Monday, December 25, 2017

Of the Line of David

God unfolded His great rescue mission through promises.  He made an unconditional promise to Abraham, promising him Land (the Holy Land), Seed (the promised Savior), and Blessing (for his descendants and for the entire world).  God foretold that this seed promise, which began in Genesis 3:15 with the prophecy of “the seed of the woman” would finally come to bear in the tribe of Judah.  King David receives more information as God’s chosen line through which He would bring the Messiah.  God made more unconditional promises to David – that HE would build David’s house.  He promised that one from His line would reign forever.  God showed his faithfulness to this promise when he brought Jesus through the Davidic line both by his birth parent (Mary) and his adoptive Father (Joseph) both of whom were in the line of David.  Jesus fulfilled the first coming promises made to David, and there can be no mistake that He will also fulfill the promise of the Messiah’s coming, literal reign upon the earth.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Everything that you Need!

Peter opens his second letter by writing:

2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing 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 1:2-3 NASB

God’s divine power is the ability that is uniquely his as the God of the universe.
He exercised this power to grant us something…

 “granted” here translates the Greek word doreomai which means “to give or to bestow.”  It is here in the perfect tense – meaning it was given in the past with ongoing effects into the present – this gift is already in your possession.

What is given? – “Everything that is needed for life and godliness…” 

That is correct- you have everything needed to live an abundant life.  This provision is through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  The word “knowledge” here translates the Greek word “epignosis” which is intimate, full, integrated knowledge…like the way you know your best friend or closest family member.  God has given you all that you need to live for Him in His perfect personal provision for you in Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Peace is an Umpire

Paul gives believers important advice in Colossians 3:15, writing:

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts…

“Let” here does not mean that this is optional – this is what the Holy Spirit wants for every believer.  Peace translates the Greek word: irene.  In the Bible, peace does not mean a simple absence of conflict, but a wholeness – a fullness –a total lack of want or need.  The total sufficiency of God is to “rule” in our hearts – which is our whole mental, emotional and volitional inner self – is what is in view here.

The word “rule” here translates the Greek “ βραβεύω “ which means to rule as a judge, or even as an umpire calls a game.  As we go through our time on this planet we will do best by submitting our thoughts, our feelings and our will totally to the absolute sufficiency of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Only Way

In John 14:6 Jesus makes a statement, saying:

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Each of the three essence claims is preceded by the definite article – the word “the”
In Greek, as in English, the definite article denotes specificity, and In cases such as this – exclusivity.

Jesus is making the specific and exclusive claim to be the only way, the only truth, and the only life.

      Jesus Doesn’t show the way…He IS the way
      Jesus Doesn’t know the Truth…He IS the truth
      Jesus Doesn’t have the life…He IS the life

This verse closes with Jesus’ claim to be the only access point to God the Father.  Jesus is not just a good teacher to heed and obey…

He is the Savior, Whom we can know personally through faith in His sacrifice for us.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Branch Abides

In John 15, Jesus takes up a powerful metaphor – making the claim that HE is the true vine.  In this word picture, Jesus identifies Himself as the source of spiritual life and blessing.

He identifies His followers as the branches and gives us a command: To Abide in Him.

“Abide” translates the Greek word MENO and means: to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy…

While the idea of staying put seems passive in nature it is here an active command.  Believers are to be actively remaining or abiding, in Christ.  The most important thing in the life of any branch is clinging to the life-giving vine, so believers in Jesus Christ are to be actively clinging to Him as our continual source of spiritual life.

Abiding – not human effort – is the source of true spiritual growth and productivity – as Christ would say in verse 5:

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ephesians 2:1-10
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 
in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In Ephesians chapter 2 we see something critical about our salvation.  Verses 1-3 describe fallen humanity’s place before God as being: “Dead in Trespasses and sins.” 
We lived our lives according to three basic authorities:

 - the world system
 - The Power of the Devil,
 - And, The Sin Nature

This passage sums up our state saying: “we were by nature children of wrath.”
The words “But God” in verse 4 turn the corner.
         We learn about God’s possessions:  He has a wealth of mercy
         We learn His motivation: love
         Finally, We learn God’s method: He spiritually brought us “together with” Jesus Christ.

These three “together” statements are of special importance to every believer.

When Jesus was raised from the dead – So were you.
When Jesus was ascended to heaven - So were you.
And now that Jesus is seated in Heaven  - So are you.

We will spend all eternity growing in understanding and amazement of His grace and goodness towards us in Christ.  And that process doesn’t start later…it started the minute you trusted in Jesus.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Good Health!

In Titus 2:1 Paul is giving Titus instructions for establishing and encouraging churches.  He writes:

"But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine…"

Titus is told to teach them verbally (Speak to them), and the content is to be what is proper for sound doctrine.  The word translated “sound” translates the Greek word:

ὑγιαίνω (hygiano)

and is where we get our English word Hygiene – which we use to talk about cleanliness.
Hugiano, however, means “to be in good health”.  What we believe, teach and say is very important.  Those things in keeping with the word of God will bring spiritual health and vitality to those who hear.  By contrast, those things which are not in keeping with the truth of God’s word will bring spiritual malady upon the one who receives it.  Put another way, our words can be healthy, delicious spiritual fruits and veggies or spiritual cyanide.

