Dose of Truth
by Brent Barnett
While reading Proverbs chapter 1 the other day, this verse (v. 4), in which Solomon shares his purpose for writing the Proverbs, just jumped off the page to me: "To give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion." I remember my teenage days in church. At one church, the youth all sat in one section and goofed off during the entire service. Once I sat with them rather than with my family where I usually sat (and was expected to listen), and I couldn’t concentrate on the message whatsoever. The other teens were constantly trying to talk, whisper, ( Click for more )
Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address just before the civil war, in an attempt to reconcile the South and the North, appealed to the "better angels of our nature" as a means of seeking reconciliation and peace. Barack Obama, presidential candidate and current senator, in a recent interview was quoted as saying that man has a "core decency" and that we should possess a certain "optimism about people." This is an absolutely outrageous view given what we know about mankind throughout history and more importantly in the Scripture. Unredeemed man ( Click for more )
The Bible gives us a great promise in 1 John 1:9 when it says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Although this verse is in the context of a sinner coming to salvation, it is also true that God forgives His children when they sin if only they would come to Him and, in an attitude of repentance, ask to be forgiven. God’s grace is so great that it can cleanse the sinner from his sin so that he or she can become a child of God, and it is so great that even when we as the children ( Click for more )
When it comes to our eternal destination, no element of Christian theology is more important than that surrounding what we believe about salvation. In fact, concerning maintaining an accurate gospel message, Paul says in Galatians 1:8-9, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!" Paul says the same thing twice to emphasize that the gospel will ( Click for more )
The church at Corinth had a lot of sin issues that they needed to deal with, and Paul confronted them about these in the book of 1Corinthians. As he drew near the end of his letter, he summed up his heart for them by saying, "Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God I speak this to your shame" (1 Corinthians 15:34). The Bible is clear that God doesn’t want us to continue in sin supposing that grace might then also increase (Romans 6:1-2). Such is foolish thinking, for it is grace which sets us free from the power of ( Click for more )
Life comes at us fast. Some times good things happen, and other times we face an onslaught of difficulty after difficulty. When the waves of strife drive our faces into the dirt, we must not give up, lose heart, or stop trusting God. But lest "trusting God" becomes a mere cliché for us, God has ordained things for us to do to keep our minds fixed upon Him. It is a willful act that we must do to think on Him and remember Who He is and what He has done. As Paul says in Colossians 3:2, "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." ( Click for more )
No believer should ever have to feel lonely because of the many brothers and sisters in Christ that he or she has, yet for one reason or another, it is possible to feel intensely alone at times. Perhaps a person is recently widowed. Maybe a house full of children is suddenly empty as the children move away to start their own lives. Perhaps a spouse abandons the other or emotionally checks out on the relationship. Maybe none of the other kids at school accept a lone individual who becomes an outcast. Then again, maybe society looks down on a certain person because of race, age, past ( Click for more )
The Bible gives us some excellent counsel (as we would expect) as to how we can persevere when difficulty and temptation come. God’s desire is that we run the race of faith fervently, diligently, and to the finish, so let’s look at an instance in Moses’ life to glean some direction as to how we can better persevere in our own lives.
Exodus 7:9-13 says, "So Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.’ Joshua did as Moses told ( Click for more )
Along with a proper understanding of the sufficiency of the Bible, understanding the sufficiency of Christ is a fundamental pillar for living the Christian life and for developing proper theology as we grow in faith. Either Christ has all power and strength, or He does not. Either He is the One we need to depend on, or He is not. Either He can enable us to walk by faith, or He cannot. Sufficiency is an all-or-nothing concept, and we must decide whether we accept that Christ is indeed our all in all or if we are trying to cipher away some of His glory for ourselves. Thus, given that ( Click for more )
In his letter to the Corinthian church (which we know as 1Corinthians), Paul spends a great deal of time explaining to the Corinthian believers that the wisdom of God is perceived as foolishness by the world (1 Corinthians 1:18). In fact, Paul says that the gospel is not naturally palatable to the world, and it is only because of the mercy of God that some even receive this message of "foolishness" (1 Corinthians 1:21). The way that leads to destruction is wide while the road to life is very narrow. Few find it, and thus few will respond in faith to the gospel ( Click for more )
Feelings are a very confusing thing if one tries to think about what they actually are and what they actually do. One thing is for sure, feelings are powerful, and they can significantly impact our thinking and our choices. Thus, we must understand what they are and how to best live as human beings whom God made with feelings.
In some circles, it is taught to suppress or ignore feelings as if desire or passion of any kind is dangerous and deadly. This kind of thinking stems from poor theology about the nature of the believer’s heart. If we believe the Scripture which says ( Click for more )
Psalm 16:11 says, "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." The Bible is very plain that the only ultimate longing of the human heart is a relationship with God. In fact, empty religious ritual or even fervent service in ministry will not satisfy the soul. And of course, indulging in anything the world promises will satisfy never will. The only true soul satisfaction comes from cultivating our relationship with God through Christ, and this must be attended to regularly so that our joy ( Click for more )
Do we honestly think that if Eve realized the severity of the consequences of her choice and that she was being tricked by the devil that she would have eaten the fruit? If she had known that the fruit would destroy the joy and paradise that she had and force her into great pain and strife, do we really think that she would have eaten the fruit? The obvious answer should be "no." If she had known and seen the truth, she wouldn’t have sinned against God. Such is the nature of deception: it is unseen, unrealized, and, thus, dangerously deadly.
