1 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.
OK – put on your thinking caps – imagine with me – what is the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life? That’s an ice breaker of a question when you get together with friends for a party this weekend – lol. It might amaze you what some have done – if they are honest with you. They might be amazed at what you confess – if you are honest with them. You can even play it with your parents when you have passed the statute of limitations if there is such a time frame with your parents. I heard of some telling their parents some of the things they did when they were younger – at times with a good result and at times not!
When we think of our sins – we often quantify them – from worst to those little things we hardly think are worth naming. Yet we are reminded that sin is sin and even the smallest sin separates us from God and needs forgiveness. Read more »
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
No one subject speaks to this passage more than the subject of homosexuality in my humble opinion. Society and even the church at times has allowed what they want to hear to impact their interpretation of Scripture and sound doctrine. I have written about this subject on several occasions because I believe the way some in the church are dealing with it strikes at the core of Biblical authority and sound doctrine. Here are some articles I have written on this subject.
It is a heated and charged issue. It is political and religious at the same time. How society treats the subject should not impact how the church treats the issues. Dr. Jim Denison wrote an article that I believe deals with the subject of Homosexuality and the Bible better than most. Dr. Denison is a subject matter expert on cultural and contemporary issues. He founded the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, a nonsectarian “think tank” designed to engage contemporary issues with biblical truth in 2009 and is the author of seven books, including Radical Islam: What You Need to Know. For more information on the Denison Forum, visit www.denisonforum.org. To connect with Dr. Denison in social media, visit www.twitter.com/jimdenison or www.facebook.com/denisonforum. Read more »
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Who is your counselor? Who do you go to for advice? Is there someone you go to in times of need to advise you? Growing up – some of us turned to our parents – some of us to our older siblings and later some of us to our peer group. We didn’t always get good sound advice in all of these situations – but at times maybe. In school there were guidance counselors – at times they were good and at times not so good. I’ve heard some of their counsel – and it isn’t always the best (I’m sure that depends on the counselor). In the church people come to their pastor for advice at times and at times they go to professional counselors to be advised. So – who is your counselor? I hope you have one – I know I have several.
This term counselor is how Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit. The Greek term used in today’s passage is Parákleetos – translated counselor by NIV but it can also be translated as comforter or advocate. Any of the three sounds like the Holy Spirit is there to help us. It makes me wonder why so many resist or turn away from the Holy Spirit. Read more »
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
I remember growing up – always wanting to do what my father was doing. I remember going hunting with him when all I could carry was a toy rifle. We would sit for hours waiting for the squirrels to come out. I remember my first time out with my .410 shotgun and seeing the squirrel through the woods and waiting for it to arrive at the nut tree we were watching. I tried to do what my father would have done – as he watched me imitate him.
When I was growing up – I remember playing first base and third base (not at the same time – lol) and I remember trying to imitate Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson – two of my favorite players. On our home at the time there was a brick chimney and I use to bounce balls off of it and try to make great plays fielding the ball like they often did. I could always make up a game in my mind. Read more »
1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Testing the spirit of someone is not easy – because so many people put on such good airs. Testing the spirit of what one hears is not easy either. Discernment is a gift and it is a gift we should all cultivate in our spiritual lives. I heard a wise pastor once say to his congregation – don’t believe a word I say because I say it – but rather compare what I say to the Word of God to see if what I say is of God. I have tried to model that statement in my years of ministry and have even used that phrase myself.
In a world filled with cults and false teachers – and even wolves in sheep’s clothing – even among the church members. People need to be discerning. How can we discern truth? How can we discern the Word of truth? Here are a couple of Scriptures that we can turn to in discerning if a person is of God or not – if a person is speaking truth or not. Read more »