Are You Open to Correction?

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1

A friend of mine went to his wife and asked for feedback. The next day, I asked him how it went, and he said to me, “I don’t expect she’ll ever give me feedback again.” When she said what she thought, he got angry and defensive, even though he had asked for her opinion.

How do we fare with criticism? Do we listen when we get feedback? Or do we recoil when a friend offers a gentle suggestion, a thoughtful correction, or a blunt critique? Continue reading

The Test of Shame

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” Matthew 11:2-6 (NASB) 

Do you remember the first time that someone ridiculed you for your faith? How did it feel? The Test of Shame is one that comes upon all professing Christians. This test is designed to separate the genuine from the disingenuous…. Continue reading

God is Holy and His Purpose For Us is that We Walk in Holiness

8 A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. 9 No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, 10 And the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:8-10 (NASB) 

Read 1 John 1:5 on the site.

God is holy and immutable. There is not now nor has there ever been nor will there ever be any darkness in Him. He is eternally holy. In James 1:17 we read that with God, there is no variation or shadow due to change…. Continue reading

Invitation to Come to Jesus

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:35-37 (NASB) 

In the last post, Clip the Wings of Wisdom, we looked at how human reason, which is worldly wisdom, is useless for anyone to rely on in order to be saved. We saw where our salvation is a work by all three persons in the Holy Trinity. God the Father chose his people before the foundation of the world…. Continue reading

Clip the Wings of Wisdom

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NASB) 

I worked for many years as a computer programmer. There are many developers who are team guys who are not very creative, but their proficiency at coding makes them very useful in working on very large applications where the work is divided up along functional lines…. Continue reading

Good Works vs. Works Righteousness

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38 (NASB) 

When I was a young man and even prior to that when I was a teenager, I was quite religious. I went to church with my family and tried to emulate what I saw my parents do in their devotion…. Continue reading

Christ is the Foundation Stone

42 Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” Matthew 21:42-44 (NASB) 

The message to the Christian throughout the New Testament is to deny self, to view with contempt the temporal or world system, to understand that love of the temporal and genuine discipleship are mutually exclusive because it is from the former which all genuine believers are being delivered…. Continue reading

Truth in a World of Lies

28 And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips. Jeremiah 7:28

Fifteen to twenty years ago, media ecologists were noticing how the increase in dialogue on the telephone meant that certain nonverbal aspects of communication were omitted. This trend has accelerated in our day, leaving us with essentially two broad mediums of communication: virtual (through a keyboard) and direct (through audible speech, body language, etc.)…. Continue reading

A Prison for Our Souls

27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. Matthew 18:27

William fought with his wife, Natalie. They took all afternoon to resolve the issue. But Natalie held a grudge. She was hurt, and she didn’t forgive him. She knew she needed to, but she didn’t. Bitterness trapped her heart.

Jill got into a disagreement with a coworker, Amber. Though it seemed to be a minor issue, neither woman would budge. Their boss settled the matter, but Jill resented Amber. Continue reading

Rejoicing in God in the Arena of Pain

Now, suppose I’m afflicted with suffering. Why? Why am I afflicted? There could be several reasons. It may be that God needs to correct me and that it is part of His corrective wrath to make me sick or to bring me low. He does that. There are manifold examples of that in Scripture. How did Miriam get leprosy? God gave her leprosy to bring her to repentance. What is Jesus saying here? “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Sometimes the suffering that we have in this world is because God is correcting us or disciplining us, but we can’t jump to the conclusion that every time we get sick or every time we suffer that there’s a direct correlation between our disobedience and the pain that we’re experiencing. Continue reading

Finding God

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”  John 14:23-24

We have all heard evangelists quote from Revelation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). Usually the evangelist applies this text as an appeal to the unconverted, saying: “Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart…. Continue reading

Coping with Anxiety

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25

In 1 Peter 5:6–7, the Apostle Peter wrote to the Christians spread across the Roman Empire who were suffering persecution from the unbelieving Jews and gentiles: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” In this passage, Peter shows in what way his readers were to face the anxiety they were feeling in this situation: they were to cast their anxiety upon God…. Continue reading

Anxiety, Coronavirus, and the Promises of God

Knowing very well that the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is on everyone’s mind, I thought I’d share a short devotion encouraging us to trust in God’s faithfulness and promises. In the face of danger, we need to be prudent and wise, but also need to be careful our heart is not held in bondage to fear. It’s not always an easy balance to maintain, but meditating on the promises of God brings inner peace in the face of external pressures.

