Tag Archives: featured

The Real Problem

There is a lot of debate about why violence has increased in our country, why school shootings are now so common.  The debate on one side blames guns and on the other it blames a culture awash with violence.

But there is a clear cause that most do not want to acknowledge and a real reason for the increased violence.

This insight into the real cause is sprinkled throughout the Bible and clearly spoken of in numerous places, but our culture never bothers to consult the owners manual to find out what is really happening.  If they did they would deny the solution God gives.

So, as a result, this kind of violence will continue and increase.  Whether guns or knives, bats or rocks it will go on because we refuse to acknowledge and address the real cause.

Here it is. Hidden in plain site.

“There is no faithfulness, no love,

    no acknowledgment of God in the land.

There is only cursing, lying and murder,

    stealing and adultery;

they break all bounds,

    and bloodshed follows bloodshed.

 Because of this the land dries up,

    and all who live in it waste away…”

Hosea 4

Because we have turned our backs on God this is our outcome, this is our result.  This is what life looks like without God.  No matter what solutions we legislate the problems will only get worse.

It will not stop until we turn once more and bow to the God who made us.

What we are seeing now is a culture without God.

That’s the real problem.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Finding a Place to Stand in the Earthquake

“The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.”

Isaiah 33:5-6
As I read those words this morning one portion stopped me, caught my attention and made me read it over and over again….”he will be the stibility of your times.”
We live in a world shaking with people looking for stability.  Many look for it in wealth. If I have enough money I will be safe.
Others look for it in their job.  If I can secure my position I will find stability, safety.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.  We are looking for stability in things, position, wealth, and a hundred other things….
…but God tells me HE will be the stability of my times.  He is the one foundation that will not shake.  In him alone can I find ground that will not make me fearful.
Looking for a bit of stability in these troubled times?  It’s not in things or people, but in God alone.  He will be your stability and he never changes.
Lord, today I come to you and trust you to be my stability. I cannot find it anywhere else and so I come and rest in you.  The one who offers to be my stability in these troubled days.  Even in the earthquake of these days I can stand firm in you.  Thank you.
You can visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Imitate God

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
 
As a dad I look back on years when I was keenly aware that my son was watching me.  Watching to see how I did something, learning how by watching me.  When I realized he was imitating me as he learned how to be a man it made me profoundly panicked.  Suddenly I realized I was modeling for this boy how to live, how to be a man.  It made me look for someone to imitate in my own life so my son would have a good model to follow.
 
That’s when I really understood the words of Paul, “Imitate God.”  It’s an invitation to follow him around, to learn how he does things and do the same things.  It’s an invitation to mold your life to be like his.

But where do I see him to follow him, to imitate him, where do I find those examples?   I realized, quite to my own surprise, that the gospels gave me the pictures I needed.  All I had to do was follow Jesus around in the gospels and imitate him!
 
And that is what Paul is inviting us to do…follow Jesus, imitate him, be like him…do what he did…in other words, be his disciple.  
 
The key thing Paul noted for us to watch for was this- “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.”  In every story of the gospels I see Jesus loving well.  He loved everyone in such a way that they were drawn to him.  Or, they were convicted by him.  His love draws all eyes to God.
 
His love and how he lived it out draws me to follow him.  I don’t do it well, but I’m working on it.  I don’t always say the right thing, do the right thing but I want to…I want to look like Jesus.
 
And, it’s possible as Paul invites us to do it, to “Imitate God” and do it first of all by loving well.
 
Of all the religions ever to touch human life only this one tells of a god who is first of all a lover of men. This God has invited us to imitate him and as we do others will be drawn to him too.
 
Imitate God=loving well.
 
Lord, help me to imitate you well as I encounter others each day. Help me to love them well and show them how much you care for them too.
 
Let my life, my love for others, be a pleasing aroma to you and draw others to seek this God who loves them through me.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Prayer Works

We see example after example in the Bible where people went to God in prayer and had miraculous prayers answered, yet we doubt that God can still do that today.

God is the same as He was then.

Put Verses about Prayer throughout your home.  Commit them to memory and you’ll have them at a moments notice.

Even when the answer is NO, God always answers.  We may not understand, just like our children do not understand when we say no, but we know without a doubt we can trust Him.

Praying for a loved one to accept Christ, don’t stop

Praying for a loved one to return to Christ, don’t stop

Praying for healing, for a miracle, for yet ANOTHER miracle – do not stop!

Prayer Works!

We hope you’ll pin these verses, share on facebook and use them to remind your heart when the enemy says don’t bother, that God Hears and Answers Prayer

 

We are not alone john 16.32

 

 

 

prayer of a righteous person has great power james 5.16

 

prayer isnt the least you can do

 

Pray for your enemies Matthew 5.44

 

O Lord I pray deliver my soul Psalms 116.4

 

love endures all even a cruel cross 1 corinthians 13.7

 

Gods word is forever isaiah 40.8

 

God WILL Hear You Jeremiah 29.12

 

God will heal America 2 Chronicles 7.14

 

encourage others hebrews 10.24

 

ask and it will be given Matthew 7.7

 

What are your favorite verses on Prayer? 

Do you have verses scattered throughout your home? 

 

The Smell Of Smoke

Have you ever sat by a campfire and found, that even hours later, the smell of smoke had permeated your clothes?  It lingers, it clings and others can smell it too.

Often, as I live in a world that reminds me of Sodom and Gomorrah, I’m aware that the smell of the culture has clung to me, that I’ve sat by their campfires too long.

I know, having experienced it, that by simply walking by a campfire the smoke of it easily and quickly permeates your clothing and the smell goes with you.  Some of that is unavoidable as we live in a world walking away from God, but it’s not the aroma I want others to smell in my life.

Paul writes of another aroma, another smell that permeates a Christian, that’s what I long to smell like,

 “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,  to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” 2 Corinthians 2 

I live in a world that smells of smoke, the smoke of rebellion against God, but in the midst of that aroma God has given us a new fragrance, the smell of Christ, the aroma of life.