As we consider the things that we say today we might ask ourselves – “Will saying this encourage others to good health in Christ?”

Monday, September 11, 2017

God's Best Creation

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Proverbs 31:28-29

Oh, the blessed wife.  It is no mystery that the Proverbs so regularly defend marital fidelity and highlight the endless importance of the wife and the mother.  These are two of the most important and central offices in all of God’s created order.  While many in the modern culture will downplay the importance of the natural offices of a woman by suggesting that the only way a woman can be valuable is if she is fulfilling the natural offices given to men, the Bible will have none of that non-sense.  No person has more power to change the world than the woman who loves her husband and children with the Lord’s amazing love.  No accomplishment can be said to be greater and more important than to have raised up children who know the Lord.  No greater compliment can be given than that a person accurately lived out the love that is found between Jesus Christ and His church within their very marriage.  The sweetest praise of anyone will not be the praises of the masses, but of the very family which she loved taught and nurtured by God’s amazing and gracious provision.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tried, Tested, and Trustworthy

Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Do not add to His words
Or he will reprove you,
And you will be proved a liar.
Proverbs 30:5-6

My heart was beating so hard it was almost shaking my limbs.  It may have…had they not already been shaking from the fear.  Looking down from the makeshift rope bridge to the rocky canyon below was enough to drive every other thought out of my mind.  The only real comfort to be found was that there were many others who had crossed this shaky bridge before me.  It is easy to forget how many saints have gone before us.  How many people have lived full and amazing lives of submission to the Lord hand His word.  This is not some untested, new path on a road to nowhere.  Living in accordance with God’s word is walking a time-tested path.  Submitting our thoughts to God’s thoughts and our ways to His ways is not a 50-50 split.  It is a sure thing – and that fact is born witness by generations of well-known and unknown faithful men and women who placed their trust in the Lord’s ways and wisdom and walked that faith out day by day.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hasty Mistakes

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 29:20

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given came from a lovely lady named Gail Grimstone through my father.  “Never make a decision until you have to.”  While there may be some truth to the general idea that “He who hesitates has lost” my problem is more frequently the latter.  The snap judgment is the enemy of wisdom.  It is interesting that we often portray our “wise men” culturally as listening, taking long pauses, and responding thoughtfully and intentionally.  Our desire to get our opinion out there is rarely a wise.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Temper, Temper

A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back.
Proverbs 29:11

There is an important biblical distinction between anger and “losing one’s temper.”  Just as there is a distinction between desire and lust.  In both cases the transition comes when the feeling moves from being present to one that controls our behavior.  Jesus himself grew angry at multiple points in his ministry, but that anger never cause Him to sin.  Things like anger and extreme desire are natural acceptable feelings for humanity.  When those become the driving influences on our thoughts, words and behaviors then we have a large problem.  It is at this point that we begin to act as the fool – the practical atheist – the one who seeks to be God of our own lives.  Wisdom, on the other hand, can consider the reality that our feelings are only a part of the equation of how we ought to behave.  A wise person is not lead by those strong emotions but by the Spirit of God within him – and thus has that much less to apologize for later.

Monday, August 14, 2017

How's your Heart?

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.
Proverbs 28:26

This is an uncomfortable message. The world system is constantly at odds with the truth of the word of God, and this is an example.  The world puts forth hundreds of books, plays, essays, and movies about the person who “follows their heart.”  Heart, in this context, is a word that encompasses a person’s thoughts, will and emotions.  While the heart may be the best guide for the unbeliever, those who know the Lord have a far greater standard by which to walk.  We know that, as Jeremiah wrote: "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Far better than our own perception and intuition the believer has the privilege of walking by the Word of God, which is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105) as illumined by the forever indwelling Holy Spirit of God.  We can heartily praise the Lord that we have so much more wisdom by which to walk than just our own thoughts, emotions and perceptions – we have His Light by which we may walk.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Pleasures of Staying Sharp

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Hearing the clang and zing of two iron implements being rubbed together is a sort of conflict.  If the there was no friction between the two, the process would be doing very little for the sharpening of the blade.  This proverb is more than just a warning to have friends about – it is an injunction upon every believer to have people around who lovingly and faithfully challenge you.  There are ways that we can safeguard ourselves from all but the slightest levels of conflict and opposition to out viewpoints.  Even if our viewpoints and attitudes are totally correct (an incredible unlikelihood) surrounding ourselves with no one to challenge us to think critically and question makes us as useless as a dull blade in battle.   

