Purpose Statement

My holy ambition is to bring glory to God through the study of His Word. I am passionate about the observation, interpretation and application of God's Word in our lives.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where Are You Going?

The other day I was in a parking lot when a mother and her two daughters exited the store.  One of the daughters walked past the car and her Mom yelled "Where are you going?" The daughter turned around and strode back to the car door.  I thought about the mother's question  in light of a Bible Study on Philippians I have been doing. Paul in Chapter 3 encourages the readers to "Go on and go on and go on". He encourages them to have a singular purpose. Paul knew what he was called to do and he set his aim on that goal. He was to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.  Nothing dissuaded him.

What is your singular goal? What one thing is required? What one thing is necessary? We are so busy running around doing a lot of things. Even good things often weigh us down. We have more than one aim in our sight..  A good friend of mine encourages her children to "focus" when she teaches them in her home. I can her hear her say it in my head.  "Focus".  I think the Holy Spirit is often telling us the same thing. "Focus". There is only one thing that matters. Pursue Christ. Fight the good fight of faith. Hold fast and persevere. Live the Gospel. Let others see your testimony and realize there is a living God in heaven. What is your purpose? Where ARE you going?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

God the Father

Today I was feeling very discouraged and distant from the Lord.  I opened my Bible and read Romans 8:16: "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."  God is the creator of all but only those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ are called His children.  Adoption is such a radical doctrine in the Bible.  We who were enemies and alienated from God have been brought near.  Upon regeneration--coming to faith in Jesus Christ--we are treated and indeed become God's children. He is our Father in the very real and intimate sense.  He is close and personal and we are under His personal care.

God is our providential provider and our protector.  Such a truth helped me to rest in His heavenly care with childlike trust.  He works all things for good which means a growing likeness to Jesus Christ. He hovers near and sorts and sifts everything through His loving, sovereign and wise hands. It is here under His aegis that we are permitted to be vulnerable and emotionally transparent. We can lay our hearts bare before Him for He cares about us. That's what I did and the tears flowed down my cheeks. I came to Him with heartfelt needs. I cried for some time as I poured out my heart. He met me in that place. He moved quickly to comfort and to calm and I rest assured in His grace for that moment. 

As I pondered my relationship with the omnipotent God I was grateful that He did indeed call me His child.  He tenderly considers all that concerns me.  He is my Abba which translates "Daddy." It is a strong word and indicates a personally intimate relationship.  The Spirit we receive when we come to faith in Jesus sets the Father's heart on us as His own children. Here we have an antidote to anxiety and aloneness. We are His in the most intimate of ways. And even more amazing He is our Father in the most true sense of the word.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Matthew 18 is the chapter we studied in BSF this week.  The first part speaks of humility.  A humble heart makes a person great in the Kingdom of God. The second section is about seeking the lost. The third section is on church discipline and the fourth speaks about forgiveness. Jesus relates the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Essentially a slave is forgiven by his master for an unreal amount of money--10,000 talents. The slave in return refuses to forgive another slave his debt of some $20.00.  There are some lessons we learn here.

First, God is angry at the lack of forgiveness in our lives. We who have been forgiven much should forgive much. Second, forgiveness is an act of the will and not an emotional decision. We shouldn't wait until we FEEL like forgiving an offender. We do it in obedience to the Lord who has forgiven us so much!

Third, forgiveness means that we don't bring the issue up to the offender or any one else. It also means we don't dwell on it ourselves.  It releases the offender to the Lord and frees us in the process. Bitterness builds a prison that encloses its own architect.  Fourth, true forgiveness requires much humility.  It releases not only the offender but the offended. Such an act screams to the world's  "get even" or "some one is going to pay" mentality that Jesus Christ lives. He works through the hearts of His own. Is there someone for whom you harbor bitterness? Don't waste any more time. Offer a full pardon now with a concise yet sincere "I will forgive you" and thus be pleasing to the Lord.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

War of Words

The person who talks to us the most is ourselves. The estimates vary from study to study but our internal dialog impacts us greatly One pastor said that the greatest thing we can do is to quit listening to our inner dialog and to speak truth to our hearts.  As a man thinks so is he.  What we tell ourselves day in and day out is best framed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to preach truth to our hearts if we want to be transformed into the likeness of the Savior. 