Lord, help me to live in the world, but not smell like it.  Let me smell like you, having walked by the fires of your Spirit burning in the lives of others, and may that aroma linger with me, the smell of Christ, and might it be a sweet aroma that draws men to you.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The Most High God

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

    wisdom and power are his.

He changes times and seasons;

    he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

    and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things;

    he knows what lies in darkness,

    and light dwells with him.”

Daniel 2

Believe it or not there is a King in heaven in charge of everything.  He rules the kingdoms of this earth.  He raises up one leader and removes another.  HE is in charge, he rules the Universe…every molecule of it.

HE is King.

Then why are we afraid?  Why are we fighting over this politician or that one?  None of them can help us.  None of them can fix our problems.  They are just men placed there by God.

Why are we so angry, so afraid?  Why all the frustration, the name calling?

Is there a God in heaven or not?

If there is a God who rules then trust him.

If there isn’t then you aren’t fearful enough!

I’m saddened by what I see in the Christian world as “Christians” verbalize their fears in the public forums as if a man will be our solution.  Why do we trust in man?  Even David wrote of the foolishness of trusting in the strength of men.

Like Daniel, I’m so glad there is a sovereign and he does not rule from Washington or any other city.  He rules from heaven!

One of the worst kings of all time said this about that God, words that came after God humbled him,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth:

May you prosper greatly!

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.

How great are his signs,
how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;
his dominion endures from generation to generation.

“The Most High God”

There is a ruler over the affairs of man.

Oh that we would trust him and rest in his care.

He is in charge of everything, even who rules this little nation of ours.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Are You “Walking on Eggshells” in Your Marriage?

I remember the first time a friend took advantage of me. We were sitting in the theater, around age nine, and I had a box of Junior Mints. Because of the noise involved in opening and dumping the candy out, I had most of the box contents poured out onto my palm. As I sat there, I realized my friend might want one. She didn’t bring any money to the show, so I whispered, “Hey, do you want some?” I held my hand out, piled high with the little brown orbs of peppermint yumminess.

I thought she’d take a few and be thankful. She proceeded to scoop them off of my hand and into both of hers.

I was surprised. Shocked. Confused. Angry. I couldn’t believe she had done that. I wanted to say, “HEY. I meant a few of them! What’s wrong with you?” But I said nothing, because I was afraid I would upset her. And I didn’t have any experience with exercising my voice – I thought the only option I had was voicing my anger, which seemed mean, so I kept my mouth shut.

I didn’t realize at the time that I neither had a boundary of what she could take from me, nor had I communicated it to her. I was also missing a healthy way of dealing with her behavior.

I spent the rest of the movie feeling sad about my three leftover pieces in the box, and lied to myself that it was all fine. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what.

I know now what my negative feelings were that day – they were caused by a combination of being taken advantage of by another, and failing to speak the truth.

Feeling taken advantage of hurts because of two reasons:

  1. The person who is treating us poorly is failing to love well in that moment, and
  2. We betray ourselves by failing to communicate our injury

The residue of inaction damages our self-esteem. It’s important that we deal with these little situations as they occur – but do so in a way that doesn’t trample on the esteem of another person.

Many wives often feel as though they are taken advantage of by their husbands. They feel as though they are carrying the weight of the housework, the relationships, the kids’ activities, etc. They also may be working part-time or full-time and are physically exhausted. What’s interesting is that many men also feel the same way – burdened by providing for their families, responsible for the more strenuous and physical home care items, and then expected to participate in relationships at a level that often frustrates and confuses them. All too often, conflict ensues between husband and wife, voices raise, and unhealthy and even damaging behaviors start spilling out onto the family landscape as a result of stress and lack of self-control.

What we don’t easily acknowledge is that far too often, the behaviors of either spouse can fall into the categories of verbal or emotional abuse – even if neither spouse intends to do the other harm. Repeats of these behaviors often cause the damage that occurs in abusive relationships – regardless of the intent of either spouse.

There’s a trend in our culture to label everything – and to espouse answers from positions of the extremes.  If you are in a marriage where you have some of the signs but know your spouse doesn’t intend to hurt or dominate you, some healthy changes and awareness can help a lot.  I’m going to suggest today that we fear GOD, instead of fearing our spouse. It is the beginning of wisdom, and it is Biblical. We know He hates divorce, so we should keep that in mind as we deal with these issues. Check the following “signs” below – if you have those in addition to fear, if there is a sense of “walking on eggshells” in your relationship, keep reading to learn how you can help your marriage heal.

Sign #1 –

If you have emotional control, you go to her and say something like, “I know you love me, and I know you didn’t mean to, but when you did ‘A’ it made me feel ‘B’ and I’m really struggling with what to do about that,” and she responds by discounting your feelings, arguing with you, defending what she did, minimizing or mocking you.  If she turns the discussion into how you’ve hurt her and suddenly you’re the one apologizing, and this is how it goes most of the time when you bring up an issue, then guess what? You have some REALLY unhealthy stuff going on – things that can damage a person’s soul, things that are labeled in the culture as “abusive.”

Sign #2 –

If you are excited about something good that happens to you, or you have an interest that feeds your soul and you are met with degrading, mocking, put downs, name-calling, or other remarks that make the clear point that there’s something wrong with you, what you like, or the success that you achieved – this is also unhealthy and harming to a person. Ideally, BOTH spouses should be enthusiastic and supportive of the other – regardless of how different or similar to the other they are.

Sign #3 –

When you are sad, sick, discouraged, etc., and you are demeaned or dismissed instead of being helped or treated kindly.  When your spouse behaves in an unkind way toward you regardless of how you are feeling – the absence of kindness (If anyone knows the good he should do and does not do it, sins.  James 4:17) or the presence of general unkindness is also damaging.