Monday, July 31, 2017

Loving Wounds, Kisses that Kill

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 27:6

Who could forget the kiss with which Judas betrayed the Lord?  It was the final act in a long relationship of an unfaithful heart.  There are many questions that we have about the life of Judas, but there is no question that there was definite cruelty in the kiss with which the disciple betrayed the Master.  In contrast to this we could think of the wounding of Peter’s betrayal in the temple courtyard – where he denied even knowing Jesus (John 18:15-18).  While that failure was dealt with when Peter saw Jesus on the beach the faithful wounding of a friend was given by Jesus.  As Jesus repeatedly asks Peter if he loves Jesus more than these three times Peter is grieved.  At that moment Peter was restored, having faced his own shortcoming as a blustery big talker this faithful wound was critical in transforming Peter from a big talker into a pillar of the early church.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Eight-Legged Pride

Let another man praise you,
And not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.
Proverbs 27:2

In his classic work The Metamorphosis, Ovid tells the story of Arachne.  This mythical tale concerns a woman who believes she is go good at weaving that she boasts herself to be even better than the goddess Athena.  This arrogance ultimately ends in Arachne being turned into a spider and made to weave for the rest of her days (along with all or her creepy offspring).  It is absolutely amazing how infrequently a person needs to tell others how good they are at something.  It is amazing because that does not stop people from taking the opportunity to tell others how good they think they are at something.  Interestingly arrogance is becoming an absolute cultural ethic!  If the story of Arachne were to be made a fresh today it would surely be a story of how Arachne boasted and then finally defeated Athena – yet the old wisdom is the best.  A person can render a wonderful talent, beauty or ability utterly worthless with just a touch of arrogance.  Yet, interestingly, no assessment needs to be made of one’s own abilities to continue to strive to improve and appreciate them.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"JK! I'm Crazy!"

Like a madman who throws fire brands, arrows and death,
Is the man who deceives his neighbor
And says, “I was only joking!”
Proverbs 26:18-19

Having a truly crazy person is a great liability.  A person who fully and completely lacks all sense of sanity becomes a danger to himself and others in very short order.  That person may become even more dangerous should he be supplied with weapons.  Imagine going into battle with a person who is meant to be on your side, only to find that person firing indiscriminately and taking out his own men.  This is the image which the Bible uses to explain a person who lies for a joke.  C.S. Lewis pointed out in the Screwtape Letters what a marvelous tool this is on the part of the Satanic influence upon earth.  A person can be cruel, a person can be selfish, a person can be dishonest but if it is framed as a joke it is supposed to be just fine.  There is a great place for humor, but there is also a way to use humor as a weapon of destruction.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Slave to Everything

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down without walls.
Proverbs 25:28

Modern psychology has been baffled by anger.  There was a thought that anger had to be expressed…that once it was out it wouldn’t be “in” any more.  But this proved not to be the case.  The people who express the most anger seem to have more anger to express!  It turns out that a person who is controlled by their feelings is more likely to do something that is deeply unwise.  Furthermore, our feelings are rarely indicative of the truth.  As an example, how many times have the words “I hate you!” and “I love you!” been spoken and been absolutely lies except for that the person “felt that way” at a certain time.  Emotions are, of course, a vital part of what God made us to be as humans.  They are NOT, however, to be the governing force in our thoughts, behaviors attitudes and actions.  That leaves us as vulnerable as a city without walls to a world that would use our very own emotions to control and destroy us.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Good Boundaries

Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house,
Lest he become weary of you and hate you.
Proverbs 25:17

I grew up in the great days of the 80’s and 90’s sitcoms.  In Full House Kimmie Gibbler was the example of this proverb.  In Family Matters it was Steve Urkel.  This is the person that would be a bit of an oddball if they showed up in the house occasionally.  The may even have been endearing, but because they showed up every single episode for a good portion of the time they “wore out their welcome” and became the butt of most of the jokes.  In the context of a sitcom this is funny.  It is funny because one of the main characters is usually deeply bothered by this person, but it is also funny because their violation of this simple principle causes the audience to think that there is almost no end to the abuse that can be heaped upon that person.  There are, of course, those special relationships in life that really are “closer than a brother” as Solomon put it.  Most of the time, however, we must be very careful not to insert ourselves into other people homes or even their private space.  Just as a relationship can die because by in attention a relationship can be killed by smothering as well.  And like everything in life – a relationship needs space to breath.  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Golden Words

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
In settings of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

The ability to say the right word at the right time is a special skill.  We may think of those perfectly timed and beautifully put speeches of history.  Speeches like the Gettysburg Address and the “I have a Dream Speech” still ring in the ears as relevant and full of impact to this very moment.   On more personal occasions, we know the power of a person who gives the right word of encouragement, tenderness or a rebuke at just the right moment.  Scripture tells that these moments are not magical moments of coincidence – they are the result of being steeped in God’s word and attentive to the situation which is before us.  Being attentive, patient, and filled with God’s word will give us the opportunity to speak words which outweigh precious metals in their value.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rock and Roll and Right Choices

Prepare your outside work,
Make it fit for yourself in the field;
And afterwards build your house.
Proverbs 24:27

Many stories are told of Jimi Hendrix, the great rock and roll guitarist of the sixties.  One of the stories that goes around is that he would occasionally pawn his guitar to satisfy some immediate desire.  This meant that whoever was trying to get him to the next show would often have to find out where his guitar was pawned and redeem it for him before he could play another gig.  It seems strange because the guitar was Jimi’s major source of income.  It seems that you would want to pawn absolutely ANYTHING before choosing to pawn the one thing that was likely to bring you the income needed to redeem what you pawned.  This is the purpose of this parable.  The “outside work” in this case would be attending to that which will provide for your needs and generate income.  The next step after that is to build and prepare your house.  This simple choice to keep things in order will keep life balanced between income and expense.  Or as Charles Dickens put it in his wonderful book David Copperfield: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Book: Why am I Still Here?