The promises of God are like concrete pylons driven deep into the ocean floor…. Continue reading

Koinōnia

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42 (NASB) 

Most of the churches I attended in my life had something called “fellowship” and some even had  space dedicated to it called “fellowship hall” or something similar. We had time after “church” that was called “fellowship time” that always seemed to be a relaxed time of visiting together and just being friendly with each other outside of normal “church stuff.” In the New Testament the word that is translated as “fellowship” as in Acts 2:42 (above) is κοινωνίᾳ (koinōnia), which Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest defined as, “joint participation in a common interest or activity.”… Continue reading

Antichrists

1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 1 Timothy 4:1 (NASB) 

According to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 15 the mark of Christian authenticity is abiding or remaining in Him. This is not simply a continual profession of faith, but a remaining faithful to Christ in our orthodox Christian faith. According to Paul, this falling away is a two-fold action of departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. The Apostle John called the Christian leaders who do this antichrists. Continue reading

The Beatitudes, the Essence of a Genuine Disciple

3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:3-13 (NASB)  Read verses 9-13 on the site.

Back in the mid-1980’s, about 18 months after God saved me, I heard a wonderful lesson at a men’s retreat on Matthew 5:1-12. My Bible knowledge at that time was spotty. I had heard of The Beatitudes, but really hadn’t studied them…. Continue reading

Obedience

22 Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices. As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB) 

When my son was about 5 years old we had a Revival team visit our church in Tulsa for about three weeks. Each evening the adults would go to the auditorium while all of the children were in the gym or class rooms…. Continue reading

The Children of God

11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:11-19 (NASB)   Read 1 John 2:28-29 

We will focus on in 1 John 2:28-29 through 1 John 3:1-3. This section of 1 John follows a section of chapter 2, v24-27, that is focused on a call for Christians to let truth abide in them in order to discern what is truth and what is false and deceiving in this world…. Continue reading

The Unfruitful Works of Darkness vs the Fruit of Light

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. Ephesians 5:6-12 (NASB) 

In the passage above is the the word “fruit.” It is a translation of the Greek word καρπὸς (karpos). This word appears some sixty-six times in the New Testament. In most cases, it is used in reference to the the fruit of plants as in Matthew 21:19 or the produce of the earth (James 5:7, 18)…. Continue reading

How Can We Know If We Are Elect?

1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:1-11 (NASB)  Read verses 4-11 on the site.

After God dragged me from my former Arminian doctrinal beliefs into the truth of Reformed Theology, my assurance of my salvation did not suffer at all. In fact, it deepened as the profundity of our salvation by grace and justification by faith became apparent to me…. Continue reading

What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

The exhortation to “abide” has been frequently misunderstood, as though it were a special, mystical, and indefinable experience. But Jesus makes clear that it actually involves a number of concrete realities.

First, union with our Lord depends on His grace. Of course we are actively and personally united to Christ by faith (John 14:12)…. Continue reading

Heirs with Christ

12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:12-14 (NA

If you are anything like me, looking closely at your walk before the Lord, the concept that sinful believers who vacillate between godliness and carnality with deliverance from those sins not in any way certain, then the concept that we are heirs with Christ is hard to grasp…. Continue reading

Wherefore By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Matthew 7:15-23 KJV) (Read verses 20-23 on the site)

This post was born from a discussion I had today with someone on Facebook about how to tell a genuine Christian from someone who is false. This is an important consideration because many of us lived marginal Christian lives for long periods of time. These horrid times away from the center of God’s will were torturous for some while others seemed not affected at all…. Continue reading

Contend Earnestly For the Faith

3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4 (NASB) 

The Epistle of Jude is generally attributed to the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ. In v3 we learn that his original intent was to write an epistle on salvation to his recipients. However, he was compelled to write a call to battle for the truth instead. Why?… Continue reading

Christ came to fulfill the Law

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.  5 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. 6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” Romans 10:4-9 (NASB) Read verses 8-9 on the site.

I grew up as a Southern Baptist in Oklahoma. Even before I was saved in 1986 I had heard from teachers and preachers that Christians are under a dispensation of Grace while Old Testament believers were under a dispensation of the Law…. Continue reading