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Showing posts from November, 2015

Watch Your Mouth

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Several weeks ago I was asked if I would be willing to do a workshop at an upcoming Ladies’ Retreat. At the time, I had nothing really in mind that would make a useful contribution. I knew that the main speaker’s theme was going to be on holiness so my mind began to drift in that direction. What aspect of holiness would make a good workshop?

With more than just a little prompt from the Holy Spirit, I landed on the theme of language—what comes out of our mouths that probably shouldn’t. It’s a theme that has niggled at the back of my mind since I began to hear language that made me shudder from people I didn’t expect to hear it from, and on occasions that I never imagined remotely appropriate for its use.

My research on the subject has revealed some startling things—including things about some the words and phrases I often use. There is a red flag—I am not the language police and I don’t want to come across as one who is playing that role. What I want to highlight is our need to avoid …

Yoked

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"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?" —2 Corinthians 6:14-16a, NIV

One of recurring themes of the Old Testament was Israel's interaction with the nations around her. She was to be a witness of God's grace in a pagan world. At the same time God was very specific that there were to be no intimate relationships established with her unbelieving neighbours particularly in the areas of intermarriage and worship (i.e. Ezra 9:10-15).

These instructions are picked up again in the New Testament. In these verses from 2 Corinthians we discover Paul asking some pointed questions about the relationships being built between the Corinthian believers and the society around them.

But how do we reach unbeliever…

Follow Those Footprints

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I was distracted. That’s a poor excuse. Somewhere in the delivering of the study last night I mentioned that I found it more difficult to multi-task with the passing years. I guess I proved my point—at least to myself. My mouth was trying to say one thing while my mind was struggling with something else. The result was, what felt like at least, a very disjointed Bible study.

When I was making some sense, we were talking about walking with the Lord. The study launched from the two Scriptures in Genesis 5 and 6 that describe Enoch and Noah, Enoch’s great-grandson, as men who “walked with God.”

In my devotions this morning I was reading Hebrews 12, a passage rich in material that felt like a follow-up to last night’s study. The first two verses, familiar as they are, were particularly encouraging and challenging.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with persev…

Growing Up

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The old saying, “practice makes perfect” rings true when you read the author’s words in Hebrews 5:14. “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Both the latter part of Hebrews 5 and the beginning of Hebrews 6 have to do with moving on from the fundamentals of the faith to spiritual maturity.

The author’s concern is with the apparent slowness of his audience to catch on, describing them as children who need milk instead of meat, “…for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child” (5:13). The challenge is to “…leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity…” (6:1) marked by an ability to wrestle with good and evil and choose the good.

It is in the application of truth that we discover just how much of what we have come to believe is actually rooted in our hearts and not just recorded in our minds. Discernment, the ability to di…

Comparing Ants to Elephants

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The trouble with Hebrews—though “trouble” is perhaps not the right word—is that each chapter is so rich in material that it is difficult to choose what to focus on, and impossible in a blog post to cover it all! To extract just a little piece seems tantamount to desecration. So I urge you to become a student of the Word yourself and read the rest of the chapter so that you can feel the richness of the teaching. The tendency today is for people to look for a word FROM God rather than learn from what He has already given—the Word OF God. There is no further revelation other than what the Scriptures give us. Don’t be fooled by cheap imitations.

Hebrews 2:8b, 9 (ESV) says: “Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of…

The Hand at the Wheel

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Did you know that there are 100 kinds of crabgrass, or that there are somewhere between 2000 and 3000 different kinds of jellyfish? How about 12000 known kinds of ants or 3500 kinds of mosquitoes? It’s pretty common knowledge that every snowflake that falls is different in design from every other snowflake. When you are talking about the amount of snow that falls yearly in my part of the world, you are talking a LOT of snowflakes!

For most of us this is what trivia is made up of—lengthy lists of information that really doesn’t make a huge impact on our lives—except, of course, for those of us who are anticipating another winter of snow.

I googled all this “trivia” for a reason. One of the studies I lead is based in the book of Genesis and we spent our last session talking about the creative genius of God. As I was moving from one book to another in my own devotional time, I decided to read Hebrews and sure enough, the  first chapter is yet another reminder of that genius, this time f…