When I was very young my older brother and I loved to play King. We would make card castles, and we would drape blankets over our shoulders. We’d throw cards at each other’s castles until we eventually destroyed them. Then we would traipse around with our blanket-trains following us, declaring that we were the conquering kings.
There is something deep inside our beings that loves the idea of kings and kingdoms.
A time is coming when, “the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15) Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords; every knee in heaven and on earth and below the earth will bow before Him. (Philippians 2:10) He is the Benevolent Ruler who gives life, rather than takes it. He fights to free people, not conquer them. He is the One who provides for His people, rather than receives provision from them. His...
“Where’d all the good people go?” That’s a question singer song writer, Jack Johnson, asked in his 2005 hit song, “Good People.” It seems that media has so highlighted dysfunctional, rebellious and selfish lifestyles that we may be forgetting what solid living looks like. Men and women are finding it difficult to find good people to date; some are getting frustrated and others are getting scared. Where’d all he good people go?
We all have our faults and areas of brokenness. However, we must choose to live with some bedrock values. Solomon mentions two such values in Proverbs 3:3-4, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
They may not get many hits or views on YouTube, but love and faithfulness go a long way in real life. To love others is to treat them as God would treat them –...
Have you “fallen” in love with anyone – I mean really in love? When that thing comes on you, your life changes. Everything else – even important things – seems to wane. Life in many ways gets put on the back burner, and you become practically obsessed. When your mind wanders from your tasks, it generally goes toward the person of your great affection. And, you find yourself willing to pay great prices to be with that person. You are willing to drive/travel long distances and go without much sleep to be with him/her. Almost nothing can hold you back.
This love-behavior is true of our relationship with God, too. "This is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome." (1John 5:3) We ultimately express our love to God through our obedience to Him. Love and lordship are one and the same in relationship with Christ. To love Him is to recognize and relate according to who He actually is, the Lord. We grow through obedience and we...
What if God designed us to live in meaningful relationship with others? What if He wants us to impact and be impacted by each other so that we might be changed and transformed in the process? If this were actually God’s design and plan, how might it affect how we act toward others and how we receive from them?
God has placed the lonely in households (Psalm 68:6), with families, friends, workmates and possibly most importantly in the household of faith. He has made us to have effect on each other. It is as if our souls have been created with permeable membranes that allow overlap and exchange when we come close to each other. We experience the most exchange with those who come closest. Maybe that’s why we can be so irritated by our spouse, family or good friend. It can also explain how we pick up mannerisms, expressions and worldviews from each other.
The New Testament is peppered with verses that describe how we can best relate to “one another.” They...
When was the last time you failed? Was it huge or a small mistake, a breakdown or a collapse – or have you intentionally suppressed memories of your failure?
Most of us hate failure. Failing makes us feel ashamed. It threatens our identity – as if our identity could be built on consistent, flawless performance.
We need to remember, however, that failure is a significant and important part of life. The only way a child will ever learn to walk is by failing thousands of times. People of great accomplishment have a long string of failures to which they can very easily point.
Winston Churchill, widely regarded as one of world’s great wartime heroes, defined success as “going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
The best way to deal with a fear of failure is to press ahead, try some new things and fail a few times. You will find that the fear of shame associated with the fear of failure is ten times worse than the actual failure....
Most arguments seem to spring from a sense of not being heard or understood. When we are not understood we tend to press our point or perspective harder. Unfortunately, our extra efforts and energy can be threatening and put others on the defensive. Change is needed.
At a number of junctures Jesus is recorded as saying, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” These words were always clues indicating that the listener needed to employ a spiritual, kingdom understanding in order to grasp the point Jesus was making. He was encouraging His hearers to slow down, ponder and ask God’s help to understand the things of the Spirit.
In Revelation, we see Jesus using the same expression for people to understand His messages to each of the seven churches. He said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” We, too, need to take time to listen and discern what God is saying. We need the...
Sometimes people believe many of the “right” things about God and have fairly solid theology, yet their lives seem none the better for it. How can this be? Often we have rebellious rumblings under the surface of our consciousness. They can go undetected unless we take time to allow them to surface and intentionally address them.
Worry is one such rumbling that can rob our spiritual lives. It is a deceptive thought/feeling. It can make us feel like we are being responsible when we are not. Worry never helps a situation. Jesus told His disciples not to worry about their lives, clothes or food. He asked, “Who by worrying can add one hour to their life?” (Luke 12:24) Paul said not to worry or be anxious about anything, but instead to
bring our concerns to God. (Philippians 4:6) Peter exhorts us to cast all our anxiety upon the Lord who cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
Doubt can also creep into our relationship with...
Jesus said that in the last days the love of most people will grow cold. Is your love cold or hot
with the presence and purposes of God? Real love is focused and intentional. It is focused on
another or others. It is intentional in that it is expressed – it is an active verb. You can tell if you
are expressing this kind of love, they will experience it and others will see it. Real love is
demonstrative. Its deepest source and inspiration comes from God.
“God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Love is the expression of His essence – and it is His motivation for
creation. His creation expresses His love and shares His love. As we experience love, walk in
love and act lovingly, we bare His image in this world. Let’s look at three clear, yet counter-
cultural expressions of love. This kind of love is a prophetic sign in our day. It points to a
greater source and purpose than ourselves.
“Be devoted to one another...
Many people in our country believe that faith is a personal thing – that it’s not something to talk about or share with others. To believe this, however, is to believe that there is no real, solid, true faith that we must all consider.
The Bible uses the expression “the faith” to describe a solid belief in Jesus Christ that impacts and informs all aspects of life. People are to be strengthened in the faith, encouraged to stand strong in the faith, to examine themselves to make sure they are in the faith, to grow in the unity of the faith and to experience joy in the faith together. Faith is personal. Faith is also corporate. We need to be discuss it so we can grow and progress in our understanding, application and practice of “the faith.”
In Ephesians 4:15 we are instructed to “speak the truth in love” to each other. This is what we all need spiritually and relationally. We need to receive both...