This book is a new look at the issues faced by the elderly, the disabled, and the infirmed..  It is a resource to any and all who may be facing a new phase of ministry with any set of physical limitations. This book is also designed to be a guide to anyone who has someone in their life who faces these types of challenges.  

If you are interested in this book you can find it at in both print and Kindle editions.  You may also write to request a copy in another format.

Click here to go to the page at Amazon.

It is my prayer that this book would encourage the Lord's most mighty and tried warriors to be encouraged and to be more highly esteemed by the body of Christ.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Of Wine and Idolatry

Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
Proverbs 23:31-32

While the choice to drink alcohol is an area of liberty in Scripture there is no question at all that drunkenness is outside of God’s will for mankind.  There is an interesting feature in the process of addiction wherein the substance in question becomes truly beautiful to the addicted person.  Once this goes further it becomes the only beautiful or attractive thing.  Whether that be alcohol, caffeine or any other substance or behavior that we may become dependent upon, aside from dependence upon the Lord.  Alcohol is and obvious addiction but there are several other potential addictions that can be just as destructive such as drugs, television, pornography, or exercise and diet.  There are any number of things which can slowly but surely move from their place as a good thing to something deeply admired, to something that is idolized.  The subtle process of slipping into idolatry is a gradual road to destruction that becomes deeply noticeable when we spend time just gazing in awe at that thing – be  it a drug, an activity, a relationship or an action.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Seeing Jesus in the Book of Psalms

The information about Jesus doesn't start in the book of Matthew. Far from it! The clearest picture we get of Jesus Christ is from the Old Testament! The book of Psalms is particularly packed with amazing and important information about Jesus Christ. Come to learn more about He who comes as Savior, Shepherd, and Sovereign of the world. A deeper understanding of these three inspired poems will change the way that you look at your Savior forever.
This study is designed to draw you into Scripture with fresh insights and penetrating questions. It is an equally effective tool both as an individual self-study or as a group study.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Good Work Done Well

Do you see a man who excels in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before unknown men.
Proverbs 22:29

A dear friend of mine used to be fond of saying: “Work fascinates me…I could watch it all day!”  And no matter how many times he said it I would laugh.  As time passes I realize how much truth is hidden in that little joke.  Watching someone who has truly mastered their work through discipline and effort is a special pleasure.  Whether this is something that is a person’s profession or simply their hobby is immaterial.  Seeing the careful effort applied with wisdom and hard work is always something that is noteworthy.  While this world may emphasize the “quick buck” the word of God always glorifies steady, constructive, hard work.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

7 Reasons Every Christian Should Study Jewish History

I had the honor of guest writing a post for the Scofield Ministries blog.

Click here the read the article!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to announce a new booklet that I have assembled on the big picture of Jewish History.  This booklet is designed to give the reader a greater sense of the Biblical Chronology as well as a greater understanding of the Jewish people and some of the major factors that shaped their presence in the world today.  I am confident that you will be blessed through this study and find that God's faithfulness to His beloved earthly people Israel will give you an ever growing understanding of His faithfulness to us in the Church.

Get your copy (available in Kindle and in print) here!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Training Up a Child

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it
Proverbs 22:6

Proverbs are not promises.  A promise is a guarantee that something is going to happen or be done by the promise maker.  There are wonderful promises in the Bible, such as John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”  This is a great promise!  To everyone who trusts in the name of Jesus Christ they are made children of God.  Proverbs, however, differ in that they are not promises but observations about how God designed the world in more general terms.  This is important because there are many who wonder how their children depart from the faith and the way in which they were raised.  While this is not a guarantee, it is a very important principle in parenting.  As we train up our children we are constantly training them, disciplining them and hoping to see them equipped to live a good and constructive life.  This however, is all second to training children up to see and know the Lord.  Giving our children the tools which they need to grow in Christ is the most important thing to instill in them and earlier is always better than later! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

God's Word on the Church

The Church is God's creation.  As He created it, He gives some very important information on what the church is meant to look like, and what we are meant to be doing.  This study is designed to help you grow in your understanding of what the Church is meant to be doing and how you are meant to be a part of all of the exciting and wonderful things which God is doing on earth.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Understanding You Can Depend On

There is no wisdom or understanding
Or counsel against the Lord.
Proverbs 21:30

The world is filled with new wisdom and understanding.  Every day new and exciting research comes to light about technological advances, scientific discoveries, and medical breakthroughs that are beyond amazing.  There is, however, a great amount of understanding that is perverted to be made to appear as if it is against the Lord.  The specifics aside it is a powerful reminder to us all that the study of the physical earth is simply a study of the matter which God created, the rules which God set in place, and the information which God put in place for this world to spin.  While we may discover many new exciting things, like why leaves are green, God was the One who dictated that leaves would be green.  We may discover how to fix a malfunctioning organ in the human body, but God was the one who made that organ and allowed it to be repaired.  We will see wonderful discoveries, knowledge and understanding but they only confirm all that the Lord has put into place by His perfect will.

