Which Path to Follow in 2016?

Fork-In-Forest-darkerOne of the biggest questions asked is, “What is God’s will for my life?”  This question is even more popular at this time of year when we have entered a new year full of possibilities.  No one wants to miss God’s will for their life.  If you love Jesus, there is no where you would rather be.  So how do you know which path to follow in 2016?  God’s Word is not silent on the subject… Continue reading

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Anonymity and secrecy are a myth.  The recent Ashley Madison hacking scandal made this abundantly clear as over 30 million people were exposed as members of a website whose primary purpose was to help men and women connect to have affairs.  This exposure has left millions of homes and marriages shaken, and some broken beyond repair.
These 30 million people were lured into this trap under the promise of anonymity. “No one will ever know” was the promise/lie that led them to take this step. Now they find themselves exposed for all the world to see.
But what if this hack never happened? What if today 30 million people were still “secretly” pursuing an affair? No matter how secret your sins appear, Hosea makes it very clear that secrecy is a myth.
You may be able to hide your sin from your spouse, friends, or family. You may be able to keep those things in the dark, but ultimately, you are entirely exposed when it comes to God.  “He sees them all.”  “Small” sins or the big disgusting sins like Ashley Madison are all the same to a holy God.
Though we would like to point fingers at those on “the list” the truth is all of us have been laid bare before God.  Nothing is hidden.  This is why we all need Jesus.  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)
None are innocent.  To know Christ is to be honest about our sin and struggle.  To turn from it and to run into the merciful, forgiving, loving arms of God.  There we can find healing, forgiveness, and strength to go to war against the devil and the sinful tug of the flesh. So before you begin pointing fingers of accusation or boldly declaring “they’re getting what they deserve” stop and realize these men and women who have had their sins exposed to the world need Jesus to cleanse them…and so do you.

Advent Devotion 15 – Advent and the Tragedy of Newtown

Today’s Reading – Luke 13-16

As I sit here this morning, I have the images from yesterday’s tragedy in Newtown, CT running through my mind.  It is early and everyone is asleep except my six year old daughter who sits next to me on the couch as I type this devotion.  I can tell you that in light of yesterday’s events, my daughters are being held tighter today. All of us recognize how dark and depraved our society can be, but events like yesterday’s tragic school shooting where 20 children ages 5-10 lost their lives, remind us just how deep the evil can be.

In the midst of tragedies like Newtown, where do we find hope? Though we cannot fully understand they “why” in situations like this, God gives us tremendous hope through His word in times like this.  The following is an adaptation of John Piper’s article following the 9/11 tragedy.  His original article can be found here. Continue reading

The Election, God’s Sovereignty, Our Mission

I hesitated to post anything about the election results from two nights ago.  I realize it is such a volatile subject with so much emotion attached that such a post would do nothing but irritate an open wound for many.  However, leading up to the election I read many great posts on various pastors and authors blogs that helped my perspective remain fixed on the eternality of God in the face of what currently appears to be a very trying time for followers of Christ. Continue reading

Traditions

Mark 7:8-9 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish you tradition!” (ESV)

The Pharisees had developed a secondary set of man-made laws and regulations known as the tradition of the elders. This was a list of hundreds of additional “laws” designed to protect people from becoming guilty of breaking one of the Mosaic Laws (God’s laws). The only problem with this was that the self-made authority of the Pharisees had blinded them and hardened their hearts. Jesus follows the verses above with the example from the Mosaic Law, “Honor your father and mother” being overthrown for the tradition of declaring all you have being “Corban” or dedicated to the Lord. They had given more importance to their tradition than to the command of God. Continue reading

The Purest of Silver

Psalm 12:6 – The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

It’s the political campaign season, and unless you live under a rock, you are well aware of the things that have been happening.  Politicians are some of the greatest salesmen in the world.  They are quick to tell you what you want to hear in order to win your vote.  The following video is a clip from the movie The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon.  This is not intended to be an endorsement of the movie or of Matt Damon, but I believe it serves as a great example of what I have described.  Continue reading

New Year, New Beginnings with Christ

New Years Day brings hope for so many. No matter how bad 2011 may have been, most people look at January 1, 2012 as an opportunity for fresh starts and new beginnings. The reality is that no matter what the date on the calendar says, each of us has an opportunity for a fresh start every day…in fact, no matter how well we feel our life is going, we NEED a fresh start each day.

Lamentations 3:22-24 – The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

You see, our hope for a new year and a better tomorrow doesn’t come from a resolution to eat better, or even to become more consistent in a spritiual discipline like prayer or bible reading. All of these things can be beneficial, but ultimately we all need a fresh dose of the mercy and grace of God, and Lamentations tells us that this mercy and love is freely given to us and will never come to an end.

So, as you begin 2012, don’t attempt to find hope in making yourself a better person by trying harder. The only way your 2012 will be better is with more Jesus. Enjoy the fresh and new love and mercy that God has for you this morning and recognize “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in Him”! When this happens, there is no limit to what God can do in and through your life in 2012.

Rest in Jesus!

A Humble Response to the Controversy over Hell

There is a lot of controversy swirling in Christian circles over the topic of hell.  Rob Bell’s book Love Wins has been the catalyst of a lot of debate and discussion.  In the video below, Francis Chan provides a very humble response to the question, “How could a loving God send someone to an eternal hell”?  I encourage you to approach questions like these in the way that Francis describes.  We must be humble!  Even though some of the concepts we read about in the Scriptures may seem harsh or opposite to our idea of who God is or should be in our mind, we must understand what Isaiah 55:8-9 tell us. Continue reading