Dose of Truth
by Brent Barnett
Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Paul in this passage is praying for the Ephesian Christians to be anchored, strengthened, and established in their faith so that they will walk worthy of the calling with which they have been called, which is to walk in holiness and ( Click for more )
Sometimes as we go through life we can begin to feel as if God is absent, uninvolved, unhelpful, or that He doesn’t care. We might feel that our prayers bounce off the ceiling, we might feel as if God blesses others but not us, and we might come to the false conclusion that God isn’t at work in our lives at all. This is a sad, unbiblical, and dangerous place to be spiritually because it is riddled with lies straight from the devil. It is a direct attack against the very nature and heart of God, Who loves His children enough that He sent His own Son to redeem us. Our God ( Click for more )
Sin is typically the easy way out, being often a source of fun, pleasure, or distraction, albeit a temporary and destructive one (Hebrews 11:25). But sin is not God’s way, and the call for us as believers is to do what is hard and requires great faith and self-control. We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that sin is ever acceptable. Even if circumstances are ridiculous, horrible, or extremely difficult, we cannot justify or rationalize sinning. The reason for this is described in one very powerful verse. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken ( Click for more )
There are many ways to know for sure that we are in Christ, destined for heaven (1 John 5:13). When we see good fruit (Matthew 7:20), when we obey (John 14:21), when we love our brothers and sisters (John 13:34-35), and when we love God rather than the world (1 John 2:15) are just a few of the ways whereby we can know if we are saved. Yet there is another way that, as believers, we will all inevitably experience, though we don’t want to have to learn this way. When we let sin go unconfessed and continue to resist the conviction of the Spirit and the truth of the Word ( Click for more )
Worrying can seem like a prison from which we cannot escape, but there is a way out. We must come to understand, admit, accept, and believe that worrying does no good. It accomplishes nothing for ourselves or for anybody else. Worrying is completely useless. Jesus says in Luke 12:25, "And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?" Worrying certainly doesn’t add value to life or lengthen it. If anything, it diminishes the quality of life and quite possibly its duration because of added stress on our bodies. Worrying is destructive, ( Click for more )
The use of the term "abide" in the New Testament could also be understood to mean remain, tarry, wait for, to be held, or kept. There is a sense in which all true believers will abide because Christ is faithful to complete the work He has begun in them (Hebrews 12:2, Philippians 1:6). Thus, Christ can say in John 6:56 that those who eat of His flesh and drink of His blood will abide in Him. Those who truly embrace Him and receive Him as their Savior will be received as His children and will never be cast out of God’s family (Hebrews 13:5). Alternatively, those ( Click for more )
Philippians 2:14-16 says, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Paul has labored hard among the Philippians to bring them the gospel and to teach them such that they can grow to maturity in their faith. His concern is that they persevere ( Click for more )
We live in a world where success is defined in innumerable ways, most of which are wrong. Sadly, even the professing church has been prone to increasingly err in its understanding of true, Biblical success. Whether the pressuring voices come from within the church or without, we must not give in to their distortions and perversions of what God says success really is.
Paul says this toward the very end of his life, writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good ( Click for more )
"Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.’"
Contentment is a tough thing to learn, but our God is able to teach us. Even Paul spoke of having to learn to be content, as if it was a struggle for him for a time. He says in Philippians 4:11-13, "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how ( Click for more )
Many times in life things happen that we don’t understand, and we may wonder why. This is particularly difficult if we were of the mindset that this life is supposed to be fair and just, for it is not. Things can be further complicated if we erroneously think that faithfulness to Christ is a guarantee of blessing and reward in this life. God does exalt the humble, but only at the proper, or due, time (1 Peter 5:6), which could well be in the life to come when rewards and honor will endure forever. But if we were expecting God to reward us now or if we thought that God should ( Click for more )
When Paul, along with the support of Timothy and Silvanus, writes the first letter to the Thessalonians, he and his brethren are overjoyed to hear of the faithfulness and love of their brethren at Thessalonica. This church, into which these men had poured their lives, had indeed not succumbed to persecution from the Jews, but it had rather thrived and continued to grow. Paul and his missionary companions are sure to gratefully acknowledge the growth of these believers, but almost within the same breath, they eagerly challenge them to excel still more. These missionaries are aware ( Click for more )
Psalm 46:10 is a very well-known and comforting (and/or convicting) verse which speaks volumes to those of us who are prone to anxiety, worry, fear, and doubt. It says, "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The King James Version has the more often quoted phrase which reads, "Be still, and know that I am God." The Hebrew word from which we get the phrase "be still," raphah, could mean any of the following: to let drop, to forsake, to abandon, to relax, to let alone, and to be ( Click for more )
People are different. Some have dark skin, and some have light skin. Some are short, some are tall, some have straight hair, some have long hair, some have blue eyes, and some have brown. But the amazing thing that the world seems to miss is the transcendent and obvious reality that we are all human; we are all strikingly similar. We all have skin, eyes, hair, and so on. We all have minds to think, wills to act, emotions to feel, and bodies to live in. The similarities go far beyond the differences. The problem for humanity, however, is that something has gone wrong. We have a sin ( Click for more )