Much information exists in the realm of psychology about how these behaviors (and many more) damage the esteem of another. Tons of research and writing has been done on outcomes of abuse and what happens to victims. So we know what damage occurs, and we know how to help both the abuser and the victim – BUT – there’s a problem with the “labeling” of either.

 The culture we live in recognizes “abusers” as people of heinous motives. The signs above assume he or she is trying to control, trying to coerce, trying to manipulate.

I don’t believe the majority of Christian “abusers” are doing these things with the intention to harm their spouses.

This would never fly in a marriage, but how often have you seen men work out their issues with each other by physically going after each other in basketball, etc.? I don’t get it, but it’s a thing. They don’t naturally do conflict the way we do. I’m not excusing their behavior in marriage, nor am I intending to discount abuse victims (I’ve been one, just so you know. This post barely skims the surface of the bullying of my school years, nor does it cover the rape…) but I’m asking us to be wise enough, afraid of God enough, to see the whole picture, not just see what things look like from only our own perspectives. To not label, which is a form of judgment. I think this is also mature, healthy behavior.

Esteem IS destroyed – as is the case in the traditionally labeled “abuse” case – and the behavior may be classified as “abusive” BUT – the motives of the abuser aren’t evil, and too often, the “victim” (and I’m using quotes out of respect for those women (and men) who truly are victims, ones who are being beaten on a daily basis and those women who are raped in their homes, etc.) the “victim” in these other situations is actually contributing to the high levels of conflict and abusive behavior by responding in kind, AND by lacking healthy boundaries.

In other words, if we will learn how to stop responding abusively back and consider that “silence” and “lack of affection” – natural responses to being screamed at – are also listed as abusive behaviors, and set healthy boundaries for ourselves, not as a parental and punitive response to our spouses, if we’ll do those things, we can change our marriages. I know this to be true.

Want more proof?

I personally know women who have been in these situations, some which classify as legitimate abuse, including some with husbands whose motives were even questionable – and they’ve overcome these situations and God has healed them and their marriages!

The other thing we need to remember is that Shaunti Feldhahn’s research in The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages shows that “thinking the best” and “giving the benefit of the doubt” are MAJORLY important.

So know this: if you label your spouse as an “abuser” and yourself as the “victim” you are adding an element of toxicity to your marriage that will infect it like a plague. Seriously. There are a number of ministries and authors who work to help women (and men) who recognize that their spouse is treating them in abusive ways – here’s the problem – I’ve talked to many of these authors and some of the ministry folks… and their success rate for restoring the marriages is very low. Less than 5% of the marriages are healed. Most end in divorce.

What we are suggesting instead, is an approach that combines Biblical truth of not accepting abusive behavior, protecting yourself and your kids, but also heals your marriage. It is not easy, but neither is the path walked by ascribing intent to your spouse and labeling him an abuser, which often results in divorce.

The choices become fairly clear when we look at things this way.  We can:

  1. Judge our spouse’s intentions and label him/her an “abuser” and ourselves as a “victim” – which most of the time leads toward divorce
  2. Choose to label both of us as “sinners” then do the hard work of establishing healthy boundaries, while still loving and respecting our spouse
  3. Actively pursue healing for ourselves if we have been on the receiving end of unhealthy and damaging behaviors

I’m suggesting #’s 2 and 3.

Most of the men I talk to who have hurt their wives have done so unintentionally, however, if your spouse DOES intend to hurt you, control you, destroy you, then you are dealing with something completely different and you require the help of a licensed psychologist, preferably a Christian. Even with that, some of the second and especially the third options above will still help a lot.

What I’m saying is there’s actually something we can DO about unhealthy behaviors – including the ones from others that result in a destruction of our esteem.

Interactions with our spouse may leave you feeling worthless, suicidal, damaged – BUT he or she may or may not be intentionally “abusing you.” If your spouse claims to be a Christian, Matthew 18 is there to help – although most people will not do the hard work of walking through it, or do so with someone who is ill-equipped to help.

What solves these problems in marriage is both spouses establishing healthy boundaries, while treating themselves and their husband or wife with love and respect. When both of you get on the same side of the fence to protect the marriage, you can work in the same direction. Labeling your spouse an “abuser,” even if his or her behaviors fit in that category, do not help the marriage. Dealing with your own mental health to heal from these behaviors by joining Al-Anon, Celebrate Recovery, or our Strength & Dignity eCourse (for women) will help you find healing.

I started our free Strength & Dignity eCourse to deal with these issues in a meaningful and life-changing way.  I see too many families being destroyed by good people who mean well who are missing some healthy alternatives to interaction AND are being coached in all the defensive ways to deal with being “abused” or “get control” of their families.  These tactics “work” by getting the women to safety, BUT – the marriage is destroyed. I want better options than that for us all.

May we all love and respect better today.

Nina Roesner is the author of The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a deeper connection with God & your husband (Thomas Nelson, 2012), and leads the free Strength & Dignity eCourse for wives who are suffering in verbally and emotionally difficult marriages. You can read more of her work at www.NinaRoesner.com .

Suicide

This morning a friend asked me to address suicide and my thoughts on this topic.

It’s a very personal topic for me.

My niece took her life several years ago and the thoughts of her are still near to all of us.  Suicide leaves questions for those have chosen it and for us left behind.

Why did they do it?  Was their life that bad?  How could they leave us like that?  And for us left behind, will the pain ever diminish?

As one author described it “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  If only they had asked for help, if only they had waited till morning, if only…..but all we have are unanswered questions that leave us empty and hurting.

And, in the area of faith and eternity these questions arise,

Is suicide a sin?

Can someone who commits suicide be forgiven?

Many have written that this is an unforgivable sin because we don’t have an opportunity to repent of it.  It’s a final choice, taking our lives into our own hands, leaving us no opportunity to repent.

One wrote that this situation leaves the person without forgiveness…doomed.