Friday, May 19, 2017

I am so excited to be taking this class about Jesus!

If you would like to join me you are VERY VERY welcome.  Just click here to go right to the Seminary Website.  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Galatians - Real Freedom

Christ died to set believer free.  He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly!  Yet much of the time believers continue to live as if we were still slaves - to sin, to the law, to the world.  The book of Galatians is about the freedom which God won for the believer in Jesus Christ.  This study will take you verse-by-verse through the book of Galatians - called the "Magna Carta" of the Christian faith.  We are all in chains - Come to Christ and be Free Indeed.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Interesting Perspecives

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the hearts.
Proverbs 21:2

We must never forget, as humans, the incredible power we possess in not seeing what we choose not to see.  Whatever the situation it is so easy for us to self-deceive and choose to believe that what we want is somehow the right thing to do.  This is why so many human conversations are simply confirmations of the idea: “I was right to do that, wasn’t I?” However, we justify our actions it is important to remember that we may be able to fool others, and we may be able to fool ourselves – but the Lord is not fooled.  Even our most elaborate justification is empty before Him.  1 Samuel 16:7 tells us: “But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  At first this is a bit unnerving – terrifying even – when we consider our subtle and deceptive ways.  But it ends with great freedom.  The Lord is never deceived and He still loves us – we no longer need to attempt to deceive ourselves to run from humility and truth.  It is with this understanding that David would boldly pray: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ephesians - Your New Life in Christ

The Book of Ephesians has rightly been called "the Queen of the Epistles".  In this letter the Holy Spirit gives us the vital information on all that we have been given in Jesus Christ.  This is a study of the amazing provision which has been made for the believer in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  This study is designed to give the reader new insights from the language, history and culture into which the letter was written.  It is our hope that everyone who reads it will have a greater understanding of all the God has provided freely by His grace to everyone who has placed their faith in the Person and work of Christ Jesus.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sinful and Self-Decieved

Who can say, “I have made my heart clean,
I am pure from my sin”
Proverbs 20:9

The world has been trying to deal with sin since sin entered the world.  Some have sought to ignore it, others have simply surrendered to it and called evil good and good evil.  These methods never bring anything but a deeper self-deception.  The apostle John would deal with exactly this problem in his first biblical epistle.  In 1 John he would deal with those who denied that they had sinned and those who would deny that they even retained the nature to sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10

These verses show us that foolishness and spiritual self-deception are never far from our door.  It is the greatest foolishness to try to find a way to rationalize away our sin.  Far better, indeed, is allowing God do deal with sin in His way – by trusting Jesus Christ’s perfect and permanent payment for all sin on the cross.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Being a Man...Jesus Style

Our culture is totally and completely confused when it comes to understanding and defining what masculinity is and what it is really about.  Fortunately, God's word has a great deal to say on the subject.  This study is designed to introduce very important ideas and concepts from the Bible on what the Creator of masculinity has to say about it.  We hope you enjoy this study, which is perfectly appropriate for private study as well as group study.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Things that Stay the Same

There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel – that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

The Hebrew word translated plans has the idea of a machine…something doing its job mechanically and continually to make plans.  It can be negative in meaning, but here it is neutral.  A man continues thinking, planning and plotting based upon new information and new situations at every single moment.  This is one of the many limitations of humanity – we are limited in time, space and perception.  Try as we might we are always going to be vulnerable to a new fact or factor that will cause our plans to change. 

The Lord is in a different situation altogether.  The Lord’s character and plans will never be surprised, nor will they ever be changed because of something which He didn’t see or know.  The Lord’s plan is perfect and it is not ever in question.  This means that, as fallible and shortsighted people we are always making the wisest choice by building our plans around His perfect and unchanging counsel.  This means building our thinking around His perfect word.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

1-3 John - Life in Fellowship

The letters of John are a comfort and an encouragement to every believer in Jesus Christ.  In these loving and challenging letters the Apostle John encourages believers to grow in their fellowship with Christ as well as their fellowship with other believers.  This study breaks the letters of John into understandable sections and gives valuable insights from the Greek text as well as the history and the culture into which they were given.  We hope you enjoy this newly available resource:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pursuing the Best

