Friday, July 31, 2015

Good Seed, Rich Soil, and Abundant Harvest

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

Jesus was great at using everyday experiences, nature, and common things to teach His disciples about spiritual life. One day He was with His disciples and a large crowd gathered around them. Jesus seized the opportunity and talked with them about seeds, soil, and harvest.

Three things…

First, a thought about the seed. Jesus explained that the seed was the Word of God. It is good. It is cast out by means of a sower to be planted in the lives of others — you and me. When I say it is good seed, I’m only declaring what the prophets said about it. Like Isaiah who, speaking for the Lord, wrote, “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” [Isaiah 55:10-11].

Second, a thought about the harvest. Like Isaiah, Jesus said the seed would produce a harvest. Isaiah said “it always produces fruit.” When Jesus talked about the harvest, He said it “yielded a crop; some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirtyfold” [Matthew 13:8]. That’s quite impressive.

Third, a thought about the soil. The ground upon which the seed was scattered was the main point of the Lord’s teaching that day. The condition of the soil determines harvest. That’s why, along with the soil, Jesus talked about weeds, thorns, rocks, and other things that “choke” the growth the seed.

The parable is not that difficult to understand. Jesus used the relationship between seed, soil, and harvest to make me cherish the precious nature of His Word, the life-giving seed. The harvest is inevitable when the Christ follower gives full attention to, gladly receives, and learns from the Word. That’s the good soil pictured in the parable.

Jesus went on to say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” [Matthew 13:9]. As we begin our weekend activities, let’s make every effort to open our ears and prepare our lives to receive the life-giving seed of the Word. I don’t know about you, but I want to be fertile, rich soil that produces a harvest for His glory.

Then Jesus told them many things in parables saying, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. Matthew 13:3

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Let’s Talk about Righteousness

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

When was the last time you had a conversation about righteousness? Let’s face it, very few people talk about righteousness anymore. Maybe it conjures up more questions than answers. Can anyone really be righteous? Is it a desirable trait? Who gets to define it? Is it really necessary for this life, or just the life to come? How can it be attained? 

We may not talk much about righteousness, but God certainly does. Scriptures like Psalm 11:7 [and many others] declare the righteousness of God… For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright

How is He righteous, you ask? He is morally right in every respect. Even His thoughts are pure and holy. He is flawless in word and deed — He doesn’t make mistakes so there is no regret for any of His actions. 

What if I told you that that is exactly what God expects of Christ followers. Perfect love for God. Unwavering trust. Undying commitment. Unblemished obedience. Selfless sacrifice. Persistent patience. Endless your-needs-are-more-important-than-mine attitude. 

“Impossible,” you say? Then you are in agreement with God. “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one” [Romans 3:10].

God is serious about righteousness and we should be as well. But we have a problem, don’t we. We are fallen creatures who haven't yet, and quite frankly, can’t produce it. Since being righteous is so important to God, wouldn’t you know it, He has made it available to us. It comes to us by means of a phrase from the prophet Jeremiah, “The LORD, our Righteousness” [23:6]. 

God, Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, was a perfectly righteous man. He took our unrighteousness upon Himself when He was nailed to the cross. His sacrifice counts as ours. A “Hallelujah” or any “Holy Grunt” would be good right here! As Paul told the Corinthian Christ followers, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” [2 Corinthians 5:21].

Every Christ follower can rejoice in real righteousness that comes from our real, and righteous, Savior.

The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:5-6

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How do I know God’s will?

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

How do I know God’s will? I’ve never documented it, but that is the question that I’m most asked about as a pastor. Should I take the promotion? Which college should I go to? Is he/she the one? I had a person tell me one time they thought that God was toying with them, making His will difficult to find. Friends, God is not like that at all. He hasn’t buried or hidden His will to make you search for it. Heaven forbid. He delights in your knowledge of His will. In fact, I think God wants you to be filled with it. Listen to Paul’s prayer for the Colossian Christ followers:

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” [1:9].

Here are a few ideas that may help you.

God’s will is not a feeling. You may be expecting warm fuzzies to accompany God’s will. Don’t wait for a feeling when you’re trying to figure out God’s plan for your life. Feelings are unreliable and may guide you down the wrong path. 