But let me address this topic in light of what Jesus did on the cross.
(Let me make clear that I’m speaking in reference to a Christian who would take their life.  If we are speaking of a person who hasn’t trusted Christ we have a completely different discussion to work on.)

Here are a series of questions that will help us get to some basic answers, are you ready?  (If you want all the scripture references do ask, but I’m leaving them out for the sake of brevity.)

1. When Jesus died on the cross how many of our sins did he die for?  If you know the bible the answer has to be “all of them”.  (Do you remember his last words? “It is finished.”  The total price was paid….it’s called “grace”.)

Hebrews tells us Christ died “once for all.”  (7:27, 10:10, 12, 14) What that means is that he made one sacrifice for all men, for all time, for all sins.

2. Now, if he died for all sins, when he died how many of your sins were still future?  If you’re thinking you have to respond, “all of them!”

3. So, when you trusted him as savior how many of your sins did he forgive?  You can see where I’m going, can’t you?  Again, you will have to reply, “all of them!”

I’m sure you are asking what does this have to do with suicide?  But be patient, we will get there….you can’t deal with such a difficult issue so easily.

One person wrote that when you commit suicide you don’t have a chance to repent and they are right, but based on what I have asked you already, what does repentance have to do with forgiveness?

Did you understand the implications of what I just asked?  IF you have trusted Christ then all your sins, past, present and future are forgiven already.  All of them!  Even my last choice of taking my own life.

Some will quote 1 John 1:9 in this discussion.  I’ve heard it many times as a response to grace, but read this verse in context and you will see it’s a once for all verse-  “he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9 fits perfectly with what we have discussed already.

Repentance is important, but it’s a response to forgiveness, not a way of getting it.  Forgiveness was done at the moment you trusted Christ.  Repentance is the right response on my part to sin and deals with my relationship with God, not my forgiveness.

Am I giving approval to those thinking about suicide? Not at all!

God forbid!

It’s a sad, terrible, painful choice that scars those left behind….but for the one who has chosen, in that dark moment, to take their own life and not trust God with the days ahead, they will still find themselves with the Lord, forgiven of sin, regretting their final choice to not trust God with the situation they faced.

Is a Christian who commits suicide forgiven and in heaven? YES!

Do they regret their choice? YES!  Because, in light of eternity, they realize they didn’t wait to see what God could do with their terrible situation.

I’m sure my niece wishes she could undo her choice, but she can’t and we live with the pain….missing her daily.

Are you thinking about taking your own life?  Please don’t!  Get help, tell someone, wait till morning…you will never regret the choice to trust God, but for the dear saint who is so broken that they sin and commit suicide you will see them in heaven.  And we will rejoice at a wonderful savior who provides all we need, even when our last choice is the worse one of all.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The Key To Everything

Christ is the key that unlocks the mystery of history.

Poetic, isn’t it? The quote above, in part, is from a German theologian.  After writing more than 17,000 pages on the Bible and Christ these are his concluding thoughts.

The key to everything is Jesus Christ.  If you leave him out the box remains locked, the mystery still a mystery, the reason for our existence still uncertain.

Jesus himself told the religious leaders, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;” That’s either the most arrogant thing ever said or the most profound truth ever revealed.

Your response to Christ is the most important decision you will ever make.

Years ago I spent some time with the great Major Ian Thomas.  He was a wonderful man of God, crusty to be sure, but he loved the Lord.  Once, before he spoke, I made the mistake of asking him, “What are you going to talk about tonight?”

He replied, with a bit of irritation, “I’m going to talk about Jesus, what else is there to talk about?”

And he’s right.

In the last book of the bible these words begin the text, “The revelation of Jesus Christ.”  In five words we get a hint to the theme of this last book, to the entire bible, and in this book revelations about Jesus are in nearly every chapter.  It’s about him.  He’s the key to everything!

Without Christ, without knowing him, life remains a mystery. Without him we have no purpose, no meaning, no reason for being.

Jesus Christ is the key to everything. Do you know him?

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

What Will We Do?

Panic.

You’ve felt it, haven’t you?

That sudden sense that everything is out of control…

…that the world and the problems you face are overwhelming, too big, too much!

You may have actually said it at one time, “What will I do?!”

It was a question one man asked one morning when he realized what had happened in the night.  Here is the short story from 2 Kings 6,

15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.

16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

When all we see is what we know we miss what God is doing around us.

This servant was in a complete panic because of what he saw, but

Elisha was sipping his coffee quite calmly.

He saw something completely different.

He saw what God was doing.

When panic comes, when fears rise, when the situations you see are overwhelming don’t forget that what you see is not all there is.

Unseen is a sovereign God guiding, protecting, watching.

And around us are heavens armies watching over his people.

As God said to the prophet Isaiah he says to us,

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

And Others….

Faith is an essential part of the Christian life.  We came to God by faith, we live by faith, all we have is the result of faith.

Faith in God is at the very heart of the Christian experience.

There is a chapter in the bible that speaks exclusively of men and women who lived by faith, trusted God, made choices, built boats…all by faith.  They believed God, acted and saw the results of their faith in their lives.

But others (and this is where we struggle with the passage) lived by faith and died, lost everything, struggled, were tortured and seemed to fail.

We have a problem with that because we have adopted the belief that if we have faith good things will happen, prosperity will come, prayers will be answered, mountains will move.

But not for everyone, not all the time.

Some will live by faith and have nothing,

be hungry,

struggle to live at all

and others will lose their lives.

All these things will happen in the lives of people of faith!

How can this be?

Doesn’t faith do things?

Doesn’t it have good results?

Here are the words from this chapter on faith that we try to ignore,

“There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—  the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,”

These were men and women of faith and it appears their faith “didn’t work!”  But faith is not a gum ball machine…put in your coin and get your prize…it’s trust in God with no idea of what will happen next.

It’s living with eyes on God regardless of the outcome.

