God Believes in You!

Shelby

Last night I caught my five-year-old son reading in bed when he should’ve been sleeping. I asked him to give me the book and he did, albeit reluctantly. I reminded him that it was late and he needed to go to sleep because he had school in the morning. Then I put his book at the end of his bed and turned to leave. Luke couldn’t believe his luck. “Haha – I can get that book when you go!” he said with a wicked grin. “I know you can, but I hope you won’t. It’s time to sleep. Good night, son.” I closed the door and waited outside for a minute. Then I opened the door a crack to see if he … [Read more...]

The Bible is not a Rule-Book

groom-reading

Imagine it’s your wedding day. You’ve had the ceremony, and you’re starting to relax when the minister hands you a gift, a thick book of Marriage Rules. “Read this,” he says. “The secret to a happy marriage is found within.” You open the book with interest. Inside you discover many rules and guidelines: “Be honest, be kind, always tell the truth, listen well, keep your promises, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ freely forgive, don’t covet your neighbor’s wife,” and that sort of thing. Initially you think, This is gold! I want a successful marriage, so I will do everything this book … [Read more...]

Does God Envy?

envy

A misunderstood God leads to a misguided faith. If you think God is insecure and constantly assessing you on your performance, you will be insecure yourself. You will be forever wondering whether you have done enough to please him. Some time ago I wrote that God loves us unconditionally, that contrary to what some scriptures say, God is not a jealous God. How dare I contradict the written word? Well, I’ve met the Living Word and I can tell you that Jesus is the very picture of love and grace. However, the concept of a jealous God is hard to shake. We’ve heard so many times that he loves … [Read more...]

Acceptance Elevates Us

What is the 5th word?

When you know God is pleased with you regardless of your productivity, it will free you from the pressure to perform. When you’ve heard God say “Yes” to you, it will empower you to say “No” to the unhealthy demands of Pharaoh’s whip-cracking taskmasters. If you have been burning the candle at both ends trying to get ahead, a revelation of God’s acceptance will bring you to a place of rest. It will get you off the merry-go-round and sit you down in pastures green. But that doesn’t mean you will be idle. Those who wait upon the Lord renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). Paradoxically, those … [Read more...]

What if I Disappoint God?

GITW_5a_word

“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph 1:6, NKJV) We are accepted “in the Beloved.” Some take this to mean we are only in the kingdom because we have a friend in high places. This is misleading. It’s like saying, “God can’t stand you personally but as a special favor to Jesus he’ll pretend he can’t see you.” I know, it’s silly. Yet some Christians are worried sick that if God knew the secrets of their hearts he would kick them out in a heartbeat. In order to avoid detection they maintain such a low profile you could mistake them for … [Read more...]

The End of the Slave Trade

rejection

In this world acceptance comes at a price. If you want to be accepted you have to perform, you have to deliver, you have to shine. You have to be first in and best dressed. You have to close the deal and make the sale. You have to woo the girl and win the crowd. You have to dazzle the customer and impress the boss. In other words, your acceptance is determined by other people. To win respect and approval, you have to play by the rules others have set. You have to conform to their standards. Live like this and your legitimate need for acceptance will dictate what you do, where you live, how … [Read more...]

The Way

The_Way

“Lord, may this stone, a symbol of my efforts on the pilgrimage that I lay at the foot of the cross of the Saviour, one day weigh the balance in favor of my good deeds when the deeds of my life are judged. Let it be so.” Last night Camilla and I finally got to see the Martin Sheen movie, The Way. I had been wanting to see this movie ever since my friend Steve Hackman posted his review on it six months ago. But since New Zealand exists on the edge of the cinematic galaxy, we had to wait. If you haven’t heard, The Way is the story about a doctor who travels to France to collect the body of … [Read more...]

“The Misunderstood God” by Darin Hufford

Misunderstood_God

If you have ever looked at a couple of hormonal teenagers and thought to yourself, “Those kids don’t know the first thing about love,” then you may have a fair idea of how God thinks about some of us: We hardly know the first thing about love. You only have to listen to the way we talk to know that this is so. We tell others that we want to be “used by God” as if love ever uses people. We boast of our “commitment to Christ” as if the substance of love consisted of making promises. We testify that God has sent us into the wilderness or made us sick to teach us things as if God would ever do … [Read more...]

Top 12 Verses on the New Covenant

good-news

I have this strange idea that we should preach nothing but the gospel. Two reasons why: (1) Jesus told us to and (2) it’s the only thing we’re really good at. Any club or religion can teach you about good works and charity and seven steps to financial freedom, but the church has a monopoly on grace. You will never hear about the good news of grace except from someone who knows Jesus. The gospel of grace is such a matchless message that any time we preach something different, we are giving less than our best. “But Paul,” you may say. “There are so many needs.” Then preach the gospel! Need … [Read more...]

Your One Big Truth and the Wisdom of Puddleglum

Wisdom_of_Puddleglum

What is the most important lesson you have learned in life? Your answer to this question defines your One Big Truth. Your One Big Truth is the truth you cling to when all is lost. It’s the backbone that helps you stand and the keel that keeps you on course. It’s the spark in your imagination, the drive in your engine, and the peace in your sleep. Do you have a One Big Truth? Perhaps you’ve never thought about this before. Then consider Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle. Puddleglum is one of my favorite characters from the Chronicles of Narnia. He is grim, gloomy, and famously pessimistic: … [Read more...]

What Happens to Christians Who Commit Suicide?

suicide

What do you say to the parents of a Christian teenager who has just killed himself? I faced this situation several years ago and, I have tell you, it’s not easy. Premature death is hard to handle at any time but suicide leaves loved ones bewildered at its senselessness. It seems the subject of suicide is one of those sensitive issues that Christians don’t like to talk about. That’s probably because most of us don’t have anything good to say! Ask a believer, “What happens to Christians who kill themselves?” and you’ll likely get one of the following responses: 1.    They go to hell because … [Read more...]

What Happens to Unfruitful Branches?

the_gardener

Jesus said, “if you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15). In the hands of a religious person this becomes a conditional statement: You have to keep the commands of Jesus to prove your love. The problem with that, however, is the commands of Jesus are impossible to keep. As we saw in our last post, Jesus said anyone who keeps His commands, “will do what I have been doing and even greater things.” Well Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. Can you? On your own it’s impossible, but that’s okay because you know what? Jesus has a plan. In the very next verse He begins to tell us what it … [Read more...]