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.
Proverbs 19:8

“You deserve a treat…a break…a special moment…” These are frequent messages from those who are selling the treats, breaks and “special moments.”  They promise that their product will somehow provide you with something you want or desire…something that is better for you.  While these promises vary in their truthfulness there is one promise that is always good.  When we invest in God’s perfect wisdom, contained in His word, we are not only doing what is best for glorifying HIM but we are also putting ourselves in the best position to be what we were meant to be.  Submitting to the wisdom of God is exactly what all people need, and it is the best for us in every way.  Being guided each day by the wonderful word of God is also what brings the “best results” in life, which is not a coincidence at all!  This is by no means some promise of unconditional prosperity – but a simple reality: if you take care of your care according to the manufacturer’s recommendations you will give your car the best chance at a long and productive service.  So, with us – living under the Lord’s wisdom – grace, righteousness, holiness, forgiveness and love – gives is not just the right thing to do, it is the very best thing to do.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Esther and God's Faithfulness

This is a tool for anyone hoping to understand the message behind the book of Esther.  This resource will guide you through the amazing story of God's amazing faithfulness - even when His people had largely abandoned Him and His promises for them.  This is a great study for anyone who wants to know God more as He reveals Himself through the Bible.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Insurance vs. Real Protection

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10

Insurance is a booming industry in America.  Anything that you buy, and anything that you do, can likely be insured in some way shape or form.  The idea is that if something goes wrong there is someone to call who will make things better, to whatever degree that is possible.  However, there are other places we might run when things have gone wrong.  We may choose to look to the government to try and fix our problems.  We may look to a medical professional or even a dear friend.  There are many plans and back-ups for the back-ups, and this can be a great thing.  We are meant to plan ahead and take proper precautions in accords to the wisdom and resources which the Lord has provided.  At the end of the day, however, we must cling to the reality that the Name of the Lord is our strong tower.  A tower was a great defense if a person or a group of people were attacked.  The tower, if properly built and equipped, would provide a protection against a much greater force.  The question is not whether or not we will have plans and arrangements set aside for when things go wrong, the question is where we will go first.  All our best plans and arrangements are nothing next to the guiding and guarding Hand of He who knows every hair on your head and when a single sparrow falls to the ground.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Getting Healthy - a Resource

This small resource is designed to point us towards faith in Christ in regards to our physical bodies.  There is a great deal of information, both good and bad, about diets, exercise and body image.  This booklet is designed to direct our thoughts about our physical existence through the wisdom of God's word - the Bible.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Problems with Self-Expression

A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart.
Proverbs 18:2

James would later write: “So then, my beloved brethren let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak slow to wrath…”  It is always easier to put our own viewpoint out there than to listen to the viewpoint of another.  There have been remarkable studies done on the brain to show how much energy it takes to change one’s mind and understand a contrary viewpoint.  It is a mere function of conservation of energy that often keeps us from doing so.  Yet, the Proverbs tell us that this tidy conservation of energy is, in fact, foolishness!  Wisdom takes energy, growing in wisdom is an actual investment.  This is true in our conversations and it is true in our Bible reading.  How often does a verse come up that challenges our current idea and we simply re-work it in our mind to fit with our existing belief rather than allowing the word of God to change our current understanding.   It is costly, and it requires humility, but it is worth it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Finding the Faith

Romans is the central Biblical book explaining the Christian faith.  It is an introduction and an advanced course in Christian faith, belief and practice all rolled into one.  This resource is designed to break down the book of Romans and evaluate the meat of Scripture verse-by-verse and concept by concept.  We hope you enjoy this resource which is now available on Amazon Kindle!

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Joy of Friendship

A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
Provers 17:17

Technology often changes the way that we use words.  One such affected word is the word “friend”.   A person who is connected to another person on Facebook is called a “friend”.  Yet, true friendship is a deeper thing by far.  A true friend is defined here as one who loves (desires and acts in the best interests of another regardless of the cost) constantly.  Many of us find in our worst trials and difficulties of life who our real friends are and who was merely hanging around for their own benefit.  Each time I read these words I am inspired to express gratitude to my true friends and inspired to be such a friend.  Yet, the most powerful thing about this verse is what was recorded later in John 15:15: “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends for all things that I heard from my father I have made known to you.”  How well Mr. Scriven has put it: “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A New Resource

Many of the resources which we have developed over the past years have hitherto unavailable, but now, through the magic of the internet, they are available!  The first resource we would like to highlight is a Bible Study for anyone wanting to know what it means to have confidence in Christ and how that translates into the confident life that the believer is meant to live, by the power of Jesus Christ:

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mocking God

He who mocks the poor reproaches his maker;
He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
Proverbs 17:5

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines schadenfreude as “enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others”.  This is a German word that has been borrowed into a handful of other languages.  The thing worth noting here is that this sensation in finding delight in other’s misfortune is a well-recognized human phenomenon.  We could go to great lengths to ask why it is that the human condition has a pronounced place for reveling in others weakness or losses.  However, it is simple and most accurate to say that this is the influence of sin in a human life.  This pleasure can be found when your team (sports or political) beats the other team.  Winning isn’t enough…gloating follows.  It is the quiet self-righteous voice inside us that says of the person who suffers loss of health or financial ruin: “He probably deserved it.”  Whether that voice ever makes it out of our head or our pen.  The two warnings of this simple verse are very much worth noting:  This is mocking the maker of those who suffer – mocking God Almighty.  The second is that such an attitude will not go unpunished.  These severe words should help us to see the immense gravity of delighting in the losses of others in the eyes of the Lord.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Finding Happiness

