All posts tagged: Bible

Is Your Goodness Consistent in Every Situation?

How do we define good? In today’s culture, there seem to be as many definitions of good as there are people. And when we do define what is good, we don’t always do it. I know lying isn’t good and I certainly don’t like it when someone lies to me. Yet, I will straight up embellish a story I’m telling about myself so others think I am something special. I’m going to tell the truth: this is lying. When I do it, I’m not being good. Is this what Paul was getting at in Galatians 5:22-23 when he described goodness as a fruit of the spirit? Paul doesn’t just mean to be good, however you define it. There actually is a concrete way of knowing what is good and what isn’t. We have God’s Word to help us with this. When we read the Bible, He fills us with His truth so we can discern between good and bad, right and wrong. It isn’t up to us to decide in the moment based on how …

Are You Arming Yourself with Worthless Spitballs?

I remember being a college student and sitting in front of the TV listening to the Georgia Governor Zell Miller speak at the Republican National Convention in 2004. He was talking about how Senator Kerry, then presidential candidate, was opposed to expansion of military forces. Governor Miller said, “This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, US forces armed with what? Spitballs?” The crowd erupted in a standing ovation. Agree or disagree, I have never been able to forget, “Armed with what? Spitballs?” I think this often what we arm ourselves with when it comes to sin: spitballs. Sin is deadly, and it is not Satan who sends us to Hell, it is our sin. Sin has ended the lives of millions of people, and has led people to end their life as well. Sin has caused countless health issues, depression, loneliness, fear, anxiety, and secluded life styles. Sin has led to division in families, and churches, business. It has started wars and psychotic mass casualties. …

Search For Truth in A Fog of Fatigue

Hell begins the day God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, and would have done… but did not do. – Johann Wolfgang Not too long ago I got a new Study Bible; kind of a fresh start and exploring a different translation. At the front, on the first blank white page all Bibles seem to have, I felt prompted to start a list. I wrote at the top of the page “Men After God’s Own Heart.” The first name which belongs on this list is David (see 1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). But he hasn’t made it on there yet, simply because I haven’t made it to his story yet. I wanted to jot the names down as I came to them, recognizing those who stand out in His story as being chasers and seekers of God’s identity and purpose. Men who desire His thoughts, adopt His will as their own, and are in friendship with Him. (I’ve got four names on the list so far.) …

Are Your Feelings Lying To You?

How many of us have found ourselves wanting to do what feels right? I have. Hollywood has taught us to “follow your heart,” but scripture says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9). So what do we do with all these feelings we have, especially when a big decision is on the line? Let’s take a quick look at the story of King Saul following his feelings in 1 Samuel 13. Saul hadn’t been king long and was preparing the Israelite army for battle against the Philistines. Saul could sense the fear setting in among his troops and they were scattering. Time was running out. The battle was near. However, Saul wouldn’t do anything without God’s blessing. Earlier, Saul was given a command from the prophet and priest, Samuel, to wait until Samuel showed up to offer the burnt offering and peace offering to receive God’s blessing. Seeing his troops fearful and time running out, Saul took matters into his …

Overcoming Fear of the Little and the Worst

-written by Betsie Richards Ever wake up with a mouse in your hair? I have and it’s quite a story, especially coming from someone who hates/fears mice, snakes, lizards, frogs, spiders, and clowns. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll ever die from a heart attack or I would have that night for sure. (Ask me for the story if you guys ever need a good laugh.) On some level, we all struggle with fear and worries.  Sometimes it’s over seemingly ridiculous things like small reptiles, but sometimes it’s over pretty significant things like your mom having cancer, financial concerns, losing a job or even a loved one. I read a quote from Beth Moore’s Breaking Free study that says, “Anything we exalt over God in our thoughts or imaginations is an idol.” Woah. Anything huh? Including the fears that I allow to take over my thoughts and influence the way I act? That’s pretty tough to swallow since idolizing is sin. I have a bad habit of letting my imagination run wild. It starts …

Are You Choosing to be Wise?

We have been studying 2 Timothy on Sundays for the last 4 weeks. As a pastor, I love Paul’s writings to Timothy. Paul gives him, a younger pastor, clear direction on what to do in his role. At the same time, he is giving us clear direction on how to live out the role of every believer. If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to read through 2 Timothy on your own. As we close this series, I’d like to focus on two verses: All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul understood that wisdom comes from one place: God. God has left us His wisdom in Scripture, written out for us to read, learn from, and live out. We know it is truth, and not just something that …

What Do You Know? Let’s Do Something!

A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool. -Joseph Roux Growing up, G.I. Joe was one of my favorite shows. Partly it was because my name is Joe and I thought somehow I would be able to become one just based on my name.  And, sadly, I’m still waiting for the call. But I do remember watching the cartoons and watching all the Joes fight against Cobra Commander.  After they inevitably won every episode it would always end with the tag “and knowing is half the battle!” Growing up, knowing was the priority for me. I needed to understand why something was important before it became important to me. Knowing was the first step and once I understood, then I would act. I still like to extensively study something and know every possible piece of information about it before I act. I usually live my life by two poignant statements: “Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.” – George V. Higgins …

Not Feeling It and Not Motivated

I know a lot of times when we hear people talk about their “quiet times” it often feels as though it comes easily to them. But maybe for you, it’s a struggle. When you hear others talk about their Bible reading, maybe you find yourself experiencing guilt or shame because you are not in the Word enough and you lack the motivation motivated to get started. I read this paragraph in “Messy Spirituality” by Mike Yaconelli years ago and immediately felt normal in my walk with Christ. After 45 years of trying to follow Jesus, I keep losing him in the crowded busyness of my life. I know Jesus is there, somewhere, but it’s difficult to make Him out in the haze of everyday life. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a godly person. Yet when I look at the yesterday’s of my life, what I see, mostly, is a broken, irregular path littered with mistakes and failure. I have had temporary successes and isolated moments of closeness to …

Are You a Believer or a Follower?

Recently through Scripture reading, I’ve come to this conclusion: there is a difference between a believer and a follower, especially when we are talking about Jesus. Christ Believer – Someone who thinks Jesus is God in human flesh. I think that is a pretty good description of a Christ Believer.  This person believes in Christ’ power, authority, and ability to save. But… (Couldn’t you just feel a “but” coming.) But according to scripture, we can not stop at, “I believe.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. – James 2:19 When Jesus walked around with His disciples, He healed many people and cast out many demons.  A common thing we see about these demons is they all believed Jesus was the Son of God.  They believed He was who He said He was, but what good did it do them?  They definitely didn’t become His disciples.  In fact, they often asked Him to go away and leave …

Speaking the Truth Within Community

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:14-16, emphasis added One common issue our counselees express in Biblical counseling is the feeling of being stuck spiritually. These believers usually read their Bibles at least occasionally outside of Sunday morning and spend time in prayer, but still feel as if they are not growing. I have been in that place, and so have many of my friends and family members. Often times, the underlying problem is a lack of biblical …