naples, and a joint ownership of an investment fund worth more than $390,000. Yet, it was his father’s legal responsibility to fund his son’s lifestyle until he landed the perfect job! And you might ask, “How is this possible?” It starts with departure from a biblical world view. Who would have thought that even a year ago we would have an auto industry owned by the government, a bill for socialized health care, and the Ten Commandments bulldozed off public property? Whenever a nation departs from biblical truth for its governance, it opens the door to socialism, Marxism, Nazism, Communism, and just plain out stupidism. In the book of Isaiah we read: “My people go into exile for lack of knowledge… Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” A Biblical world view doesn’t come through osmosis…we need to be men and women of the Word…If you haven’t read Isaiah, I would highly recommend it.

Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 8 :1-11 Stooping Down

I was reading in John 8 this morning and found something I haven’t noticed before. It is the scene where a woman who is caught in the act of adultery is brought before Jesus asking if she should be stoned according to the Law of Moses. Jesus doesn’t respond at first but instead stoops down and writes in the sand with his finger. Frustrating the accusers, Jesus continues to write as he stoops while the woman is standing in their midst. Then, after her accusers force the issue, Jesus stands up and tells them that whoever is without sin; let him cast the first stone. Jesus then immediately stoops again and writes in the sand with his finger. Can you see what is happening? Can you see what Jesus is doing when he stoops down? What a Savior and protector! While the woman is standing in the midst of a hostile crown, Jesus distracts and deflects their attention off of her and on to him as he stoops lower than everyone who is standing. The accuser’s eyes would move away from the woman and down to the ground where Jesus was stooping. He stands only when he challenges and rebukes the crowd and once rebuked, he stoops once again, deflecting attention away from the woman and on to him in order to defend her! What a Savior! What wisdom, compassion, protection, and love all wrapped up into the simple action of stooping. I am beginning to see that even his smallest actions were speaking volumes and if we follow his life, our actions will also begin to speak louder than our words, especially when we deflect the anger and hostility of others on to the stooping Jesus who disarms our misguided hearts. And once disarmed, as was the case of those who were now dropping the stones, we can live to protect others rather than preserving our own self righteous crusades.

Published in: on October 10, 2009 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Basket of Flowers

I just listened to the Basket of Flowers radio drama and couldn’t stop the tears! This is the most life changing drama I have ever heard and a must listen for anyone who is wondering why God has not answered their prayers: http://www.lamplighterpublishing.com/basketofflowers.html

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Leviticus: Ebb and Flow

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Isaiah 30 In Quietness and Trust

I came across this interesting Scripture in Isaiah 30 today. It reminded me of our current cultural crisis. Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.” For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you were unwilling, No! We will flee upon horses” therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds” therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher, and your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous.

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm  Leave a Comment