Sanctification

147 posts

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 […]

Praying for Fun

If you are like most people, you like to laugh and have fun. And if you are like most people you seldom pray for God to help you have fun. If you are a teenager praying to God to have fun may appear counter-productive: what does God have to do with having fun? That is a really good question!  As strange as it may seem, fun is God’s gift to us. If it was not for God we would have no clue that fun was even a thing! All the things that are good in life come from the hand of God. It is true that humans can distort the good things that God is given. But just because people […]

Specks & Planks

Jesus was the most extraordinary communicator in all of human history. He was the ultimate guide for bringing truth to everyday life.  So it is not surprising that his craft as a carpenter provided rich illustrations for his teaching.  Specks of sawdust were part of his life. He used words with the skill and grace of the ultimate master woodworker. His crafted vivid word pictures that connected his hearers to everyday life. Thus, in Luke’s gospel, he uses the common elements of his carpenter’s life to connect to my life and yours. Here is what Jesus says: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own […]

Who is the king of your heart?

It was about mid-day on a Friday. An anxious Roman governor named Pilate plead with the Jews for the life of Jesus. Pilate knew that this Jesus was innocent and though he claimed to be a king, he was not worthy of capital punishment.  But the Jews responded harshly to Pilate’s attempt to spare Christ. They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Blinded by rage and anger at Jesus, the Jewish leaders spoke from their darkened hearts. The long-awaited Messiah, Jesus, was not their king! Imagine the people of God shouting, “We have no King but Caesar!” It was a […]

Patience: You Can Trust God!

A judgmental spirit is a dangerous thing. It leads to doubt, mistrust and broken relationships. But there is another form of judgment that is even more destructive: the practice of judging God. When you begin to question God’s faithfulness, when circumstances are not what you wanted, you are actually judging God. When your general response to life is that life stinks, you are judging God. Why? Because the Holy Spirit says that God is causing all the events in your life to be a good thing for you. So, when you look at life and fail to see God’s goodness, even in the painful things, you are judging God. You are critiquing God based upon your perception of how your […]