Your Thought Life

Your Thought Life

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7 In one sense, you are the sum of your thought life. What you think reveals what you are. Although how you look forms externals that disappear upon death, what you think you take into eternity with you. All permanent change in your life takes place by altering your perception of reality. You respond to the opportunities and imperatives of life on the basis of two things: First, what you think you can do. If you do not believe you are capable, you will not try. A man who does not believe that he can swim does not voluntarily dive into deep water. Second, what you believe you ought to do. Some things in life you may believe that you can do, but do not believe you ought to do. For example, you may believe you can wash clothes, cook meals, work in the garden, or paint the house, but this does not mean that you believe you ought to. In order for you to perform according to the expectations of God, you must believe you can do what He says and that you ought to do it – i.e., the particular command applies to you. Foundationally, you must believe that what God expects from you He will empower you to do, and that your faithfulness in meeting His expectations will make an eternal difference. If either or both of these are not firmly in place, you will not perform. For this reason you must saturate yourself with the Word of God. For in His Word you will...
Balaam’s Sin

Balaam’s Sin

Balaam’s Sin “…which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” 2Peter 2:15 When Christ addresses the church at Pergamos, He charges them with the sin of Balaam: “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”1   Numbers 22-24 records the incident where Balak, the king of Moab, requested God’s prophet Balaam to curse Israel on the Exodus. God refused to allow Balaam to curse His people, and so Balaam counseled Balak to engage in sexual promiscuity with Israel, thereby ensuring God’s curse. Jude and Peter tell us Balaam did this because he lusted after the wealth promised by Moab. Lust and covetousness are essentially the same; when you lust you covet, and vice versa. The object of your coveting determines what you call it. For the football player it may be being inducted into the pro hall of fame; for another it may be becoming the richest man in the world; for those in academia it may be becoming president of an Ivy League school; and so forth. Although it may be difficult on occasion to distinguish between a legitimate desire and coveting, whenever you break the commandment of God to attain your goal, you know you have committed the sin of Balaam. Balaam was endowed with a marvelous gift; God made him His prophet, which meant that he could...
Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Neither Poverty Nor Riches

“…give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” Proverbs 30:8-9 Most wealthy people handle their wealth poorly, allowing it to warp their values and hurt their lives. Admitting this to be true, most people who are not wealthy nevertheless feel that they are an exception; they can handle wealth. The love of money finds its origin in our desire to avoid the pain of financial insecurity. The phrase “he is financially independent” means that he is insulated from the gyrations of an uncertain economy. God does not want you “independent,” but rather dependent upon Him. People perceive money as the key to freedom, and thus their goal is in conflict with God’s goal for them. The servant of Christ understands this tension between his appetite and God’s will, and prays for the balance between poverty and riches. He knows in his depravity that he can err in either direction of greed and pride; in his greed he steals and in his pride he renounces his need of God. He asks and receives not “because he asks amiss that he may consume it upon his lusts.” (James 4:3) Agur, the writer of this proverb, offers a prayer that is an accurate test of a man of God. He seeks for deliverance from both extremes, knowing that greed can easily overpower his conscience. He throws himself upon the mercy of God, asking that the Lord give him...
Preparing For Judgment

Preparing For Judgment

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” John 5:22 How do you prepare for the day when you must stand before Jesus and be judged by Him? Obviously, you must school yourself in being His obedient slave. As Jesus Himself modeled: “…I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30  More than life, you want to please your Master, even if it means appearing foolish in the sight of others. A slave should have no expectations. If you view yourself as the property of Jesus Christ, and He does something you do not like, if He offends your sense of justice, that is His prerogative. When you take His yoke, you go and do what He wants, not what you want. You are involved in the lives of people because that is His will for your life. Again and again Scripture reminds you that people will abuse you. Even though you are fair, helpful, and kind to others, it is unrealistic to expect others to treat you the same way. Because you understand your depravity and propensity to sin, you prepare for Judgment by living a life of perpetual repentance before Him. You are best served if you condemn yourself before God and hope that He will see things differently when He judges you, rather than justifying yourself and finding that He sees things differently when He judges you. For more articles by Walt...
The Twin Pillars of Faith

The Twin Pillars of Faith

“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Isaiah 46:10 If you desire a satisfactory relationship with God, two pillars must be firmly anchored in your life. You must believe that He is in control and that He has your best interest at heart. The sovereignty of God must be a deeply held conviction. When my son was dying of leukemia, a friend wrote, “I don’t know how this tragedy came about, but I do know that it did not come from God. God is not in the business of killing little children.” As I pondered his observation, I concluded that if God did not kill my son, then I have a far greater problem than my son dying. I worship a god who is not in control. God was not sitting on the edge of the universe chagrined over the disease that ravaged my son’s life. As I held my son in my arms while he slipped into eternity, I knew that I was experiencing the beautiful handiwork of God. This naturally leads to the second essential pillar: The goodness of God. God is good. He is incapable of doing anything but good. The debate, like so many debates in life, is over who gets to determine what good looks like. Do you truly believe that the hurts of life come from the hand of a good God who only does what is best for you? The writer of Hebrews, quoting from the Psalmist says, “The Lord...