Faith is trust in God.  It’s not a magic lamp I can use for my desires, but it’s a decision to trust in the God who loves me no matter what happens!

So what if I’m one of the “others”, those who don’t see their faith “work?”  What if I trust God and lose everything?  I still win!  I’m trusting God, even if I have nothing at all, even if I’m tortured, even if I lose my life…I still win and my faith in God will take me into eternity!

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The Captain’s Face

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to go sailing with a good friend of mine. Ray was an oil man who had literally gone from struggling to pay the bills to millionaire overnight. In the 80’s it happened to a number of guys, but Ray was a Christian and a friend, so we talked about our faith, God’s provision and his blessings often.

After his new fortune Ray bought a boat he had always wanted, it was a 38′ sailboat. He had it delivered to Grand lake in eastern Oklahoma. It’s a large lake and a great place to sail.

There was a day one spring when we both had some time and Ray asked me to go sailing with him. I was thrilled to join him. I had never sailed before and looked forward to the experience. We met at the lake and got on the boat to get underway. Slowly we motored out of the inlet into the lake and then put up the sails. It was a great experience! I loved the sounds of the wind in the sails, the waves on the boat and the experience of sailing by wind power alone. We had a great time and a wonderful visit.

Then it happened.

Suddenly, and really without warning, a storm came up. It was a big one. 50-60 mile per hour winds and gusts, 3-4 foot waves, black clouds moving overhead. Quickly the lake cleared of other boats. Within minutes we were in a storm I can imagine the disciples experienced on the sea of Galilee when they woke Jesus and declared, “Don’t you care that we are drowning?” I think I understood the fear they experienced.

Our boat was leaning with the storm winds at 50 degrees or more. The waves were washing over the deck. The skies were black. The rain was intense. I WAS AFRAID!

But then I turned around and looked at Ray as he steered the boat across the lake. HE WAS SMILING!

I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t he see what I saw? Didn’t he know this was bad? In my amazement I yelled through the storm, “How can you smile in this storm? Don’t you see the wind and the waves?” I heard the disciples in my own voice as I said, “Don’t you care that we might drown?”

Ray smiled back and said, “You don’t understand. I know my boat. It has a 9,000 pound keel. This boat was built for the oceans. This storm is nothing! We are fine! Relax, enjoy the ride.”

Suddenly, my fear subsided. I had looked at the captain’s face. He knew things about our boat that I didn’t. He knew we were fine.

Within a few moments my fear turned to calm. Because I trusted the captain I began to enjoy the ride. Nothing had changed….the wind still blew, the rains still came, the waves still washed over the deck, but something was different….I had seen the captain’s face.

The Christian life is much like this little adventure of mine. We are often caught in the storms of life and fear for our lives, our finances, our health. This life is often overcome by a storm when we least expect it. Fears overwhelm us. Death feels close. Panic is in our voices…..but then, with fear growing, we look at Jesus and discover that he is smiling! How can he smile in this storm? Doesn’t he know we are about to go down? And he replies, “You don’t understand. I know this boat. I know what I have planned for you. We are fine. I’ll bring you safely home. Enjoy the ride.” It’s funny how a glance at the face of our captain, Jesus, can change a fearful storm into an exciting adventure. A look at the captain’s face makes all the difference! …

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

9 Bible Studies

9free biblestudies

We love being a huge Christian Resource Site! We love helping you to increase your Bible knowledge and strengthen your Relationship with the Lord.

Here are 9 Bible Studies that are available for a FREE Download!  Free, as in nothing to sign up for, nothing to do, nothing to like – you just click the link and you get a free PDF Bible Study.

Enjoy!

1.  Love to the Uttermost by John Piper

full_love-to-the-uttermost

This Bible Study aims to focus our attention on Jesus as he displays his love to the uttermost (John 13:1). These meditations on the self-giving love of Christ are all excerpted from the preaching and writing ministry of John Piper.

 

2.  The Resolution for Women Study created by Jeni 

the-resolution-for-women

Get the Book by Priscilia Schrier but do the free study created by Jeni that she did with the ladies in her church

 

3.  3 Free Marriage Studies

biblestudy

 

Free printable Bible study lessons are a great way to strengthen your marital relationship. You see, your relationship with God is an essential part of your relationship with your spouse.  For that reason, it is very important that you spend time in the Word of God Daily.  These studies are perfect for individual study or even small groups

 

4.  Good News of Great Joy by John Piper 

full_good-news-of-great-joy

 

 

5.  Esther, The Beauty of Courageous Submission by Darlene Schacht 

 

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6.  The Joy of Christian Living

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7.  Ruth, A Woman of Virtue 

 

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8.  Lesson on Living from David – By Back to the Bible 

 

Back to the Bible has several Bible studies you can download for free. Lessons on Living from David is a 31 day devotional taken from the life of David. The free PDF download also contains reflective questions and practical application for each day.

 

9.  Outside the Zone by Rachel Wojnarowksi 

outside-the-zone-two

Rachel shares the stories of five people in the Bible who stepped outside their comfort zones to be used of God.

 

 

Do you have a FREE Bible Study that we can share with our readers? Please leave a link below so we can check it out!

 

 

The 10 Commandments of Motherhood

So often we get lost or overwhelmed in all the demands of being a mom.

I wouldn’t trade the job for the world, but sometimes a mom just needs a break! We also need good advice and guidelines when it comes to being the mom our children need. Over the years I have learned and tried to apply the principles of these “10 Commandments of Motherhood.”

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1. You shall spend time with the Lord everyday before your children wake up.

Spending time alone with your Creator, seeking His will and His ways, will supply you strength and wisdom for the days challenges. If mornings are not an option, find a time that suits you better. Just make it a priority every single day.

2. You shall not esteem or accommodate your children over your husband.

God.

Husband.

Children.

In that order.