God’s will is not a formula. There is no step-by-step guide in knowing God’s will. It’s not like following a recipe; no room for mistakes there. Think about it. If there were 100 steps in knowing God’s will, what happens if you leave out number 53?

God’s will is better understood in your relationship with Him. You will not find a technique for knowing God’s will in the Bible. You will, however, find hundreds of verses about having a dynamic relationship with Him. The better you know Him, the less confusion there is about His will. 

Develop your relationship with God. Everything else is secondary.

Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:17 - The MESSAGE Paraphrase 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shaped by Difficulties

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

Listening to some Christ followers, you’d think that there should never be any difficulties in life. The way they tell it, you expect that God will ALWAYS…

Bless us
Protect us
Put us at ease
Dote on us as His children.

It reminds me of a line in the 1971 “Love Musical” by Ottis Skilling, “Some think of God like a vending machine; pop in a coin and He makes a scene.” But God desires something greater for us, much greater — Tribulation!

I saw a poster once that captured my attention. It pictured a crusty ol’ cowboy on a cattle drive, dirty and dusty, with rivulets of sweat running down his face. He was rugged looking, yet he looked weary after a long day on the trail. Squinting past you, the caption revealed his thoughts:

“There were a lot of things they didn’t tell me when I hired on with this outfit!”

That cowboy might as well have been any of the disciples, or you and me for that matter. 

The Christian life is not without hardship. Peter wrote, “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you” [1 Peter 4:12].

God shapes us through difficulties. Real growth can come no other way. More than our comfort, God wants our Christlikeness. Our brief life on earth is the only time when we can glorify God in the midst of struggle. 

Let’s join the likes of Peter and, as long as God will grant us life, to struggle well.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Monday, July 27, 2015

Facts and Faith

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

In the old black and white TV series Dragnet, Sergeant Joe Friday, would tell the people he was talking to, “Just the facts, mam/sir, just the facts.” That may be the right way to go in an interrogation, but it is not the best thing to see in life. The facts usually mean bad news. You paycheck is too small. The diagnosis was worse than you thought. Your biological clock is running out of time. Facing facts in real life is really hard at times. 

That’s where faith comes in. As Christ followers, we need to face ALL the facts. God has to factor into our thinking as well. The facts in this life are not all there is. 

The godly Hezekiah knew that. Jerusalem was being threatened by the powerful Assyrians under Sennacherib. While his army was demolishing Lachish, he sent emissaries to Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 32:9-10 records part of what they asked Hezekiah: “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege?’” 

Here are the fact they were asserting:

Assyria has never lost.
The gods of other nations haven’t saved them.
Hezekiah’s own city of Lachish would soon fall.

Fear could have gripped Hezekiah if these were the only facts available to him. But he also knew facing facts includes faith. He had the Lord’s promises. So he responded to the facts by calling on Isaiah the prophet. They prayed together [wouldn’t Isaiah make a great prayer partner!]

Their reaction teaches us a tremendous lesson. When the world besieges you on all sides with hard facts, remember your strength lies in the Lord God—not in the arm of flesh. When facing real life facts, add to them a few of your own because of who you are in Christ Jesus. Things like:

You are not forsaken [Hebrews 13:5].
God’s provision, or seeming lack of provision, has your good in mind [Deuteronomy 8:3].
You will not die until God says it’s your time to go home [Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16].

These, too, require faith.

As we begin our week, remember to add to the facts you see, the facts that are unseen. Behind your faith is something greater than anything you face. 

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.” 
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence. 
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you. 
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked. 
9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways. 
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:1-12

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Lofty Goal

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

From the “Golden Rules of Goal Setting” by MindTools, to the “Four Simple Goal Setting Ideas for 2015” by Forbes, management experts know the value of setting goals. Someone has suggested that a life without a goal is like the captain of a ship without a map and a compass. His ship will just drift aimlessly from day to day hoping to arrive somewhere. 

Perhaps that’s why the apostle Paul had set a goal for himself. It really was the “ultimate” goal — “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” A lofty goal indeed. 

