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The Way

    by Kevin Pauley

September 21, 2021

"A good tree doesn't produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn't produce good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren't gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do the things I say?” - Luke 6:43-46 HCSB

A great teacher once set a spiritual exercise before five of his best students. “Go…  ( Click for more )

His wife said to him, "Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!" - Job 2:9 HCSB

Conversing with a fool within the terms of his folly is to lower oneself to his level and to accept his outlook upon life as one worthy of consideration. We should answer a fool, patiently and quietly answering his questions and arguments, so that the foolishness of the proposition is revealed[1]. However, we cannot allow ourselves to get dragged into their methods.[2] We are stewards of God’s time and resources. We should not foolishly allow them to waste too much…  ( Click for more )

His wife said to him, "Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!" - Job 2:9 HCSB

One of the worst elements of a divorce is the apparent need each spouse has to “win.” Each will try to deceive the other. Each will try to not give important information so that the other spouse will look bad. This urge, part of our yetzer hara, must be overcome. Even a believer will struggle with it. At least they struggle. An unbeliever will often simply lie and cheat, seemingly completely unhindered by their conscience.

Once we have caught a person in…  ( Click for more )

His wife said to him, "Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!" - Job 2:9 HCSB

In a society overwhelmed by divorce, the issue of how we should interact with an ex-spouse is one that simply cannot be ignored. As a pastor, I have to help people with the consequences of divorce on a weekly basis: arguments over splitting up the “stuff” every marriage seems to accumulate, child custody, visitation, discipline and schooling; arguments over the selling price of the house…the list is nearly as inexhaustible as the ire.

How does a…  ( Click for more )

August 24, 2021

Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, "It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to wait on tables. Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty.” - Acts 6:2-3 HCSB

I very much appreciate the ministry of the diaconate and the tremendous burden that they carry for God’s church. I also understand that they have many things that they must keep in mind as they serve the Lord.[1] However, may I offer a few pieces of advice? …  ( Click for more )

Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you and reap its harvest, you are to bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest. He will wave the sheaf before the LORD so that you may be accepted; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you are to offer a year-old male lamb without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. - Leviticus 23:10-12 HCSB

Around 1445 BC, Yahweh commanded His people to take the first sheaf they harvested each year and to bring it to the priest who would wave it before the…  ( Click for more )

August 10, 2021

Isn't the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? - Isaiah 58:6 HCSB

The International Labor Office (ILO) estimates that there are over 12 million people trapped in forced labor around the world, generating as much as $32 billion each year.

It would be easy for us to shrug and say “business is business.” However, the rich have often yielded to their yetzer hara[2] and abused those under their power.[3]

It would be facile to assuage our consciences by saying “they…  ( Click for more )

August 3, 2021

The LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you. - Jeremiah 31:3 HCSB

The man sat in the congregation; listening to the teacher speak about Bible study. The teacher was passionately exhorting the people to enter into Hashem’s instructions for themselves and know for sure what the Lord God wanted from them.

“Do not rely on what I say!” the teacher cried out. “Each of us must die and after that comes the Judgment![1] I will not be able to stand with you on…  ( Click for more )

July 27, 2021

I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. – John 15:5 HCSB

My five year old boy liked to pretend to play video games. At least we thought he was pretending. He would sit there with a controller in hand, pushing buttons as fast and as furiously as his sibling who was actually playing. He would duck and dodge his head as obstacles approached on the TV screen. He would throw his hands in the air in victory as they passed a level. He would express outrage when the game…  ( Click for more )

July 20, 2021

That’s right – if you make Insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer, searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; and you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.” – Proverbs 2:1-4

As you read the book of Proverbs, you find that Wisdom is calling out in the Market Square, in the city gates, outside the town, on the hilltop – everywhere. Sometimes, men listen to part of what she’s saying. I may hear…  ( Click for more )

July 13, 2021
…call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers…is the true God! 1 Kings 18:24

Have you ever considered challenging someone of another faith to a prayer duel? Why not? Are you afraid that God is not up to it? Do you or don’t you believe that God answers your prayers? Don’t start blathering about how God is not a candy machine who answers automatically how we expect Him to. Excuses! That’s all that is. Of course, God doesn’t always answer the way we expect Him to. In fact, He rarely…  ( Click for more )

July 6, 2021

I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the LORD your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life…– Deuteronomy 30:19-20a HCSB

Many years ago, people did not have indoor plumbing. Water was not piped to each house as it is today. In order for the citizens of a city to have water, some people became “water carriers.” They would go to the river, fill two buckets with water, hang them on a…  ( Click for more )

June 29, 2021

In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the main ways were deserted, because travelers kept to the side roads…After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath became judge. He delivered Israel by striking down 600 Philistines with an oxgoad. - Judges 5:6; 3:31 HCSB

The morning sun rose quietly through the mist. Birds twittered in the trees and the wind sighed through the branches. Rough, uncultured voices broke the peacefulness of the day, laughing raucously at some remark.

