Too Good To Be True

February 2, 2023 by  
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By Cheri Cowell –  

If it sounds too good to be true, we are told, it probably is. This is a great truth to live by as it protects us from falling prey to untrue advertising, unscrupulous contractors, and false promises.

On the other hand, if we make this a cornerstone of our interplay with the world we risk becoming skeptics who never believe anything. We risk losing our ability to suspend disbelief in order to hold only to the explainable. This is the opposite of faith. Faith requires that we set aside this “rule” of protection and make room for that which is simply too good to be true—forgiveness of sins and the resurrection.

David had no proof; only belief in what seemed too good to be true. Yet, David chose to cling to the promise of forgiveness (remember, he murdered a man, committed adultery, and then lied to cover it all up) and the hope of resurrection for his son whom God had taken because of this. Sadly, the prophets foretold of many others who would choose not to suspend their belief in what they understood—they would never believe. Thus they would never see. Only those with the eyes of faith can hope to see.

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39 NIV).

Prayer: Thank You Lord being too good while also being true. Help me suspend my need for protection and joyfully abandon myself to that which seems too good to be true—forgiveness of all sins and a resurrection life.

Harmful Hesitation

February 1, 2023 by  
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By Carin LeRoy –

We all know the story about the frog in the pot of water. If a frog is placed in hot water, he will jump out. But if you put him in a pot of cold water and gently turn on the heat, he will adjust to the heat until it boils him to death. As he sits comfortably in his surroundings, he never realizes that it will ultimately destroy him. I don’t know if that story is true, but it can apply to life’s circumstances. As Christians we can become hardened to sin, comfortable in our surroundings, or influenced in ways that are harmful before we even recognize it.

In Genesis 19 we read about Lot who lived in Sodom. When two angels went to meet with Lot to warn him to leave, they found him sitting at the city gate. In Biblical times, the entrance to the city served several purposes—to conduct business and legal transactions, to proclaim public announcements and to address community issues. Lot was sitting at the gate, most likely, because he had become an important person in the city, possibly a judge. Therefore, he had high ranking as a leader in the city.

When God chose to destroy the city because of its flagrant sinfulness, Lot hesitated to leave (Genesis 19:16). The angels grabbed him by the hand and took him, his wife and two daughters and led them out of the city to save their lives. He faltered leaving even when warned that judgment was coming. Perhaps family members or friends were left behind, but I also wonder if he had become attached to his position of influence and so hardened to sin around him that those influenced his indecision. It was time for him to leave or he would be destroyed, too.

Sometimes God tells us, “It’s time to go. This is no longer a good situation for you.” When we hear that, do we listen or do we hesitate like Lot? Do you rationalize saying, “I can still be a witness,” or “I like my important position”? Maybe it’s, “I’m doing good things here and trying to be an influence”. But if God has told us to go and we choose to hesitate, will we suffer even greater consequences?

God sees situations that are harmful for us and will send us warnings if we are open to His leading. Don’t get stuck in a bad place if God has clearly shown you to remove yourself. Trust Him with the next step.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, that you see and know everything. Thank You that You see harmful situations in my life. Help me to listen to Your voice when you warn me. Give me a heart to obey You without hesitation.

“So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess” (Deuteronomy 5:33 NIV).

Generations to Come

January 31, 2023 by  
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By Gillis Killam –

Every generation leaves something for the next, whether good or bad.

The New Testament opens with the genealogy of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, which is traced back through David and the nation of Israel to Abraham and to Adam. This shows how important generations are to God.

When God looked at the evil antediluvian world and decided to destroy it, He found only one man who was perfect in his generation. The world had become so corrupt that everyone but Noah and his family were contaminated by evil. God provided a way for him and his family to escape the sin of this world.

It didn’t mean that Noah was sinless when scripture says he was perfect; but he had protected his family and himself from the influence of toxic atmospheres that dominated a planet that gave birth to families that were murderous, socially evil, and filled with violence. Families were contaminated in their generations.

Originally God intended that families would promote His values and beliefs and pass on their faith in God to generations to come (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

This should make us take a look at our world where the evils of the ancient world are the same as those that characterize the world today. Listen to the news and watch it on television. Worst of all they are the sins that condemned the world that are the same sins that are now deemed right and are classified as not evil. God’s patience with the antediluvians ran out and it will also run out for us. Read 2 Peter 2:1-10.

Now we are living in a world that is the same as that of the days of Noah. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37 NIV).

Before the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan, a land that was filled with evil, God gave a remedy for saving future generations. It was by teaching the children to “Love the LORD your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV), and to “impress them on your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7 NIV).

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for past generations who have lived out their faith so that we have examples of how to live in a godless world. AMEN

Deer. Deer! DEER!

January 29, 2023 by  
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By Charlotte Riegel –

It was dusk as we headed onto the road for an appointment in the city. We had not even climbed out of our valley when I spotted a deer ambling along the opposite side of the road a short distance ahead. My husband, the driver, did not see it, so I calmly but pointedly said, “Deer.”

He did not let up speed so I repeated, “Deer!” with a bit more force, anxiety rising. Still no response from my faithful and very good driver. By this time we were almost beside the animal and I feared it might cross the road in front of us, a very common practice that often ends with dreadful, and sometimes deadly, results.

I shouted, “DEER!” which finally got his attention and he began slowing speed. We whizzed by and thankfully the animal did not cross the road in front of us. All of this happened in a few seconds’ time span and I was baffled as to why hubby had not responded sooner. While discussing it after the fact, he confessed to hearing “dear”, not “deer”.

A very long dialogue ensued as to how I might have said it differently to get his attention about the crisis we were encountering. Perhaps next time I’ll rapidly blurt, “There is a deer on the road ahead!” and point towards it as well.

This incident reminds me how easy it is to use ‘Christianese’ when speaking about our faith to others, yet in reality fail to communicate what we actually mean in a language they understand.

“The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63 NIV).

Prayer: Dear God, grant me wisdom to know what to say and how to say it when alerting others to physical danger or spiritual danger, especially when there is little time to think through what we need to say.

The Struggle is Real

January 28, 2023 by  
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By Elaine James –

I woke up with these words on my mind: “Don’t give up!” I immediately rejected that thought because I really did feel like giving up and had no desire to listen. Then I remembered going through YouTube videos one day and coming across one of this little girl singing “Never give up.”

When my daughter caught me listening to this out-of-tune girl singing she said, “Stop! Turn that off.”

It is such a cliché to say to someone who is struggling “Well, don’t give up, things will be brighter tomorrow.” Some days we can receive advice like that with delight; but on other days we could respond with attitude and completely turn away from those words.

Can you identify with the struggle I am describing?

I know the people close to me are thinking “When is she going to snap out of this funk?”

If they only knew all the thoughts I was struggling with. That is precisely the point. If they knew all of the thoughts I was thinking, they would tell me to stop it…and then they would nag me to not give up! Ugh! There are those words again. “Don’t give up!”

Instead of those reoccurring words, we could say to one another, “don’t delay, run straight to Jesus.”

The Bible teaches us, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words” (1 Corinthians 2:11-13 NIV).

If we reminded ourselves daily that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), then we would hold the truth not of the world but the thoughts of Christ in our head and heart. This knowledge is completely different than what the world offers for advice when we are struggling. With Christ’s truth we must look at things differently. All our struggles can be covered by Jesus. We just need to know the truth!

PRAYER: Lord thank you for helping me to understand what you have freely given me. Teach me Lord your way to get through life struggles. Amen.

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