The Lord said to Moses, “.. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” So Moses … gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
Even though Moses disobeyed and struck the rock instead of speaking to it God performed a miracle and blessed the people. It is easy to assume, when we see miracles or great things happening in a ministry or through a minister, that it is God’s seal of approval upon that ministry. Obviously miracles, growing budgets or burgeoning pews can’t be taken as a sign of God’s approval of all that is happening in a ministry. Think of the many national church leaders who have fallen in the last number of years. Most were seeing great things happen in their churches even while they were wallowing in sin. Read more
Categories: Micah, Numbers
Psalm 101:7, 8
No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.
Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the Lord.
I absolutely love this passage. Here’s why. A number of years ago my family was enduring a brutal time. The church I pastored had severe financial pressures (we had nothing to do with creating the debt we just “inherited” the consequences of someone else’s “faith”).
I had outspoken critics in the congregation who with syrupy sweetness regularly told me all I was doing wrong as a pastor. (The most vocal of them had been saved almost 3 years so surely had great insight into church leadership.) Some of the critics were self-proclaimed prophets who would spout as “the Word of the Lord” any bird-brained idea that flitted through the canyons of their cranium. Others thought nothing of slandering me and harassing my kids because they actually acted like children. Though their children were in rebellion and running from God, they knew exactly how “pastor’s kids” should be raised. Read more
Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume.
But Judas Iscariot said, “That perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
Jesus knew Judas was stealing from the group yet He didn’t call him on it. He let Judas get away with it. Dang, I hate that about God. He let’s scoundrels get away with their scoundreling. He let’s jerks get away with their jerkiness. People may stab you in the back and instead of God bringing down the hammer of justice – He blesses them! Read more
Categories: John, Matthew
When we sow a seed of sin it promises pleasure and it delivers. There is immediate gratification or we would not be tempted by it. But that short-lived rush of reward is followed by a long term harvest of guilt, insecurity and often pain, not only for us but for countless others as the waves of sin’s impact spread. Once we start the wave we lose control of how big or far reaching it will be. Sometimes we can do nothing but stand back and watch in horror as it builds into a tsunami of destruction rolling over our loved ones and even innocent bystanders. Read more
Categories: Galatians, James
Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.
I’ve been fooled. I listened to one side of a story and because I trusted and respected the person, I believed what they told me was accurate. “They wouldn’t lie to me”, I reasoned. However, experience has taught me even mature Christians often present a side which “sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.”
With an arrogant attitude she informed me, “My Dad refused to sign the disciplinary notice and he said he doesn’t care what you do about it.” I was principal of a Christian school and the high school girl had been brought to my office. I felt a twinge of anger rising up at Dad’s refusal to cooperate. We were bending over backwards to help get his daughter on the right path and he was refusing to cooperate. I called him but … I had been coached to always go into these conversation like a cat, gently. You can always turn into a bear later if you have to but start quietly, calmly. (Proverbs 15:1, 25:15) Read more
In our society “Christian” has come to mean a bigoted, narrow minded, hater. So a growing number of “Christians” are looking to rebrand themselves. I’m OK with avoiding the term “Christian” since it initially was a term used more by the pagan world than by the Christians themselves. Other than Peter’s use of the term one time we don’t see Christians referring to themselves as “Christians” in the New Testament. A term that is coming in vogue is “Christ follower” – I am a Christ follower.
I don’t want to nit pick (though I am going to anyway) but I suggest that you might not want to just be a “Christ followers”. In the New Testament that too was not a term they used. In the NT they preferred the term “disciple”. Another popular term was “servant” – I am a servant of Jesus Christ. OK, both of those words may be a little foreign today so use “follower” if you want when explaining your stance to non-believers but don’t begin to see yourself merely as a “follower”. Here is why. Read more
Categories: Acts, James, John
Judges 11 is one of the weirdest stories in the Bible. It leaves us wondering: Did Jephthah do what it sounds like he did – offer his daughter as a burnt sacrifice to God? To answer that it’s important to know some things about the man and his story. Read more
Categories: Judges, Psalms
Judges 11 is one of weirdest stories in the Bible. Did Jephthah really offer his daughter as a burnt sacrifice to God? That trivia question can distract us from a lesson that makes a life and death difference in today’s world, a lesson as up-to-date as tomorrow’s headlines.
In honor of Memorial Day and all who served we are offering this ENCORE POST
Some Christians refuse to serve in the military on religious grounds. So what of those who do serve? Are they disobeying God? Let’s look into God’s Word and see what HE has to say.
Note: Because this is such a complex issue and because the topic so deeply impacts the lives of many men and women who are serving in the armed forces, this topic deserves greater attention and this post is much longer than most.
1. What did Jesus say?
John the Baptist and Jesus both spoke to soldiers in an army that was oppressing God’s people. Certainly, if it was wrong to serve in the military, it would be extra wrong to serve in an army oppressing God’s chosen people and either John or Jesus would have addressed the issue. Neither John nor Jesus said the soldiers should change careers. In fact, soldiers specifically asked John what they should do and he never mentions getting out of the military. Read more