Most of us know the story of Jonah. We know that he ran from God, we know that he was in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights, and we know that he preached to Nineveh, at which point the entire city repented. God had told Jonah to proclaim to this wicked city that destruction and judgment was imminent if they would not repent. Upon hearing Jonah’s message of judgment, Nineveh repented. This greatly angered and upset Jonah. Why? Jonah 4:2 says, "[Jonah] prayed to the LORD and said, ‘Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? ( Click for more )
It is absolutely true that Christ died for sin once for all (Hebrews 7:27). His sacrifice encompasses all sin, past, present, and future. Ephesians 2:6 says that we who have repented and received forgiveness in Christ are even seated with Christ in the heavenly places. We are thus, in a sense of position, identity, and calling, totally forgiven and holy. Colossians 1:13-14 says, "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." As if speaking of a legal contractual ( Click for more )
Life can be very wearying at times for a variety of reasons. Perhaps we have wearied ourselves with our sin (Jeremiah 9:5). Perhaps life has just pushed us physically and emotionally to great lengths, and we are simply tired and worn out. Maybe we have reduced the Christian life to a legalistic system of standards and performance that has made living tiresome. If we have sinned, we must repent. If we are simply languished, there is a time for rest. If we are relying upon self for sanctification, we need to surrender control and come under grace. God’s call to the Christian ( Click for more )
In a day and age of tolerance, there is pressure to turn a blind eye to evil deeds. Greater still, there is a pull from society to not even call evil "evil" or good "good." Some will even rebuke Christians who do point out evil on the grounds that the Bible says that we shouldn’t judge. We are told to stop judging people and to be more accepting. Society thus wants us to stop differentiating right from wrong and acceptable from unacceptable. They would have us remove all standards of discernment, and they refuse to recognize that Christ will judge them once and for all after ( Click for more )
1 Corinthians 13:13 says, "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love." We understand that faith is essential to life in Christ, being the grounds for salvation and the means to be able to accomplish anything truly spiritually meaningful in Christ. We know that love is important to Christianity, given that it is the mark of true disciples of Christ (John 13:34-35). But hope? What makes hope so great that it is listed as part of these three enduring qualities?
An interesting thing happens to those who set their hope entirely on the things ( Click for more )
Maybe you haven’t been all out depressed in your life. Then again, maybe you have. Regardless of where you have been or where you find yourself now, there is hope. Any who have been able to escape depression’s grasp can testify to the power and faithfulness of God. There is no need to remain mired in depression, and, better yet, it is possible to keep from getting there in the first place.
Now I know some people can’t relate to depression at all. They just don’t understand how some people can get so down on life that they can’t even get out of bed. ( Click for more )
I can’t think of any other subject that has direct application to every Christian and to every day life more than discerning the will of God. Yet I can’t think of any area surrounding the Christian life that is more misunderstood or poorly taught on than the will of God. It is absolutely essential that believers are equipped with the proper understanding to be able to seek the will of God for their lives.
We must understand, first of all, that God’s will has several aspects. The first aspect is His sovereign will, which means simply that what God has said will ( Click for more )
The book of Esther, though it never even mentions the name of God, is clearly about the sovereignty and providence of God in each of our lives. Esther, an orphan child, was adopted by an older cousin named Mordecai. When the King of Persia dismissed Vashti from being Queen, he held a beauty pageant of sorts to find a young woman who would most delight him. Esther, being beautiful, was selected, though she didn’t reveal that she was Jewish. She won the favor of the king and became Queen. A man named Haman was promoted in the king’s court, and he decided to make the kingdom ( Click for more )
There is no doubt that the desire of God in His Word is that the church gather together corporately. The very definition of the word church (ekklesia) implies that we assemble ourselves together. The word was used generally to mean, "A gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly" (Thayer and Smith's The New Testament Greek Lexicon). Applied to believers, it clearly means assembling ourselves together for worship. The meeting of the local church is thus an assembly of the called of Christ, though it should welcome those who don’t ( Click for more )
In the beginning, God created the world, and He said that it was all good. In other words, the world started out blessed by God with the very approval and satisfaction of God. Yet when man sinned, He fell from this state of blessing, succumbing to the effects of the curse, sin, and death. God in His holiness punished the man and woman, the creation, the serpent, and the earth because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion and disobedience. Since that time, the curse has been a reality. It is like some of the ancient stories of kingdoms or forests that have become dark, defeated, and ugly ( Click for more )
It’s not merely what’s on the outside that counts, but what is on the inside that leads to what we do on the outside. Proper motivation is important to God, and improper motivation may well be idolatry as we worship self, religious performance, or the approval of others. Some people go through the right religious motions, but there is no joy or life present. Others do the right things to impress others or to make themselves look good. What God wants is a heart that has repented from the sin of chasing our own glory and performing dead works. He wants us to be controlled ( Click for more )
There are those who have yet to hear of the gospel. In fact there are many who have never heard the gospel of Christ and not because they had the opportunity and rejected it. These are unreached people groups. The Bible isn’t even translated into their language yet. Regarding such people, the Bible says that, even though they do not have the Law of God, they have the opportunity to live as if the law is in their hearts. As Romans 2:14-15 says, "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves ( Click for more )
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