Sanctification

139 posts

Faith + Courage = Gentleness

Gentleness requires at least two things: faith and courage. Faith Authentic gentleness is part of the Spirit’s fruit. Thus, faith is the only way to access the power of gentleness and show the wonder of gentleness.   Courage To do anything that is possible only by the power of God’s Spirit requires courage. Why? Because to follow God in any area means to deny the desires of our flesh. Being biblically gentle is not natural.  Now if you think being gentle is weak and non-confrontational, then you might not see why courage is needed. However, the Spirit’s idea of gentleness is all about confrontation and strength. Let me repeat that. Gentleness is about confrontation and strength! When a harsh or […]

The Unexpected Blessing of Criticism

Proverbs has some profound things to say about receiving criticism.  Solomon warns against living for the praise of others. Learning to wisely receive criticism is a life skill that will serve you and your children well. This skill offers protection from everything to falling prey to sexual temptations or from making poor business decisions. For example, a little boy who craves praise may well grow into a husband who will be angry and disappointed when he is not constantly praised. He can easily be prone to self-pity. This can lead to a man who will be withdrawn, sullen, or even abusive.  Similarly, a young woman who lives for the praise of others becomes a target for those who would take […]

Don’t Let Truth Slip Away

It was time for Israel to grow up! For forty years Israel had known God’s special protection very much like what you provide for your children before they leave home. Manna was provided for them every day. The lived under the safety of the giant cloud that provided shade during the day and light at night. Their clothing and sandals did not wear out. Once the people crossed the Jordan River, things would be different.  The Israelites had experienced the direct hand of God in their lives in ways that would never be repeated. Their children would only know about these things if their parents taught them. Here is what the Holy Spirit directed Moses to tell his people as […]

The Devastation of a Wandering Heart

Solomon warned about the destruction of an unguarded, wandering heart in Proverbs 4:20-27. Verse 23 gets most of the attention in this passage: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. However it is important not to miss the warning that follows to keep your feet and eyes, that is, your heart and your body, from wandering away from what is right: Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Solomon is retelling the hard lessons he learned from his father, […]

Which Question Will Your Teenager Answer?

An unexpected temptation arises in the life of your teenager.  She was not planning to make a life-altering decision, but the moment arrived nonetheless.  When this moment occurs, your teenager will ask one of two questions: “What do I want to do?” “What does God want me to do?” Joseph was confronted by a passionate and powerful woman demanding to have sex.  He was alone in a pagan land.  Rejecting the advances of this woman would surely bring both pleasant and unpleasant consequences. Yet he had just one question on his mind: How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God? So, Joseph literally ran from the temptation before him. He was more motivated by what would […]

Mr. and Mrs. Lot: “We Can Handle This!”

Abram and Lot had a good problem. The Lord had blessed them abundantly, so much so, that they needed to separate because the land could not sustain them both. Abram offered a gracious plan to Lot. He told Lot to choose the direction he wanted to inhabit and he, Abram, would go in the opposite direction. It was a generous offer! However, Mr. and Mrs. Lot made a choice that did not reflect the honor of God as Abram’s did. Standing on the high plains, they looked down at the rich and lavish lower valley of the Jordan River. They chose what was best for them, or so they thought. The land was well-watered and beautiful, earning the name “The […]

Are You a Hypocrite?

Hypocrisy is something you cannot avoid. You tell your children not to fight and then you argue with your spouse. You tell your children God is in control and then you become angry or despondent with the circumstances of life. You tell your children to put God first, and then you realize you told them that for selfish reasons.   Your children are intimately aware of your hypocritical tendencies. It is as if a child is born with a fully-functioning, super-sensitive hypocrisy checker built in. Hypocrisy: something you and I cannot avoid! What can you do? You begin by telling your children is the natural state of all humans. That means that you, just like your children, will at times […]

In the Presence of My Enemies 

Psalm 23 ends with God stating what is always true. A feast is always available for the sheep of God’s pasture. This psalm reminds us that no matter what our circumstances appear to be, the good Shepherd is always caring for his sheep.   What does this mean when you inhabit the dark valleys of life?  The human heart is capable of journeys immeasurable delight and equally immeasurable despair. David, the shepherd, the king, the father, the sinner knew these highs and lows. He danced with joy and he wept bitter tears of loss. He won conquests against overwhelming odds. However, he, like us, often lost his battles with his flesh. As this psalm says, David knew the peace of […]

Aggravating People

When was the last time you encountered an aggravating person? It is possible it was only a few minutes ago!  The truth is, you should not be surprised when people are aggravating. God wants you to be prepared for aggravation. It is time to stop being shocked that people sin or see things differently than you do.  Isn’t that negative thinking? No, it is just realistic thinking. The Holy Spirit tells you to be ready to deal with people who are aggravating and irritating. Being prepared can turn potentially negative situations into positive ones. Here are four passages that will help you to be a blessing to aggravating people: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another […]

The Unique Gift of Joy

God provides his people with unique gifts that make life special. One of those gifts is joy. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can bring the wonder and endurance of joy to the human experience. Joy is the fruit of his Spirit given to you by virtue of your new birth in Christ.  The world around you knows a sense of joy because of the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. (Acts 14:17) However, the fullness of joy is found only in the wonder of Christ. Because true joy is the fruit of Spirit it touches every part of your life. Whether in happy times or sad, in times of plenty or want, the joy of the Holy Spirit […]