He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.
Proverbs 16:20

Legos have change quite a bit from the toy of my youth.  When I was a child Legos came in a bucket and were used to build whatever you may want to build with them. Now Legos come primarily in specific sets used to build models of various types – like a Star Wars space ship.  One of the best things about this style of Lego set is that it forces children to learn to follow directions.  If a person should submit to the directions and follow them carefully the model is impressive and fun – and you get an X-wing!  If the directions are not followed, then you only get a mess of oddly shaped grey bricks.  There are moments in most Lego constructions where the builder must ask themselves if the directions are REALLY correct.  A reasonable amount of faith in the manufacturers of Legos will usually yield success in the project.  It is no less so with the Bible.  We will come to situations in life when we wonder if what God’s word has revealed is correct.  Faith in the LORD, however, will always bring about the correct result: a life grown closer to Christ.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Planning and Stepping

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

The issue of Divine Sovereignty has caused some difficulty to believers in Christ.  Not that the Biblical teaching is unclear, but because of our unwillingness to observe it for various reasons.  Sovereignty is not a picture of God controlling every decision of every person throughout all human history.  Sovereignty is, rather, the reality that God is in final control of everything and nothing is out of His jurisdiction.  This verse is a beautiful picture of the balance between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.  Think of the care that is put forth in this wonderful verse.  God designed man to plan his way.  God designed man to make choices by godly wisdom and go the right way.  Yet God is so personal and caring that He also is involved with the direction of each step.  We can praise the God who designed us to learn and grow and plan our way, and walk with the confidence that knows that our very steps are directed by the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God of the universe.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Knowing Widsom

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom,
And before honor is humility.
Proverbs 15:33

Understanding who the Lord is who we are in relationship to Him is the ground and basis for all true wisdom.  It is when we understand Who He is and what He has done for us in Christ that we can respond properly to His provision.  If we mistakenly think that we come to the spiritual table with some great service, wealth, or power to offer then we will not know our true humble position before Him.  If we attempt to pull His perfect righteousness down to the level that we can achieve we will live in the filthy rags of human “righteousness”.  Should we try to elevate our strength, righteousness, and ability before Him we are left in the place of self-righteous self-delusion.  No wisdom is available to the man who does not realize his absolutely bankruptcy before God.  It is at this point when His grace is made clear and we receive His loving provision for us in Christ.  

Monday, February 27, 2017

Better is a little...

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
Than great treasure with trouble.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
Proverbs 15:16-17

One of the most horrible things that can happen to a person, from the world’s viewpoint, is that that person might not have stuff.  A person who is missing the right material possessions (or the right amount of material possessions) is called “poor”, and is pitied by the world system.  The other side of this sad coin is that each person is also trained to tell themselves that they would be much happier if they only had more money, better things, or more “spare time”.   This becomes the lash and spur for each person to live a life of unconditional avarice for the next big house, nice car, or new gadget.  The Bible offers another viewpoint:  We would be better off by far with the fear of the Lord in a loving home than we would with every treasure and gadget, luxury and pleasure apart from Him. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Finding the Best Way

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12

Most biblical proverbs are met with a calm nod.  “Yes, that is true,” we say to ourselves.  Some, like this one, are met with a calm nod and then a horrifying shudder.  We nod when we think of how this applies to others, and shudder when we realize it also applies to us.  This “way” could be the manner in which we do business.  This “way” could be the choices we make in our families.  This “way” could be choosing to try to earn our salvation through our own good works, rather than resting upon Christ’s completed work.  They appear right, but they end in death.  This is the way that our sin nature gains control over us, by offering “better” alternatives to problems than what is given by God in His word.  They may seem right from our perverse and biased little perspective, but when viewed from the standpoint of the Truth of God’s word the end is clear.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bad Smells, Great Results!

Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;
But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
Proverbs 14:4

My wife would laugh if she ever read this sentence from me: I like things neat and tidy.  It is probably better put: I like things simple and as conflict-free as possible.  I find in ministry, in business and in family the reality is the same: The more people you bring in, the more mess you are going to have.  There are temptations to be found on both sides.  One side would seek to get rid of the ox so there was nothing to clean up.  The other would get as many oxen as they can and choose not to clean up after them.  Either extreme will result in failure, but if we are willing to accept that expanding our lives to include new relationships WILL bring more work we will find ourselves in the best relational situation possible.  

