Traveling To The West

I am traveling this week to visit family out west. I will return and start posting again on Monday, the 12th. Stay well and always be encouraged by the fact that God loves you no matter what. Blessings to all.


When Things Don’t Fit

Have you ever seen a father’s reaction when he discovers three words on the box of a just-bought toy: Some assembly required? What follows are hours of squeezing tab A into slot B, bolting D into F, and then hoping no one notices that steps four, five, and six were skipped altogether. I’m convinced the devil indwells the details of toy assembly. Somewhere in perdition is a warehouse of stolen toy parts.

Some assembly required.” Not the most welcome sentence but an honest one. Life is a gift, albeit unassembled. The pieces of our lives don’t fit. When they don’t, take your problem to Jesus. He says, Bring your problems to Me!  In prayer, state them simply. Present them faithfully, and trust Him reverently!

Remember—we’re still a work in progress. God’s not finished with us yet.

Spending Time In The Valley

Walking through or being in the valley can be tough. The valley is described or referred to in the Bible as a low point or challenging time in a person’s life. What do you do when you find yourself in these circumstances? Do you resort to anger, drugs, bewilderment or any other substitutionary action that reflects your feelings about your situation? If you’re like most, you probably go through a personal inventory of your actions trying to discover, “what or where did I do wrong?”

There is no need for self-persecution and self-examination. Experiencing valley time is all part of God’s plan for you and me. Some would say they don’t want or need this time. I would agree in part but I also understand what God is doing in my life and yours.

There is a key word to think of when you find yourself in the valley. That word can be found in the 23rd Psalm. It reads in part, “….yea though I walk through the valley….”. Did you see the word? It is the word “through”. God does not intend for us to stay in the darkness of the valley. His purpose is to help us discover Him by increasing our faith and depending on Him to lead us out of our situation.

If you can find it within yourself to praise God during this time you will have the victory. Satan on the other hand will be there every step of the way trying to convince you that your problems are bigger than what God can handle. That is a lie straight from the pits of hell. Do not listen to the lies.

A key verse to remember the next time you find yourself stuck in the valley—“Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world.”(1 John 4:4)


Acceptance—A Human Need

One of our basic human needs is acceptance. Without it, we feel alienated or maybe even rejected. In the Bible, acceptance is often referred to as “favor.” For example, when Joseph was sold into slavery, Genesis 39:4 says he “found favor” in the sight of his master Potiphar and was put in charge of the official’s entire household. Joseph found acceptance and approval because of his exemplary behavior.

Although the Christian faith may evoke a negative response from some, believers shouldn’t be discouraged. A life that reflects Christ pleases God. And in bringing light to a dark world, an obedient life will also bring the favor of many into its circle of influence.

Whose favor are you longing to receive? Do you desire God’s approval or man’s?


What is the “basic framework” of the Bible?

Let’s go back to some basics about the bible and what it says about God, Jesus, religion, and other topics often criticized by the uninformed skeptic. In general terms what does the bible have to say in its historical and forthright pages?

The Bible recounts the interaction of God with his people. It is split into two sections, the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT). The Old Testament is the record of God’s dealings with his chosen people, Israel, and covers the time period from the “Beginning”—whenever that was—to roughly 500 BC.

The New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus (shortly before the AD 1 mark), tells of his life, teaching, death, and resurrection, and includes numerous texts written to the first generation or two of Christian believers, up to the end of the first century. A key thing to remember about how Christians read this big book is that they have always insisted on two simple things: first, that the Old Testament points forward to what Jesus would do in the New Testament; and, second, that we must therefore read the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.

The Bible is a story that stretches from creation to eternity, giving everything in between a particular shape and substance. In Bible-speak, this is called “salvation history” or “biblical theology,” an account of how God planned, revealed, and executed his purposes for the world.

The message of both the Old and New Testaments is vertical and horizontal, partly about love for God and partly about love for neighbor. The Ten Commandments, which introduce all of Israel’s laws, consist of four commandments about what one does for God, followed by six commandments about the treatment of others. The rest of the Bible, this vast story, concerns God’s remedy—in biblical speak, “redemption.”

Redemption in the Bible is not just a spiritual rescue. It involves three dimensions: God intends to redeem our relationship with him, our connections with one another, and our enjoyment of creation itself. The Bible’s redemptive plan is not just about putting souls into heaven. God wants to redeem all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven—which doesn’t leave much else!


You Are Greatly Loved

Has your heart has been filled with sin? Have You degraded yourself and your body for the momentary pleasures of the flesh? At this point you’ve probably realized that you’ve reached the lowest part of your life and existence because of sin. But, the resulting feelings of ugliness and being unlovable are lies. They are part of satan’s assault on your life and self-esteem. When does it end?

Consider this—God’s mercy is everlasting. Sometimes a Christian becomes convinced that divine forgiveness has limits. This usually happens when the person has repeatedly confessed a sin but finds himself returning to the habit anyway. Satan whispers to us that surely the Lord is weary of this cycle of sin and admission. But as always, the enemy lies. The truth is that a believer cannot sin his way out of God’s grace, no matter how many times he confesses the same wrongdoing.

Would you not love to hear the angel Gabriel say to you, “You are greatly loved”? Take heart. If you have faith in Jesus, God himself says to you, “You are greatly loved.”

This is better than an angel’s voice. If you are “alive,” you are greatly loved.

We were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . . For by grace you have been saved through faith.” (Ephesians 2:3–5, 8).


Are You Afraid of God?

The Scriptures are full of verses that speak of the enjoyment God’s people find in Him. If we aren’t delighting in the Lord on a consistent basis, there may be some hindrances in our life.

When the Scriptures tell us to fear the Lord, it means to honor, revere, and obey Him as a child does a parent. But, if we see Him as a tyrannical Father, we’ll be afraid of Him, and this kind of fear keeps us from experiencing joy in our relationship with Him.

It’s important to remember that our heavenly Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to rescue us from our sin and has placed us securely in His loving family.