Goal setting is important in that, if it is truly a goal, one will set a course to achieve it. It’s a decision to act, to work, in order to reach it. It’s a map, of sorts, and for Christ followers, they depend on the Lord as the compass to provide the direction He wants them to go. It’s more than a dream, it’s acting upon the dream. It’s not, “I wish I could,” it’s a declaration of faith.

Are you striving for the “upward call of God?” It’s a lofty goal. Declare it. State your goal by faith, then press on. Lay the groundwork to reach you goal by means of the Word and prayer. Delight yourself in the Lord and His instruction. You’ll be amazed where His compass will lead you!

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ready for Duty

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

I can’t count the number of biographies I’ve read about D. L. Moody. What a man of God! My favorite story he tells is about hearing Pastor Henry Varley say, "The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”

I’ve pondered that statement many times…mostly in conviction. What gets me is what he didn’t say. He didn’t say that God would work through the most intelligent person or the most gifted person. He didn’t say God would work through the richest person or the most famous person. The wise pastor said that God would work with and for and through the person “who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”

Moody was radically changed by that. Truth is, it should radically change us too. Think about it; God isn’t looking for people with amazing intellects, computer skills, or voices. He’s not looking for the people with the highest SAT scores or GPA. He is searching for those who will simply say, “I’m here, Lord. I’m available. Use me whenever and wherever!” 

That kind of walk requires a daily, no, a moment by moment dependence on God. It requires a focus on important spiritual matters like, “The cross before me, the world behind me; No turning back, no turning back.”

I hunger for that kind of walk with God, don’t you? So let’s do something about it. When I was a missionary in Germany in the ‘70s, I knew a young soldier named Butch Bradley. He gave his heart to the Lord at our Christian Servicemen’s Center in Fuerth [near Nurnberg], Germany. When his alarm went off in the morning, the first thing he would do is stand at attention, salute, and with great enthusiasm say, “Good morning, Lord. Private First Class Butch Bradley reporting for duty!”

Reporting for duty; Ready for service; Fully and wholly consecrated to Him! 

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah  6:8

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

God's Will

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

A woman once asked John Wesley what he would do if he knew that he would die at midnight the next day. "Why, Madam," he replied, "just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning, after that I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I would then go to Martin's house…talk and pray with the family as usual, retire myself to my room at 10 o'clock, commend myself to my Heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in glory.”

John Wesley seemed quite confident that He was walking in God’s will daily. Is that you, or are you like so many people who wonder what God's will is for their lives?

Wesley seemed to embrace Paul’s admonition to the Romans that he present his body as a living sacrifice to God [Romans 12:1]. A living sacrifice; we could all work on that, I’m sure. But it doesn’t stop with our bodies. We also need transformed and renewed minds. This will put us on the path to best attest God’s pleasing and perfect will. 

It’s Wednesday and we are half-way through the work week. It’s a great day to offer our bodies, minds, and hearts to the Lord, and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to His perfect plan for our lives. God’s will may not be as mysterious as you think. It may be that you continue your regular routine, knowing that the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord [Psalm 37:23].

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Christmas in July

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

A friend of mine sent me a FaceBook message yesterday reminding me that there were only 158 days left until Christmas, and that I should be thinking about the gift I needed to buy him — a Ferrari. Good luck with that!

But that really got me to thinking. As a Christ follower, we live Christmas and enjoy our Christmas gift every day; the gift of God, Himself. Truth is, He has given us a lot of gifts…

His WORK: on the cross and in resurrection means no guilt of sin and no fear in life [See Romans 5:1 and 2 Timothy 1:7] .

His STRENGTH: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” [Philippians 4:13].

His LOVE: we are inseparable from it [see Romans 8:35-39].

And so much MORE!

Who can imagine such priceless gifts? Who can imagine not opening them!

Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion; tell the world about His unforgettable deeds. Psalm 9:11

Monday, July 20, 2015


Encouragement for your daily walk with God

Because of recent political activity, I’ve sent letters and eMails to all my elected representatives including the President of the United States. I’m not holding my breath for an answer to any of them. It’s quite apparent that there is a direct correlation between how high a government official's position is, and how accessible that individual is to regular citizens. The higher the position, the less accessibility. Take the President, for example. An ordinary citizen cannot expect to pick up the phone and have a conversation with him, much less expect a return call. And you most certainly would never barge into his office unannounced and expect to talk with him.