Shamgar raised himself slightly, his back pressed to the boulder, his legs lifting him…  ( Click for more )

June 22, 2021

So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace, being built up and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, and it increased in numbers. - Acts 9:31 HCSB

A church that wants to multiply and grow in its life and spirit must develop a healthy fear of God. It should look at the world and understand in the depths of its collective soul how much is yet to be done and tremble at the task. When we truly open our eyes and see the truth of our circumstances, we will do what is only right and proper – drop to our knees…  ( Click for more )

It was revealed to them (the prophets) that they were not serving themselves but you concerning things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Angels desire to look into these things. – 1 Peter 1:12 HCSB

Angels are old – very, very old. They were at least created before the earth was, because they were present when the Lord God established our planet. They watched as He fixed its dimensions and laid its cornerstone. They watched and shouted for joy at the sight.[1]

Being this…  ( Click for more )

June 8, 2021

For what great nation is there that has a god near to it as the Lord our God is [to us] whenever we call to Him?– Deuteronomy 4:7 HCSB

God told Amos, “I hate, I despise your feasts! I can't stand the stench of your solemn assemblies. Even if you offer Me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept [them]; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle. Take away from Me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream...”[1] …  ( Click for more )

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn Your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. - Psalm 51:7-9 HCSB

Jesus gave us the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector to demonstrate what true repentance and humility can achieve. The tax collector showed great sorrow and contrition for his sin and demonstrated it by his willingness to stand “far off” from the altar, indicating his understanding of how sin had effected his position…  ( Click for more )

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn Your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. - Psalm 51:7-9 HCSB

Jesus has extended a loving invitation to the weary and the sin-burdened.[1] You may say, “But I have sexually sinned so much!” He is fully able to forgive even multiple sexual sins. May I remind you that Jesus forgave the penitent woman who had many sins burdening her soul?[2] Wasn’t the adulterous Samaritan woman saved and…  ( Click for more )

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn Your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. - Psalm 51:7-9 HCSB

Yahweh Aman (Faithful God) is patient. He calls sinners to seek Him and promises them forgiveness when they repent. Of course, there is a limit to His patience. We are to seek Him “while He is near”. We must not presume upon His grace.[1]

Not only must the prayer for forgiveness be sincere, it must be accompanied by repentance…  ( Click for more )

May 11, 2021

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, - Galatians 1:3-4 HCSB

Admission of guilt is never enough. There must be atonement – restitution. Halakha allowed the poor an alternative when they could not afford the usual sacrifice.[1] But what happens when the perpetrator can afford nothing? We are all Yahweh’s slaves. Some acknowledge it and others rebel to it, but we are His nevertheless. How does a slave, who is already owned…  ( Click for more )

But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ - Philippians 3:7-8 HCSB

Back in the eighteenth century, Eton college had a Latin grammar class which listed a series of words that all meant “of little or no value.” Some smart-aleck student put the words together and added the suffix “-fication”…  ( Click for more )

April 27, 2021

Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers. - Hebrews 13:4 HCSB

Cohabitation soared tenfold, from 430,000 in 1960 to 4.1 million couples in 1997.[1] It has replaced marriage as the dominant way male-female unions are formed in America. Yet it presents a major dilemma for pastors. How do we graciously tell a cohabiting couple that according to biblical standards, (1) they are living in sin, (2) and they are endangering their current and long-term relationship, without offending them and having…  ( Click for more )

April 20, 2021

Remember me, LORD, when You show favor to Your people. Come to me with Your salvation - Psalm 106:4 HCSB

It is not always selfish to pray for yourself. It is perfectly valid to do so if we pray with the intention of glorifying God with the answer to our prayer. Prayer can be likened to tilling and weeding a field. As you begin an endeavor, saturate it with prayer and see how much easier it will go. Either you will move forward with complete ease, or if you don’t, you will be compensated with the appropriate amount of strength and grace to get through it.

Prayer…  ( Click for more )

April 13, 2021

Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. - James 1:15 HCSB

Situ was a long, muscular and powerful mamba. He felt as though he were invincible. He could move swiftly, climb trees, swim or even overcome large obstacles by lifting two thirds of his tremendous length by sheer muscular power alone.

He began to pay nightly visits to a farm that had a chicken pen, stealing eggs and sometimes even a small chicken. He had discovered a hole in the side of the wall through which he could squeeze his flexible body.…  ( Click for more )

Jesus replied, "I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." - John 3:3 HCSB

There once was a goat named Mbuzi who lived in the heart of Africa. Mbuzi was as vain as she was beautiful. One day, while looking at her reflection in a very still pond, Mbuzi decided she was far too beautiful to be a mere goat. She decided right then and there that she would become a lion.

Not knowing how to go about this, she decided to ask the wily Kachi, a chimpanzee that lived in a huge baobab tree in the heart of the jungle. After much thought…  ( Click for more )

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