It is Written...............

We are well aware that there is a lot that goes on in the name of Christianity that is far from Biblically-based Christianity.  I spend a lot of time teaching in developing nations (some not developing), and it is amazing what passes for Christianity in some places.  Because of the systemic poverty that abounds in Africa, the prosperity gospel (PG) movement is alive and well.

The prosperity gospel, as it is commonly called, promises wealth to those who cannot even buy clothes for their children or send them to school.  The lies of this theology don't come close to what God teaches us in His Word about our stewardship of money and material things, and yet impoverished people will hold out with desperation that it just might work for them.  It is truly one of life's saddest spectacles, not just for the victims, but for how the Scriptures are cheapened in this process.

Jesus said “It is Written” on several occasions to those who had abused the truth of God's Word.  He said it…

What Does it Take to be Content? Part 2

In the previous blog we discovered two important things about contentment.  The first thing we saw was the fact that contentment does not rest or depend on the performance of others.  If it did a person would be looking to mom, dad, a husband/wife, or literally anyone for the contentment they seek on any given day.  Paul reveals in Phil 4:10 that even though his friends among the church at Philippi hadn't helped him in months, he was not angry or feeling betrayed but rather was very much content.

The fact is biblical contentment is the ability to be satisfied with God's provision for me today!

How could that be true?  Paul demonstrates in verse 11 that he had learned to be content through a litany of life experiences he had gone through in his momentous ministry.  However, the word learned here does not guarantee contentment, it simply bears out the reality of contentment.  In verse 12 Paul uses yet another word in the Greek original which is also translated learned but means …

The Joy of Contentment

One of the key elements of successful living is the art of being content.  It's funny,  but contentment is similar to humility in some ways.  The moment you think you have learned humility you realize how proud you are of yourself!  The moment you think you are content with life, some shiny object attracts your desires.  It's really a never ending process in some ways.

However, Paul the apostle taught us how we can truly be content with what we possess, and I want to share his explanation today.  If you have read Philippians 4:10-14 you immediately see several things that contentment involves.  First, it's not about having everything you want, and, therefore, needing nothing!  That is an impossibility.  We always want more even when we have all we want at any given time.  Someone asked Joe Louis, the great boxer how much money it took to make him happy, and he replied, "Just a little more, just a little more."  In our passage Paul gives four clear principles whic…

A Parable about Persistence

Very few things come easy in this life.  The things that do come easy are usually not worth much or worth dying for.  Value in our world is normally tied to objects that either have intrinsic worth or become valuable through an extended period of time.  That is the way of the world we live in.  Why? The primary reason is the entrance of sin into our once perfect living environment.  When Adam sinned, his innocence was forfeited along with his unstained conscience and perfect garden world.  The roses that once bloomed constantly would now only be seasonal and would be joined by thorns and thistles.  What was a garden that only required light maintenance, if that, would now demand the sweat of the man's brow and the laborious toil of his hands.  The woman would bear children only through long, intense, and arduous laboring.  Nothing would come easy or without significant cost.

Life, therefore, demands persistence.  Edison, the great inventor, used to say of his incredible creative m…

How Much Time Do You Have Left?

Have you stopped to consider your life-span lately?  I'm not trying to be morose or bring on a dark mood, but it really is important to ask ourself these kinds of questions once in a while to make sure that we stay focused.  Now many will say, "Nobody knows when their time is up, so why worry about it?"   I couldn't agree more!  It is not something to worry about, but it is actually something to plan for!

I just got back from a fairly long domestic trip where we invested a lot of time (nearly a month) in our foundation, but intermingled were short jaunts to visit grandchildren and spend valuable time with those we love.  I can tell you that I spent considerable time preparing for nearly every day of that month.  No details were intentionally overlooked or minimized.  From on the road travel schedules to public presentations, we had to consider and plan a ton of minutia.  Sometimes it can get a little overwhelming!  But, I never regret the planning or the execution of…

Learning to Pray

The Christian life is based on relationship.  It is your relationship with God through Jesus His Son.  When a person trusts Jesus Christ to save him or her from the penalty of sin, that person is born into the family of God and becomes an adopted son or daughter with all the privileges belonging to Jesus Himself.  You now have a heavenly Father who stands ready and wanting to meet your physical and spiritual needs.  It is an amazing reality and one which most of us as believers either don't fully understand or appreciate or both!

One of the things that we can do as believers is pray.  Prayer is simply the communication of the believer with God  It can involve praise, worship, quiet meditation on God, but most of all it involves asking and receiving from a loving Father.  Many of us did not have normal, loving relationships with an earthly father so consequently we fail to understand how great our heavenly Father truly is to us, His children through Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said,

You hav…

Here is Something That Can Stop You!

I remember early in my Christian life I was growing like a proverbial weed when all of a sudden I realized that growth had slowed.  Then one day I noticed it had literally stopped.  Why?  I didn't know.  My Christian walk had slowed to a crawl, and I wasn't enjoying reading the Scripture anymore, but how could this happen?  I couldn't get to the bottom of it.

Over the next few days I saw the following verse in I Peter 2.  It hit me right between the eyes and forced me to do something that I would have probably never done on my own.  What was it?  Well, to be honest, it was failure to forgive.  I had harbored pure hate and anger in my heart for almost a decade toward my stepmother who orphaned me, my brother, and sister, and had stolen my late father's inheritance with the help of a crooked lawyer.

For years this hate had literally gotten me out of bed in the morning, and now the Lord, who had forgiven me all my sin, had shown me the toxicity of my own malice and anger…