Seeking God in Our Pain

Seeking God in Our Pain

“Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.” Psalm 78:17-18 The Psalmist recounts the multiplicity of blessings God bestowed upon Israel during the Exodus. The more God gave them, however, the greater their expectations and the more difficult they were to please. This seems to be a common malady among humans. Affluence tends to anger people more often than it fills them with gratitude; you would think the opposite would be the case. It seems pain was the only way God could get their attention: “When he slew them, they sought for him; they repented and sought God earnestly.”1 It is easy to take God’s blessings for granted, allowing His goodness to create unrealistic expectations. The more He gives us the harder time He has pleasing us. When that happens, He uses His rod to break our ingratitude. Ingratitude for your circumstances is a sure way to “test” God and provoke His anger. If you are like I, you would rather learn to be grateful for the circumstances in which Providence has placed you, rather than being broken to a place of repentance by the heavy hand of God’s displeasure. 1.   Psalm 78:34 For more articles by Walt...
Are you teachable?

Are you teachable?

“And when He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?’” Matthew 21:23 Jesus performed miracles in the presence of scribes and Pharisees, and they asked Jesus this question. “Doing these things” pertained to the miracles they witnessed. Assuming that Jesus was unable to control the natural order, who gave Him the authority/ability to alter the natural order? If I see what I believe, rather than the opposite, how do I avoid what these religious authorities did? If I saw a man performing miracles, and he preached as truth that which differs from my understanding of the Bible, how would I respond to him? Jesus therefore answered their question with a question, to which they responded: “…but if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.’” Matthew 21:26-27 How do I avoid allowing culture to shape my assumptions of reality? All are teachable. The question remains, “From whom will I learn?” When I say a person is not teachable, I merely suggest that he refuses to learn from me. For more articles by Walt...
Grace and Truth

Grace and Truth

I have been very troubled and concerned by a thinking I am finding in the Christian movement. It is now being displayed and revered in the institutional Churches. In a nutshell, what it is saying is that Grace trumps all aspects of the discipleship life (i.e. our response to Truth-Obedience). They say because of the love from God, we can disregard the warnings and provisions of the bible on commands (especially the Old Testament) and observations. God’s love checkmates His response of anger, our response of the fear of Him, etc. to our sin. We should focus on a true expression of love and have acceptance of all behavior. It is being said that no one or behavior should be criticized and especially from the pulpit. Also, there is a sensitivity that we might be hurting people’s feelings if we note their misbehavior and state they could be going to Hell. As the new generation says to me about the sexual deviancy, they were “just born that way”. This thinking is embedded in this generation, so much so that a leader of a major church said to the congregation that we need to ignore commands or observations from the Old Testament. He was not challenged but applauded. I have seen, over my life, this concept /thinking in the Church. So much so that today’s church has been neutered. Here is a sample of some of the compromises that I have witnessed over the last 70 years in the “family” church. The thinking and direction was compromises so the church could stay relevant with the culture. 1. Any reason is...
Stewardship Part Two

Stewardship Part Two

Stewardship Part Two “So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 These words reflect the attitude of those who think biblically. The ethos of the whole of Scripture teaches that God created you for Himself – for His own good pleasure. When you invest that which is entrusted to you, or when you seek to use that which is entrusted to others, this is your mindset. No one can tell another what this looks like. Each believer must look to God in making a determination. Solomon, King of Israel, looked at life and concluded that it is vacuous. “Here is a grave evil I have observed under the sun: riches hoarded by their owner to his misfortune, in that those riches are lost in some unlucky venture; and if he begets a son, he has nothing in hand. Another grave evil is this: He must depart just as he came. As he came out of his mother’s womb, so must he depart at last, naked as he came. He can take nothing of his wealth to carry with him. So what is the good of his toiling for the wind? Besides, all his days he eats in darkness, with much vexation and grief and anger…There is an evil I have observed under the sun, and a grave one it is for man: that God sometimes grants a man riches, property, and wealth, so...
Stewardship Part One

Stewardship Part One

Stewardship Part One “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” 1Corinthians 7:23 We learn at least two important truths from this verse: 1) – We do not belong to ourselves; we are not autonomous; we belong to the One who purchased us at the price of His life. 2) – We should never be the slaves of men, irrespective of who we are. This is foundational for a proper understanding of stewardship. The dictionary defines stewardship: “A person who manages for another his property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another.” This means that you, and everything you have, belong to Christ. He purchased you. Your responsibility, therefore, is to steward that which belongs to him. You own nothing. Every decision you make, how you spend your life and the assets God gives you, how you handle all relationships in life – must be made based on the question, “What does my Master want done with what belongs to Him?” In the final analysis, this is an issue of what you believe. Do you think, when Christ died for you, that He set you free to live for yourself? The Bible says, “And He died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:15 The Psalmist said, “For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places...
Coveting

Coveting

“Mortify…covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5 Possibly no sin in the believer’s life is more pernicious and difficult to identify than covetousness. Paul says, “I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’”1  Coveting is one sin that the conscience cannot identify as wrong; it is wrong because God says that it is wrong. For me personally, I find that even after God says that covetousness is wrong, I still have difficulty identifying it in my life. When do desire, anticipation, and other forms of temporal hope, become sin? How do you know when you have crossed the line between wanting something and coveting? As I have meditated on this, I conclude for myself that I cannot know. It seems to me, however, that God affords certain indicators that help in this effort. When anticipation becomes expectation, resulting in disappointment, the line probably has been crossed. A lack of gratitude may be another indicator. The presence of anger and experiencing stress are also possible indicators. The absence of such indicators does not eliminate the possibility of covetousness, but they can become warning signs in our lives. Lord, help us to be alert to your warnings in our lives! 1 Romans 7:7  “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shall not covet.” For more articles by Walt...