3. You shall not misuse your position as mother by making ridiculous demands of your children.

Rules and guidelines bring structure to every home. Your children may not like the rules. They will challenge your authority. Stick to your guns. You are not to appease their every whim, but neither are you to exasperate them by endless angry commands. Encourage them. Praise them for a job well done or an attitude improved. As much as possible, keep a loving, joyful atmosphere in your home, finding a balance between work and play.

4. Observe a time once a week for the whole family to engage in an activity.

Let children take turns choosing and planning a weather appropriate engagement. This will help each child feel valuable to the family unit.

5. Honor your father, mother, and in-law’s presences in rearing your children.

Grandparents add a special family tie to your child’s life. Grandparents are also willing to share advice on parenting do’s and don’ts from their own parenting successes or regrets. Honor their advice. You didn’t turn out so bad, did you?  Thoughtfully and respectfully consider their advice, ultimately choosing what is best for your situation.

6. You shall not kill/crush your child’s spirit by degrading them privately or publicly.

Speak kind words. Is it really necessary to make a snide remark about your child’s behavior or are you trying to shame them into obedience? For myself, I’ve found that its OK to let them wear a mismatched outfit or have that hairstyle. Does their choice really matter or is it more about you not wanting to be embarrassed?

7. You shall not secretly or verbally wish your child was like so-and-so’s child.

Again, speak kind words. Never make them feel as though they don’t measure up. They have enough of that from their own peers. Don’t devastate them by stripping them of the security found in your unconditional love.

8. You shall steal a few moments for yourself.

Reread that!

Whether its sipping a quiet cup of coffee, indulging in a salon appointment, or hitting the gym, take some time to love yourself. You’ll feel better equipped to tackle the next demands of your day.

9. You shall not speak a lie to your child nor live a lie in front of your child.

Speak truthfully. Walk with integrity. Did you mess up? Admit it. Vow to do better.

“What we are at home, that we are indeed.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

10. You shall not love one child more than another child.

Playing favorites causes lifetime pain for your child and generations of separation in the family. Just don’t go there. I get it, sometimes your personalities clash.

The bottom line is, you are the adult. It is your job to act maturely and graciously. It is your child’s job to act like a child.

Guide them with wise words and a life that demonstrates the love and humility of Christ.

What would you add to these 10 Commandments of Motherhood? What is the most important thing you can do for your children? 

 

kaylene

 

Kaylene is just a girl with a sword, a shield and a strong cup of coffee. She finds her first ministry to be in her home living out her calling of wife and mother. In her spare time she writes to encourage women to thrive well in their current roles. Be it through sweet encouragement or an occasional dose of humor or spunkiness, her goal remains the same… to point women to the Lord.

You can follow along with her here: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faithful-Feat/260551190785913?ref=hl

Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110172231736818866452/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kayleneyoder/

 

Return to the Hiding Place

hiding place

 

Release Date March 6, 2015

Synopsis:

Based on a true story:

Corrie’s Teenage Army

Thrilling, Action, Romantic Drama

When Corrie ten Boom realizes the rising Nazi empire will swallow Holland and create the holocaust of every innocent Jew in secret death-camps, she faces the deadly threat of these “Death-Skull Storm Troopers” with a surprising remedy: an army comprised of untrained teenagers.

Around that same time, brilliant young physics student, Hans Poley, chooses not to join the Nazi party. To protect him, his parents force him into hiding in the home of Corrie ten Boom. While in hiding, he witnesses the atrocities toward the suffering Jews and decides he must do something.

Hans is drawn by resistance fighter, Piet Hartog, and love of Piet’s life – Aty van Woerden (Corrie ten Boom’s niece) into an intricate web of espionage and clandestine activities centered in the famous Hiding Place.

As part of Corrie ten Boom’s army of untrained teenagers, Hans, Piet, and their friends navigate a deadly labyrinth of challenges to rescue the Jewish people in their modern-day, panicked exodus from death while embarking on a nonstop, action-packed hunt with the underground involving Gestapo hijacks, daring rescues, codes in windswept old windmills, and stunning miracles in one of history’s most famous dramas. Climaxing in the true, breath-taking rescue of an entire orphanage of Jewish children marked for mass execution by Hitler’s assassins, audiences will both cheer and weep at this exciting, sobering tale of Hans and the youth movement that dared to resist one of History’s cruelest tyrants.

 

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReturntotheHidingPlace

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hidemovie

Website: http://returntothehidingplacemovie.com/

as well as http://hide-movie.com

 

character

Old Fashioned

old fashioned

 

Old Fashioned produced by Skoche Films

Release Date: February 14, 2015

DVD Available to purchase June 16, 2015

Synopsis: 

A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America.

 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/OldFashionedMovie

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/OldFashionedVow

Website:  http://www.oldfashionedmovie.com/

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmlLVkObCysZSzKtvX6hbHA

 

be a woman

 

be a man

 

Have you seen this movie? Have a review? Leave it in the comments below so we can share it with others

 

 

Woodlawn

woodlawn

Woodlawn Produced by the Erwin Brothers

Release Date: October 16, 2015

Sypnosis:

A film based on an inspiring real-life story about love and unity in a school torn by racism and hate in the 1970s.

In 1973, a spiritual awakening captured the heart of nearly every player of the Woodlawn High School football team, including its coach Tandy Gerelds. Their dedication to love and unity in a school filled with racism and hate leads to the largest high school football game ever played in the torn city of Birmingham, Alabama, and the rise of its first African American superstar, Tony Nathan.

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WoodlawnMovie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/woodlawnmovie

Website: http://woodlawnmovie.com/

never give up

 

 

War Room

War Room produced by Kendrick Brothers 

Release Date: August 28, 2015

Synopsis: 

From the award-winning creators of Fireproof and Courageouscomes WAR ROOM, a compelling drama with humor and heart that explores the power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives.

Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have it all—great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream house. But appearances can be deceiving. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan’s world is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. While Tony basks in his professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing bitterness. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets her newest client, Miss Clara, and is challenged to establish a “war room” and a battle plan of prayer for her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for her family, Tony’s hidden struggles come to light. Tony must decide if he will make amends to his family and prove Miss Clara’s wisdom that victories don’t come by accident.

Opening nationwide in theaters August 28 and filled with more of the authentic characters loved by millions in previous Kendrick Brothers’ films, WAR ROOM is a vivid reminder that prayer is a powerful weapon.

Social Media: 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/warroomthemovie?fref=ts

Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/warroommovie

Websitehttp://www.kendrickbrothers.com

 

prayer

Faith of Our Fathers

 

faith

 

Faith of Our Fathers Produced by Pure Flix Entertainment 

Release Date – July 1, 2015

Synopsis: 

With the Vietnam War raging in 1969, two young fathers report for duty. A man of great faith and a doubtful cynic. A quarter-century later, their sons, Wayne and John Paul, meet as strangers.

Guided by handwritten letters from their fathers from the battlefield, they embark on an unforgettable journey to The Wall—the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Along the way, they discover the devastation of war cannot break the love of a father for his son. FAITH OF OUR FATHERS: a story of fatherhood; a journey of brotherhood.

Starring Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Downes, David A.R. White, Rebecca St. James, with Si Robertson and Candace Cameron Bure, FAITH OF OUR FATHERS opens in theaters Wednesday, July 1.

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithofourfathersmovie?fref=ts

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/faithfathers

he can heal every hurt

 

 

Do You Believe Movie

Do you Believe produced by
Pure Flix

Released Spring 2015

Synopsis:

A dozen different souls—all moving in different directions, all longing for something more. As their lives unexpectedly intersect, they each are about to discover there is power in the Cross of Christ … even if they don’t believe it. Yet.

When a local pastor is shaken to the core by the visible faith of an old street-corner preacher, he is reminded that true belief always requires action. His response ignites a faith-fueled journey that powerfully impacts everyone it touches in ways that only God could orchestrate.

This stirring new film from the creators of God’s Not Dead is in theaters now. More than a movie, it’s a question we all must answer in our lifetimes: DO YOU BELIEVE?

Find out More about the movie here:

http://doyoubelieve.com/

Follow them here: 

Facebook – http://facebook.com/doyoubelievemovie

Twitter – http://twitter.com/dybmovie

Get Our Discussion Questions for your Small Group, Ladies Group or Youth Group here:  Do you Believe Discussion Questions

 

do-you-believe-2

Noble

nobleTitle: Noble

Produced By: Aspiration Media

Release Date: 5/8/2015

Synopsis:  

They broke everything but her spirit. They took everything but her dream. NOBLE, the award-winning feature film, is the incredible true story of a fearless Irish heroine driven by her daring vision to escape the slums of Ireland and risk everything on the streets of Vietnam.

Winner of six U.S. film festival awards, including the Panavision Spirit Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the powerful biopic drama written and directed by Stephen Bradley is heralded by critics as “raw and genuinely powerful,” “captivating” and “moving.” The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a joyful and rousing affirmation of the human spirit that will resound widely.”

Noble, in US Theaters May 8th, stars Deirdre O’Kane (MOONE BOY, PATHS TO FREEDOM), Brendan Coyle (DOWNTON ABBEY, THE RAVEN, AILSA), Sarah Greene (THE GUARD, THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN) and Liam Cunningham (GAME OF THRONES, HUNGER, SAFE HOUSE).

Theater location & More Info Visit their Site: http://thenoblemovie.com/ 

Follow them here: 

Facebook – www.facebook.com/NOBLEmovie
Twitter – www.twitter.com/noblemovie

 

 

When you see this movie, we’d love for you to share your opinion with us below!

Friends

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. 

Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. 
Wouldn’t you like to get away? 
Sometimes you want to go 
Where everybody knows your name, 
and they’re always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.
You wanna go where people know, 

people are all the same, 

You wanna go where everybody knows 
your name.

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/cheerslyrics.html

Those are the lyrics to the theme song from the T.V. show “Cheers”.  The lyrics speak to our common longing. We want to be known, we want someone to know who we are.  We all want friends.  And yet, in our culture today friends, real friends, are hard to find and even harder to define.

Today I had lunch with one of the guys from our church.  He welcomed me with this question and a troubled frown, “Do you consider us friends or just acquaintances?”  That beginning didn’t bode well for the visit to follow.  The reason for his question was the awareness that he really doesn’t have many friends and was I one of them?

Friends are rare.  Real friends that is.  It takes years to get to know someone and often longer to really trust them.  Chuck Swindoll said, “If you have eight men at your funeral who don’t look at their watches you had a good life.”  Isn’t it sad that most of us have so few we connect with, even fewer who know us and care about us.

In the last two weeks I have visited with several of our men and in the visit asked them, “So, do  you have any friends?”  Both answered, to my amazement, “No”.  How sad that we live in a culture surrounded by others and no one knows us, no one cares.  How have we let this happen?  Why are we so fearful of the emotional intimacy a friend would offer?

It’s even worse for our young adults.  They have grown up with electronics between themselves and others.  Many have thousands as “friends” on Facebook, but know no one personally!  It’s a tragedy that is beginning to reveal itself in the suicides of lonely people with thousands of “friends” who have never met them.

So how do we move from this loneliness to relationship? How do we connect in a way that bridges the chasm we feel between us and others?  And, even more important, what is a “friend” anyway?  That question was one we asked our waiter today as my friend and I discussed our relationship.  Even our young waiter didn’t really know.

Here’s a project for you to work on, an assignment if you wish:  Write down on a piece of paper five names of people you consider friends.  Then, call them. Talk to them. Tell them how important their friendship is in your life.  No, you can’t text them or send them a note on Facebook.  That’s missing the point entirely.  You have to talk to them. Really talk to them…and even better…meet them for a meal.  It will make a difference in your life you never imagined.  It will refresh your soul and brighten your day!