There is much power in words. Proverbs 18:21 states: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit."  We must fight to preach biblical truths instead of the flesh or the world system.  Words don't create a reality but they do have consequences which at times can be severe. We can either use our tongues to build up others or tear them down. We can encourage or discourage them. We can affirm or condemn them.  We do the same inside our own heads. We are called to be good stewards of our speech.

Matthew 12: 36 is sobering: "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment." Our words have eternal significance. We must battle daily against negative and unbiblical speech.  Not only what we speak out loud but also what we think internally.  Meditation and memorization are two ways to better ensure that what you say lines up with what God says.  May we all strive to use our words in ways that please the Lord.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Right Thinking

The Bible puts much emphasis on the mind. The hallmark Scripture in Philippians 4: 8 tells us this: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."  We need to be people who take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ for as a man thinks so is he.

The mind we brought to the Christian life is carnal and worldly. The mind God wants for us is one that sets itself on things above and not on things below.  We must not change our thoughts but also conform our hearts into more and more Christ likeness.  The Bible teaches that the way we are transformed is to renew our minds. 

One of the greatest threats to our Christian walk is unbelief. It lies at the root of all sin against God. Gratefully the indwelling Holy Spirit can enable us to change our minds biblically and develop a Christ like one.  This verse stands as one of the clearest commands in terms of where to set our minds and thus our hearts. We are to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and praise worthy. It isn't easy to corral the unbiblical thoughts that have been allowed to flourish for years. But as we consistently put them through this grid we can develop new habits of thinking. Thus bit by bit grow into greater obedience and become more like the Savior we serve.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hope for the Abandoned and Alone

In today's depersonalized world it is easy to feel abandoned or alone. Gratefully God promises so many times in His Word that He is with us. I have been meditating and memorizing Deuteronomy 31:8 "The Lord is the One Who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."  Genesis 28: 15: states: "Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.  Psalm 138: 8 says: "The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."

The omnipotent and omniscient God is with all who trust in Him. He is patient in guiding and wise in direction. He loves us with a perfect love. He is for us and with us.  He is on our side if we have trusted in His Son. Granted He disciplines us and sometimes severely so.  But His ultimate goal is His glory and our good. He will perfect that which He has begun.   It is comforting to know that in spite of some very hard circumstances He has the whole world in His hands as the song says.

Gill's commentary declares:
God is able to do it, and none can hinder him; he has promised to do it, and he is faithful who will do it; and his glory is concerned in it; and it may be depended on it will be finished; he is a rock, and his work is perfect.
Matthew Henry states:

         "Whatever good there is in us, it is God works in us both to will and to do. The Lord will  perfect  the salvation of every true believer, and he will never forsake those whom he has created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Antidote to Gloom

I have been focused on two verses to day found in Isaiah 58: 10-11:
And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

The prescription for  gloom is to focus and meet the needs of others.  We are not to merely look out for our own personal interests but the interests of others it states in Philippians 2: 3-4.  Depression and gloom often have a self absorption component.  God intends for us to perform acts of mercy and kindness.  It reflects the Savior we serve.  When we live for others we end up being like springs of water whose water never fail.  We refresh others and are ourselves refreshed.

When we live for ourselves we flounder and sometimes end up in deep despair. When we pour out our lives for others, we are full and joyous.  It is very easy to slowly give in to a selfish approach to life. It is our default position. But God says that small mindedness and a self serving life ends badly.  As we turn away from us and turn our attention to the others, gloom lifts little by little. The fresh water of God's grace fills us with joy and we bubble over joyously in the lives of others.