Discipline and Good Times

He who spares the rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 13:24

Discipline is a concept regularly misunderstood in the human context.  The worst of this confusion is that which exists between discipline and punishment.  Punishment involves righteousness, justice and fairness.  A person is punished to in some way make things right after an offense or wrong action.  Discipline, however, is corrective in nature.  When parents observe their children behaving in ways that are selfish, dishonest, hurtful, or disrespectful and they take no corrective action they are not preparing their child to live in the world which they will one day face.  The reason?  They hate their children.  That sounds extreme, but it is the reality.  The parent who loves their momentary comfort more than the difficulty of training their child to live a godly life simply loves themselves than their child.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

Protecting Your Life

He who guards his mouth preserves his life,
But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
Proverbs 13:3

Do you remember when television stations used to go off air?  Once everything was said for the day the screen would go to a familiar pattern and that would be all that would be broadcast for a few hours at least.  In reading and re-reading through the Proverbs each month I am always struck at how many of them are about the spoken word.  They are a special caution to our modern time which almost never knows silence.  This lack of silence seems to infect our conversations and time with others as well.  Rather than allowing a quiet and understanding silence we feel compelled to fill the air with any talk, regardless of how empty, awful or destructive those words may be.  The speech pattern “awkward silence” has become very common phrase in our regular speech, so common that any silence is viewed as being awkward.  Becoming comfortable with silence in our private life may be exactly what is needed to become comfortable with silence in our social life, and that comfort with silence may be life-saving, in the right situation.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Satisfied with Words

A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of His mouth,
And the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him.
Proverbs 12:14

The New Age Movement has made a great deal of the idea of “Creative Visualization”, sometimes this is put forward as “The Laws of Attraction”, but the idea is about the same.  The idea of thinking about something and then constantly placing it before you allows you to shape your own reality is a sort of hocus pocus take on a simple concept that God has already put into place.

Once we put the mystical and magical aside we see that the concept of reaping what we sow is very clear in Scripture and is clear in our daily lives.  The words a person speaks absolutely dictates much of the flow of the life they will live.  People whose speech is offensive, mean spirited, or abusive find themselves lonely – because who wants to be around that non-sense?  The person whose speech is negative, self-pitying and defensive will also find himself alone and dissatisfied with their lives.  A person whose speech is honest, uplifting and kind will be satisfied by the words of their mouths.  This is not some strange new-age law of the universe – it is simple cause and effect!

The Peak of God's Creation

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who causes shame is like rottenness to the bones.
Proverbs 12:4

Modern American culture is having some real issues understanding ideas like gender identity and an even greater problem in dealing with the Biblical concept of marriage.  It is important that we realize two important things. First, that both gender and marriage are God’s creations (seen in Genesis 1-2).  Second, that men and women are created in an equal standing before God to serve and honor one another.  The first fact reminds us that we cannot change the rules of God’s world without disastrous effects.  The second fact reminds us that our differences serve a vital purpose in our calling and place in this world.

Once this is understood the relationship between the sexes can finally flower.  The husband values and glories in the wonderful gift of his wife.  This is made even more plain in Proverbs 31, but the reality is that a wife has the power to bring success or destruction to her household.  To build up her household, or to destroy the household.  All of this potential greatness placed in the pinnacle of God’s amazing creative work – the woman.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Really Rich

The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.
Proverbs 11:25

There is a decided trend in Scripture that simply cannot be denied: generosity has great results.  This proverb is by no means a promise that every generous person will become financially wealthy – that is not the nature of the proverbs.  It is an observation that those who are generous tend to see the good results of their kind-hearted generosity.  Generosity comes in many forms.  Monetary generosity is the most commonly considered – but there is so much more to be said on the topic.  It can be far more difficult to find a person who is generous with their time.  Even among those who are generous with their time even fewer have a truly generous and caring spirit that is attentive to the spiritual and emotional needs of others.  Investment in these areas brings real riches.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Knee-Jerk Emnity

He who is devoid of wisdom despises His neighbor,
But a man of understanding holds his peace.
Proverbs 11:12

It is easy to segment out our intellect from our emotions.  Yet godly wisdom is not simply a cold set of good moves on a two-dimensional game board.  Walking in godly wisdom effects the whole person, as does a lack thereof.  A lack of godly wisdom – that is a lack of understanding of Who God is and who we are in relationship to Him and to others – brings us to a place of hating even those who are closest to us.  It brings us to the point of building large walls of enmity between those for whom we are meant to be the most loving.  Wisdom is characterized here by the picture of a man holding his tongue, not giving vent to the knee-jerk reaction of the negative feelings and malevolent thoughts towards others.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Currency of Real Righteousness

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
Proverbs 11:4

Money is constantly equated with power.  With money one can buy many fabulous and exciting things.  Yet the abilities of money reach definite and distinct limits.  Money can buy entertainment and fun, but not contentment and joy.  Money can provide decided legal and social advantage here on Earth, but not before the One who will judge the Earth.  The currency with the Lord deals in is not our dirty little slips of paper – but righteousness.  This brings us to the ultimate and dire need of every human alive.  We do not have the righteousness which we need to stand before the perfect and almighty judge.  This is the righteousness which God has provided for any who would place their faith in Jesus Christ.  It is HIS righteousness – given to us by the person and work of His Son– by which we may stand before Him. There is no other righteousness, nor any other amount of riches, nor any amount of influence or power that provide peace with the righteous God of Heaven and Earth.