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Forgive Myself?

“You just have to forgive yourself”, my friend told me. I grievously sinned against God and another believer. My heart broke and no matter how much I asked God to forgive me I did not feel forgiven. But forgiving myself? Somehow that did not sit right in my spirit. However, I would repeat the phase to others when they felt the lack of forgiveness.

– “You just have to forgive yourself”

– “What does this mean? Is it biblical?”

Through prayer and study the Lord revealed to me why my spirit was unsettled about the statement,

– “You must forgive yourself”

As a believer I know that sin is inevitable.   Even the Apostle Paul confessed his struggle.

“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” Romans 7:19

What did the apostle Paul do when he encountered his own sin?

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25

– He acknowledged his sin.

– He acknowledged the need to be rescued from it.

– He thanked God for Jesus’ deliverance.

– He did not forgive himself.

As I continued to study I heard these questions echo in my head.

– “Did you hang on the cross?”

– “Was the sin of the world put on you?”

– “Did you endure excruciating pain?”

– “Are you God?”

Tears filled my eyes as I exclaimed

– “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

– “You did it Lord, You were the one.”

I remembered the following verse.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;” 1 Peter 2:24

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6

“Why do I still feel bad after knowing that I am forgiven? I know that I stand righteous before God because I am in Christ, so why am I hurting?” Fifteen years later I got my answer during a sermon from Reverend Ken Lawrence of First Baptist Church in Hampton Falls.   I am ashamed to say I do not remember the sermon topic but I remember him saying, “Sin leaves a wound and that wound needs to heal.”

“That’s it! I have a spiritual wound that needs time to heal.”

I sat in the pew carefully writing down exactly what the pastor said. I continued jotting down verses that came to mind.

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

The Word is a sword that goes deep; cutting out the sin that so easily entangles; leaving a Spiritual wound. The pain from the divine surgery lingers and we think that we are not forgiven.

We must allow our sin wound to heal. This takes time.

As the Word convicts and cuts, it also heals.

“I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.” Jeremiah 33:8

“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” Psalm 119:28

Why do people say, “You must forgive yourself?”   In my case it was ignorance.   Ignorance of what truly takes place in a person who has sinned against a most Holy God. I did not realize the pain I felt was the healing of a wound surgically removed by the word of God through conviction and repentance.   I have forgiveness. I stand righteous before God in Christ. Nothing can take that Truth away.

“For He chose us in Him (Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:4,7

How will you react when someone says, “You just need to forgive yourself”?  Be gentle. Remember we are all at different places in our walk with Jesus.

Maybe you are the one making this statement to others. God knows your motives. My motive was to help and encourage. Also, I was repeating what I heard.   Now I know the Truth.

So what do you say to someone who has sinned, asked for forgiveness and still feels guilty?

Have you been forgiven through Christ? Live in that forgiveness and embrace the Truth.   Please do not judge yourself more harshly than your Heavenly Father.

Give them the Word.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

Be like Isaiah. He stood before the Holiness of God, he heard the angels. The glory of God surrounded him. He was pierced to the heart with conviction and he felt ruined.

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:6-8

Isaiah did not remain in the pain; He desired to serve the Lord.

The best way to heal from a Spiritual wound is serving your God.

The power to forgive comes only from God.

I promise the pain will decrease as you bask in God’s love and forgiveness.

Cherrilynn Bisbano
Speaker/Teacher/Writer
godsfruit@juno.com

Visit Cherrilynn at Pelican Promise

Who’s Slave Are You?

As a speaker/teacher I pray about each speaking event. A study on Biblical Servant hood would be my next teaching. After all I sign my correspondence, “Saved to Serve”. I began my study by looking up the word servant. I had to carefully read and re read the online concordance. “Does the word servant really mean slave?” I checked many verses and found that in the word servant was used instead of slave. This made my skin crawl and the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. “How could this be Lord?” Thoughts of the horrific treatment of slaves in America and elsewhere ran through my mind.   As I continued my study, God showed me what biblical slavery was all about. It may not be what you think. I am not a theologian. I cherish the Truth of the Word of God and make every effort to handle it correctly. This post only touches on some of the basic points. Please do a more in depth study on your own. You will be blessed.

Servant

Old Testament-“ebed” Slave/servant

New Testament- “doulos” Slave

The Greek word “doulos” is used many times in the New Testament. It is never interchangeable with the word servant in the original text. There are about 5 other words in the bible that mean servant and doulos is not one of them.

SLAVES IN BIBLICAL TIMES

Slaves were common during Old Testament and New Testament times.   There were laws concerning the treatment of slaves.

Leviticus 25:43 “You shall not rule over him ruthlessly but shall fear your God.”

Deuteronomy 15:12-14 “If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your wine-press. As the LORD your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. “

In the New Testament Jesus did not free the slaves. He gave instructions.

“Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. ” 1 Corinthians 7:20-24

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.” God is over the master and he will deal with them if they are abusive.” 1 Peter 2:18

JESUS THE ULTIMATE SERVANT

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant (doulos), and being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7

WHO’S SLAVE ARE YOU?

Romans 6:16- “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Are you a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness?

My prayer is righteousness. No matter what, you are a slave.

God redeemed His children out of the pit of hell and brought them into His perfect light.

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” Galatians 3:13

He purchased us with His own blood. We belong to Him.

“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

God adopted us.

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

Our relationship with God is multifaceted. Being His slave is just one.

My attitude has changed from this study. I used to wake up praying” God bless my day.” I set the agenda for my day and wanted God to bless it.   Now I wake up and ask, “What adventure do you have for your servant (doulos) today, Lord?

 

Cherrilynn Bisbano
Speaker/Teacher/Writer
godsfruit@juno.com

Visit Cherrilynn at Pelican Promise