I’m glad God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, is not like that. His authority far exceeds that of any potentate, and yet He is accessible. By all rights, who are we to set foot in His presence? For one thing, He is holy and we are not. That alone should banish us from His presence. Yet, the apostle Paul said we have been granted access to Him, with freedom and confidence, all because of Christ Jesus.

Think about that for a while. Imperfect and not-so-holy people are privileged to go in — to the very throne room — and have an audience with God. That can only happen because Jesus took on our sinfulness. He did that on Calvary’s cross and was cast out of the presence of God. He took the punishment we deserve. Now, all Christ followers, because their sins have been washed away by His blood, are free to approach God. His perfection is theirs through faith.

What a great thought to begin the week. Faith in Jesus means that you can approach God fully confident that you will not be turned away. Furthermore, you have His undivided attention!

In [Christ] and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

Friday, July 10, 2015

God’s Way—My Way

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

It seems so easy at times to question God. After all, He doesn’t choose to do things I want Him to do, or the way I want Him to do them. I have my way, and He has His. I’m sure if God put up an eternal “Suggestion Box,” we’d fill it to overflowing with how He could “improve” things. 

Thankfully, He doesn’t do things our way. His plans are ALWAYS better.

Why should God take advice from any of us? Our abilities and wisdom are limited. The truth is, we misplace our car keys and can't keep most of our houseplants alive [at least, that’s me]. And yet, we find ourselves advising God on how to run the universe. How foolish. Which of us knows better than God!

God sees things from an eternal perspective. His abilities, well, they’re endless. His wisdom, flawless. Who can fathom the complexity of the universe? God can, and does. He created it and sustains it by the word of His power [Hebrews 1:3].

As we start our weekend, let’s go and be in awe of God’s plan. If you really think about it, His plan is better than yours. Ponder the painted sky at sunset. Marvel at the innumerable stars spread across the night’s sky. God did that. If He can create and maintain that, He can handle your problems and mine. 

Greater yet, look to Jesus. There you will see God’s perfect plan for your salvation through His death and resurrection. God has a perfect plan for you.

1    Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
2     “Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge? 
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4     “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand. 
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it? 
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone— 
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8     “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb, 
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness, 
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place, 
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

Job 38:1-11

Thursday, July 9, 2015

When the Majority Is Not Right

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

The majority is not always right. Take Israel, for example. If the majority had ruled, they would never have left Egypt. That’s right, if a vote had been taken, they would have stayed in bondage. David is another example. If the majority had ruled, he would never have fought Goliath. By vote, David would have been sent back to tend his father’s flock. 

You may be asking, OK Rick, what’s your point; so what? The point is, we must take to heart what is written in the Bible — listen to what God says, not what the majority says. 

Sometimes Christ followers question if things will turn out right when they do what is right. Or they’ve tried to do something right and nothing goes as planned. Don’t worry about the outcome, do what is right. The prophet Micah told the people of Israel, “The LORD has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God [Micah 6:8 - bold emphasis added].

Do what is right. It really doesn’t matter what the majority says. When you do what it right, God knows.

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bread of Life

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

I ran across an interesting factoid the other day. It came back to me as I was reading the book of John this morning. It said everyday, Americans spend 67 minutes eating or drinking as their primary activity and another 24 minutes eating or drinking while doing something else. If my math is correct, that’s just over an hour and a half each day! [Data taken from a USDA blog] Man, if only that “Happy Meal” would last just a little longer…like forever!

Jesus made a shocking claim. He said He was a bread that if eaten, one would never die. Even the disciples were stunned by such a claim. Of course we know that He was referring to spiritual life. 

Natural food, as good as it is, cannot provide what we need to satisfy our deepest need—our spiritual hunger. It is not the solution for our guilt or physical and eternal death. Furthermore, it is totally inadequate to supply us with any hope of a right standing before God. Physical food just can’t do that. But Jesus can.

Jesus handed Himself over to death that you and I could have life. So do as He said and “eat this bread.” You’ll discover the truth of the psalmist who said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” [ Psalm 34:8].

