Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tickling of the ears

2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."

Is this not a description of our world today?  Truth is relative.  Each wants to live according to their own desires. We want someone else to take care of our needs (aka government) while we live how we choose (independence).  We give our allegiance to an earthly king (aka president), forgetting our Heavenly Father who wants to have a one-on-one relationship with us and is our only true King.

Where is the church?  How have we become so irrelevant that people shun the thought of even walking through our doors?

Where are God's people?  Have we been so beat down that we are afraid to voice God's truth in the marketplace, in our sphere of influence?

God is calling us to rise up, to become relevant, to be the Jeremiahs, Timothys, Pauls, Isaiahs, prophets of our days.  We cannot remain silent.  Our silence is sentencing people to eternal fire and damnation.  God desires that ALL come to a saving knowledge of Him.

Will you do your part?  Will you allow Him to speak through you?

Lord, give us ears to hear Your voice.  Keep us in Your Word to learn Your truths.  Give us opportunities to share Your love and free gift of salvation with a lost and dying world.  Amen.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Right Tools

When I was in school, the teacher told us how to organize our desks to be most efficient.  Make sure you had everything you needed - well-lit area, clean desk, pencils, pens, ruler, etc. - before you started on your homework.  They said having the Right Tools would make you more efficient and help you do your homework better.

Today, we were trimming our lemon tree.  After cutting the dead branches, and the overgrown ones, I dragged them to a shady area of the lawn.  I got my trash can, lined it with a lawn size trash bag, grabbed a cushion to sit on and my pruning shears.  As I trimmed the branches into smaller portions that would fit into the trash can, I reflected back to the school days and the organization of my desk.  Because I organized my task ahead of time, I was able to enjoy the shade and the outdoors, and calmly, methodically complete my task.  It was a very pleasurable experience.

I was thinking how this could apply to many areas of life.  A little advance planning, organizing the workflow, makes the task at hand proceed more efficiently, and you feel good when it's done.

Ways that I apply this are:
  • Grocery store shopping - plan menus, make a list, look at the sales.  These steps alone will get you in and out of the store faster, and will save you money.  For menu ideas that come with a shopping list, try
  • Bible study - get your bible, your notebook, pens, beverage, and study guide.  Having everything laid out helps me put my mind in the mood to hear from God.  A time of prayer asking for His wisdom as I seek to learn from Him is the very best tool.  Other tools I like - free apps like Bible and MySword (includes Strong's Hebrew and Greek Lexicon plus other tools).   Online websites like are additional helpful tools.
  • Work - clean desk, pens, pencils, rulers, computer, tape, stapler, notepad.  Write-out your to-do list the night before, or first thing in the morning.  Don't check email all day long - check it at certain intervals. Turn off the email notifier on your computer and smartphone. Keep social media to a limited amount of your day.  Focus on one task at a time until it's done.  Distractions kill your productivity.  If you can't proceed with the task at hand, make a list of things needed and don't start on it again until you have everything you need.
The Right Tools will help you in every area of your life. Organization helps define your task so that you have a sense of accomplishment when it is done.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Scripture interprets Scripture

In my study today, I came across a troubling verse - Acts 13:48 "All who were appointed for eternal life believed."  This was from Paul's first missionary journey.  My first reaction - what?  only certain people are appointed for eternal life??  But, then, I was told by my instructor, Beth Moore in the study "To Live is Christ", to allow scripture to interpret scripture.  Here's what we found:
  • 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but EVERYONE to come to repentance.(NIV) (emphasis mine)
  • John 1:12-13 - Yet to ALL who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (NIV) (emphasis mine)
Beth Moore goes on to show us the meaning of the word "appointed".
Tasso, the original word for appointed is used figuratively in the New Testament and means "to set in a certain order".
She goes on to say that a paraphrase of Acts 13:48 might help.
"When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed (next in order) for eternal life believed." In other words, the Jews in Pisidian Antioch had been given their opportunity; and now it was the Gentile's turn. 
This struck me this morning.  In recent weeks, I've become increasingly concerned over biblical illiteracy.  Some methods of bible study encourage you to read a passage, observe it (whatever jumps out at you), and then apply it to your life.  Through teachers like Beth Moore and Kay Arthur (Precepts), I've learned never to take anything at face value.  Dig deeper.  To the above method of Read, Observe, Apply, I add Investigate.  Find out what the scripture means.  Here are some ways you can do that:
  1. Read the entire passage to grasp the context.
  2. Look up words in their original form, like we just did for "appointed"
  3. Allow scripture to interpret scripture.  Don't just take a commentator's word for what it means - many of them disagree!
  4. Investigate - ask yourself who, what, when, where, why, how
The best way I know to investigate scripture is Precepts, which means Truths.  This method uses scripture to interpret scripture, using Greek and Hebrew definitions of words.  You can find studies for individual and group settings at

I challenge you when reading the scriptures, don't take verses and claim them by themselves without investigating the truth, the context.  The example above shows where one could easily be confused by examining just one verse, and not knowing the true meaning of the word "appoint".  Allow God's Precepts, His Truths, to come alive to you through His Word.  Allow Him to be your Instructor, using His text - the Scriptures.

May God's blessings be upon you as you investigate His Word.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Lately, I've been hearing a lot about eternity and I've been pondering what it all means.  Christian speakers say God has placed the longing for eternity in all of our hearts.  I found the verse in Ecclesiastes 3:10-11:
 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Whether one believes in God, most of us believe there is something after this life.  Most of the world's religions describe an after-life of some sort.  Some describe becoming their own god and ruling a planet.  Some describe a reward of hundreds of virgins for dying for a cause.  Let's look at the eternal life described by God, the creator of the universe.  In John 14:1-3, Jesus comforts His disciples by saying:
Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in Me.  My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.
 He has given us glimpses of what He is preparing for His people, by allowing some to temporarily pass from this world and return to tell their story.  Two stories that made a huge impact on my view of heaven are:

Ninety Minutes in Heaven, by Don Piper. Don Piper shares his experience in heaven when he died for 90 minutes here on earth.  When speaking about singing and music in heaven, he says:
"I didn't just hear music.  It seemed as if I were part of the music." 
"I woke up to singing and found myself singing too."

Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo.  Todd's son Colton is given a glimpse of heaven, without dying.  His description matches verses from Revelation 21:18-21
(Colton speaking) "Hey, Dad, did you know Jesus has a horse?" (Dad speaking) "A horse?" (Colton) "Yeah, a rainbow horse..." (Dad) "Where are there lots of colors, Colton?" (Colton) "In heaven, Dad.  That's where all the rainbow colors are."
Rev. 21:18-21 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.  The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.  the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.  The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure transparent glass.
While heaven is beautifully described in these two books, there is another side of eternity.

Matthew 13:49-50 "This is how it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Mathew 25:41,46 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'...Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Do we get to choose where we'll spend eternity?  According to God's word, we do.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
I Timothy 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.

 Where will you choose to spend eternity?   I'm planning to spend it in the beautiful city with my Savior and fellow believers.  I hope you'll be in my neighborhood.