We are familiar with ( Click for more )
In John 3:3 Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." There is only one way into the kingdom of God and that is by repenting of sin and turning to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We must be born of water (repentance and the idea of the washing away of sin) and of the Spirit, being changed from the inside out and indwelt by God Himself (John 3:5). This is important because, according to the Scripture, there are only two kingdoms, and they are in opposition to one another. There is the kingdom of darkness, Satan’s ( Click for more )
If the Word of God is food, which the Bible says it is, then the church must feast upon it in order to be healthy. But in order to feast upon the Word, the church must first believe the Word. If the church fails to believe the Word, then they won’t choose to eat it, they won’t understand it, and they won’t live and apply it. Thus, when the church begins to pick and choose what parts of the Bible it wants to accept, it will inevitably become malnourished, weak, defeated, and deceived. It makes no sense for us to cut out fruits and vegetables from our diets because ( Click for more )
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says, "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." There is an obvious, intentional contrast that is set up in these verses. First, we must note that God is the same, the same Spirit is behind the giving of gifts, and the same God is the One Who enables the using of the gifts. The theme is thus sameness and unity because ( Click for more )
A grammatical error on the powerpoint, a misquote by the pastor, a blunder by the song leader, food poisoning at the potluck- these are all standard parts of life as a church body, and we can all deal with them, hopefully laughing about them later and not getting angry at one another. Yet there are other things that happen at church that can be tough to get over.
I know of plenty of horror stories within church circles, stories of authoritarianism, manipulation, thievery, lying, fornication, adultery, and so on. I have been in church long enough to see many professing Christians ( Click for more )
Ephesians 5:18 says, "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." Paul is purposefully setting up a comparison here between drunkenness and the filling of the Spirit. Drunkenness, of course, is wrong, whereas the filling of the Spirit is desirable, even as stated here, commanded. Drunkenness and the filling of the Spirit do have some things in common, which is why Paul would attempt to compare them. In both instances, the person acted upon either by the alcohol or the Spirit of God is controlled by that which is influencing ( Click for more )
The Bible doesn’t give us an abundance of details as to what heaven will be like, but it does give us what we need to know. After all, how could we possibly fathom all that God has stored up for His saints to enjoy and experience? If we could understand heaven fully now, it wouldn’t be much to look forward to. But, the God Who is able to do even above and beyond what we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), will create a new heaven and a new earth that will transcend any feeble attempt by our present earthly imaginations to be able to conceive of what heaven will be like. ( Click for more )
Have you ever been in a place of utter confusion, hopelessness, or despair? Have you ever felt like giving up or giving in to sin? Perhaps discouragement has crashed in, or circumstances have driven your face into the dirt. Perhaps you just can’t keep from hanging your head because you are so down, depressed, and dejected. What do we do if we find ourselves in a pit of despair or a filthy mire of our own making? Where do we go when all seems lost and there seems to be no way out? Does hope remain, or is God distant and a mere giver of empty promises or promises that hold true ( Click for more )
There are many directions a person can take in life, but the Bible says that as we make decisions, either we can be wise or fools. If we want to be wise, we must start by dealing with our hearts in that we must be sure that we fear the Lord and have surrendered our lives to Him. Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Those who fear the Lord are those who have true wisdom, understanding, and insight as to what this world and this life is all about. They are those who do not waffle when it ( Click for more )
What a joy it is to be adopted into God’s family as a child of the King! John 1:12 contains such a wonderful promise that "as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." It is indeed a most wonderful privilege to become a child of God when we receive Christ into our hearts as Savior and Lord. Yet, are we always to be children?
It is tempting to think of ourselves always as children of God, given that we will always be sons and daughters of Him, but the Bible suggests that we are no longer ( Click for more )
Proverbs 6:6-11 says, "Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest’-- your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man." Solomon instructs any who are prone to laziness to look at the ant, a tiny creature which accomplishes an incredible amount of work. What it ( Click for more )
We live in a culture and society that is consumed with self. Self-help books sell left and right, and they even have their own section in the local bookstore. Many are preoccupied with helping themselves to become all that they can be. Yet their error and the error which the books propagate is that the answer to change and growth can be found in us. The Bible doesn’t teach this at all, and it takes quite a different approach to dealing with self and how we grow as human beings.
The Biblical solution to self’s struggles and failures is for self to ( Click for more )
In God’s economy, no one has ever been saved by being righteous of their own good deeds. In fact, it is impossible for such a case to ever exist because man is born fallen and prone to sin (1 Corinthians 15:22). His heart misleads him, and he does wickedly (Jeremiah 17:9). The only Person ever to walk this earth and not sin was Christ, Who was not born of man but conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). Thus, He did not have inherent sin, and He did not sin. But the rest of us sin, and we all fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). The result is that ( Click for more )
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