Believe it. Enjoy “eating” Him every day by ingesting the Word of God. Learn about who He is and what He can do. He is the “Bread of Life.” Feeding on Him provides abundant life now, and evermore.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:51

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Encouragement for your daily walk with God

Most of you reading this blog post will not be able to name the Oscar winning, Best Original Song at the 32nd Academy Awards in 1960 from the movie Hole in the Head, but I’m sure you know the song. Frank Sinatra made it popular, and it peaked at #6 on the Billboard Charts in 1959. The song was High Hopes.

The song spoke about an ant we all know about. You know, the one who couldn’t “move a rubber tree plant.” Then comes the famous line, “But he had high hopes.” We’re left with a picture of a hope-filled ant that not only moved the “rubber tree plant,” but also who punched a hole in a “billion kilowatt dam!” “Can’t” vanishes from our thoughts. Overcoming the impossible fills the void. 

The despairing gloom of sin overshadows this sin-sick world. Is there no hope? Yes, there is. His name is Jesus. John the baptizer said of Him, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overtake it” [John 1:4-5].  

Life in our Lord Jesus sweeps away the darkness both in this life and the one to come. He endured the cross and rose victorious over death. He loosened sin’s grip and opened the gates of heaven for us. The impossible has become possible — “For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins” [Colossians 1:13-14].

Now, nothing, not even death itself, can darken our bright future. Why? Because our hope is already stored up for us in heaven. Maybe an ant can't move a rubber tree plant, but our Lord Jesus still does the impossible. In Him, we have the highest of hopes!

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. Colossians 1:3-6a

Monday, July 6, 2015


Encouragement for your daily walk with God

Here is a biblical truth that some Christ followers forget: the Bible knows nothing of Lone Ranger Christians. There is no such thing as a solitary saint or Christian hermit. God never intended Christ followers to be isolated from other Christ followers nor a Christ follower to be deprived of fellowship. We belong to each other. 

Listen to Paul’s exhortation to the early saints. We are put together, joined together, built together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, held together, and we will be caught up together [1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:21-22, 3:6, 4:16; Colossians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:17].

To be sure, your relationship with Christ is personal. Absolutely. But God never intended that relationship to be private. As a Christ follower, you are connected to every Christ follower. We belong to each other now and forever. 

The world has corrupted the idea of membership. To Wall Street types, members are nothing more than mailing lists to offer exclusive discounts. Some churches have gutted membership by simply adding your name to a roll with no expectations. That is so unlike God’s way of thinking. Membership in the body of Christ is like being a vital part of a living body. You are interconnected and indispensable. You are needed for the body to function as it should [Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 6:15; 12:12-27].

In that sense, connection to the body fortifies your faith and strengthens you to fulfill your mission in life. There is nothing else on earth like the Church, the Body of Christ.

In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Help We Need

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

I have over 40 translations of the Bible on my computer. This morning, I chose the New English Bible as I read the book of Romans. The wording of the first part of Romans 8:26 caught my attention: “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness.” I wanted to take my highlighter out and mark up the monitor!

The word “weakness” can refer to the body, like the invalid unable to walk for thirty-eight years [John 5:5], or a spiritual impotence, like the “utterly helpless” [Romans 5:6]. Weak in soul or weak in body or both, there’s a grand finale in verse 26, “… the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us…” 

That’s good to know. The Holy Spirit is interceding for us. That’s the kind of help we need.

 The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness. Romans 8:26a

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Love Talk

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

When describing love to the Corinthian Christ followers, Paul talked about it both positively and negatively. Paul put rudeness on the negative side. “[It’s] not rude,” he said. This is especially true of how we talk. The Greek word translated “rude” in 1 Corinthians 13:5 means, shameful or disgraceful

God calls Christ followers to a higher level of speech. Paul said, “Speak the truth…” And we should. Never back away or back down from truth. But, “Speak the truth…in love” [Ephesians 4:15]. 

Don’t I have the right to speak my mind? Sure, but if you’re going to let it rip, immerse it in love. Don’t I have the right to dominate the conversation and speak condescendingly? Yes, but is it loving to do so? 

Love talk matters in every area of life. While it is within your right to bark at the grocery clerk, snap at your wife, and yell at your kids, is it the loving thing to do? I didn’t think so!

[Love] is not rude. 1 Corinthians 13:5