Saturday, August 25, 2007


Some people act differently than others. I think we can all agree on that. Some, when insults are hurled at them, would retaliate with a barrage of their own. Others might get angry and strike out at the offending party.

Those of us that follow Christ are called to follow a different path. Listen to these words of Jesus recorded in Luke 6:27 - 28 (NLT):

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.

These words that are recorded in God’s Word are available for all to see, believers and non-believers alike. So, when we do not adopt the ways of Christ and a knowledgeable non-believer sees us, we are adding to their convictions and dishonoring the name of Christ.

No, it’s not easy, but it is necessary if we are going to win a dying world for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must look different from them. We must strive every day to look more like Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

12Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. 13But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. 14For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. Hebrews 3:12 - 14 (HCSB)


Friday, August 24, 2007


Some people are led to believe that when they become Christians all of their problems will disappear. They think that life will be easy for them now that they believe in Jesus Christ. Is that really what the Bible teaches?

What got me to thinking about that was a question yesterday about Paul’s statement in the following verse:

But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:10 - 12 (NASB)

The truth of the matter is, it is not easy to be a true follower of Christ. Oh yes, He will provide for all of our needs. Not necessarily for all of our “wants” as some would lead us to believe. And the rewards are incredible; eternal life, seeing others walk in the footsteps of Jesus, just to name a couple.

But there are also costs; giving up self and self-focused ideas, having others think you are crazy, intolerant or a failure (regarding the world’s view). I once heard it said that if you are not experiencing any adversity or persecution in your life as a follower of Christ, maybe you look a little too much like those who are “of the world.”

Hear the Word of the Lord on the subject:

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. Luke 6:22 - 23 (NASB)

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. John 15:18 - 20 (NASB)

The message from Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 is consistent. He who overcomes adversity and remains faithful to the end will be rewarded...but there will be adversity until Jesus Christ calls us home.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


While we were on vacation in Oceanside, California, we went to church at Calvary Chapel Living Hope. During announcements, it was mentioned that most of the men were still at their annual men’s retreat. The guy making the announcement said that the topic had been “God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness.” I like that statement.

Twenty times in the book of Leviticus, God tells us to be holy…

‘For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. Leviticus 11:44a (NASB)

Guess how many times God tells us to “be happy.” Instead, He tells us…

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12 (NASB)

What does it mean to “be holy”?

The Hebrew word is qâdôsh, which means sacred, holy, Holy One, saint, set apart. It is from the root qâdash, meaning to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate.
Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions, Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1999, Parsons Technology, Inc.

We are to set aside for the purposes of God. We are to separate ourselves from the desires and ways of the world. We belong to the Lord for He created us and purchased us from the power of sin with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Does that mean that God doesn’t want us to be happy? No, but it does mean, “God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness.” The New Testament writer, Peter, echoes the thought in Leviticus…

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15 - 16 (NLT)


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


You may have heard me mention The SPRING Student Center that we have been working on in the little town in which we live. It has filled my personal schedule and has involved many, many people since March 5 of this year.

Did we do this simply to help kids in our town? Partially, we wanted them to have a safe place to go after school and on weekends. We also wanted them to have the opportunity to meet and get to know our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I just wanted to share the real reason, the compelling force behind all of our work:

…And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel Ezra 6:14 (NKJV)

When God tells you to do something, it would be best if you complied. We passed our final building inspection yesterday and will now receive our certificate of occupancy according to the commandment of the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. May His name be praised!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Does God tell people to do anything in particular these days? You know, like he told Adam and Eve they could eat of any fruit in the Garden of Eden except one. Well I submit to you that you don’t have to hear God speaking aloud or even as a voice inside your head. Why? Because He has given it to us in writing!

The Bible is where we read of God telling people what they should or should not do and then observing their response to Him. Moses was afraid he couldn’t handle what God gave him, but he did it. When God asked Noah to build a boat in the middle of the desert because he was going to flood the earth, destroying everything, how did Noah respond?

So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him. Genesis 6:22 (NLT)

We also read of people that did not do what God asked, like Lot’s wife who was turned into a pillar of salt when she disobeyed.

My question to you then is, since we have God’s written word, His desires for our lives and behavior, how do you respond to Him?


Monday, August 20, 2007


When we look at taking a job, we consider what the salary is in relation to the demands our employer will place on us, but we also have to take into consideration the benefits. Benefits like a health plan, pension plan, bonuses and other things that add to the overall attractiveness of the job.

Being a Christian has benefits just like being an employee. Are the demands placed on us as Christians (love God with all your heart, mind and strength, love your neighbor as yourself, be holy because I am holy, do not love the world or the things of the world…) balanced out by the benefits?

When we forsake our friends who believe in other gods or are following some cult, what can we expect to receive as a benefit? What rewards can we expect in the future for suffering in our present lifetime? Is it really worth it to give up all my earthly desires and wants just to please Christ?

Here are some of the benefits of the “long term plan” as explained to the churches in the book of Revelation…

Authority to rule nations and immortality: The Church in Thyatira

To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations. 27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. 28They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! 29“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Revelation 2:26 - 29 (NLT)

Clothed in white (righteousness) and belong to Christ: The Church in Sardis

“Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine. 6“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Revelation 3:4 - 6 (NLT)

Pillars in temple and immortality, new name, citizens of the New Jerusalem: The Church in Philadelphia

All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name. 13“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Revelation 3:12 - 13 (NLT)

Fellowship with Christ and seated on throne with Him: The Church in Laodicea

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. 22“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” Revelation 3:20 - 22 (NLT)

It’s your choice. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.


Sunday, August 19, 2007


I used to hate those reading comprehension tests they would give me in school. You had to read a paragraph or two and then answer a bunch of questions about what you just read.

Well apparently, God thinks reading comprehension is important as well. In the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation he used the phrase, “Anyone with ears must listen…and understand…”

Ephesus – fruit from the Tree of Life (live forever)

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7 (NLT)

Smyrna – not harmed by second death (spiritual death: lake of fire)

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death. Revelation 2:11 (NLT)

Pergamum – manna from heaven (Christ) and white stone with new name (acquittal)

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17 (NLT)

Read to learn. Pray for understanding. Strive for obedience. The rewards are incredible!