Bible Studies

Authority: Abuse or Love?Premium Content

The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men. 1 Kings 12:13-14


"What shall I do, Ms. Yvonne?" Melissa asked as we sat in my office.

Her husband had slapped their son repeatedly because he didn't put toilet paper on the toilet seat in a public restroom before using it.

When she saw marks on her son's cheeks, she questioned him. His father had warned him not to tell. He cried and finally told her what happened. She said he was a young child and made a mistake.

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When You Feel Like Giving Up - Hang in TherePremium Content

There are times (though they are fleeting) that I feel like giving up on everything and everybody. That includes me and even God. Thankfully Heavenly Papa doesn't take me seriously. And neither does He issue me a citation for going too far out of bounds from His Watch Care, Grace and Love. David said,

If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon,
you'd find me in a minute - you're already there waiting!
Psalm 139: 8-9, The Message

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Reigning Through SufferingPremium Content

...it is both sin and Satan that we contend with, and our daily handling of suffering will directly determine how much sin and Satan will prevail.

Absorbing the Evil

Evil propagates itself by a chain reaction. It is like a bad coin, which is passed on from one person to another until it reaches someone who will put it out of currency by absorbing the loss. If one man injures another, there are three ways in which evil can win a victory and only one way in which it can be defeated. If the injured person retaliates, or nurses a grievance, or takes it out on a third person, the evil is perpetuated and is therefore victorious. Evil is defeated only if the injured person absorbs the evil and refuses to allow it to go any further. It is this kind of victory which Paul describes when he says that Christ died to sin.1

G. B. Caird has given us a brilliant insight: the defeat of evil is often determined by the injured person! How? It is that person's choice to absorb the evil through longsuffering, meekness, and love. When people do this, they prevent their personal injustice to percolate and transform itself into something they take out on another. The sin stops with them.

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God's Name TagPremium Content

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Acts 2:21


When I was a kid, my cousins had a favorite pastime: scaring me senseless. I mistakenly thought by being an only child, I'd avoid the horror of sibling torment.

Not so fast. The beauty of older cousins.

Anyway, as part of this torment, my loving cousins frequently told me I was in rooms with ghosts, demons and the devil himself. Whether it was in my home or theirs, they'd lure me into a particular room, then shut the door, locking me in while making scary noises, "talking" to the disturbing entities and, of course, telling me these unholy creatures were coming for me.

Oh, happy childhood. When is it over?

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I have had an abortion. Will God forgive me?

I have had an abortion. Will God forgive me?

God's plan for your life always includes redemption. He longs to forgive you for all of your sins, including abortion. Sin separates you from God and needs to be confessed to Him. He will always forgive a repentant heart.

While God does forgive, abortion carries so much guilt that it is difficult to feel forgiven. It is an oppressive weight that Satan uses at every turn to discourage believers struggling under its burden. (See the question, "How can I have power over Satan?") God offers peace, joy, and most of all, forgiveness. He doesn't say, "You are forgiven if you feel forgiven." He says, "You are forgiven." It is something you have to believe and receive.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

I trust in Jesus for my salvation, but why do I still struggle with sin?

I trust in Jesus for my salvation, but why do I still struggle with sin?

After receiving e-mails from thousands of people over the years, we've concluded that all believers have to struggle to maintain their faith. Some folks have to struggle more than others, but generally everyone has some level of difficulty.

It's the people who have no guilt or realization of their eternal state who make the Christian walk seem all the more difficult. Show me a believer who says, "I never have to worry about backsliding," and I will show you someone who is already deep into apostasy. We're all running in a race, and God doesn't care how many times we stumble. The only thing He cares about is who makes it to the finish line.

Practicing the Art of ListeningPremium Content

Proverbs 18:13 NRSV
If one gives answer before hearing,
it is folly and shame.


I don't know whether or not I'm a baby boomer, but I do know that I've grown up in the era of psychology. Everything is about learning how to relate to others, learning how to know one's self, figuring out why we are dysfunctional.

One of the psychological "skills" that has been taught a lot is active listening. Wikipedia gives a great definition:

"When interacting, people often are not listening attentively to one another. They may be distracted, thinking about other things, or thinking about what they are going to say next, (the latter case is particularly true in conflict situations or disagreements). Active listening is a structured way of listening and responding to others. It focuses attention on the speaker. Suspending one's own frame of reference and suspending judgment are important in order to fully attend to the speaker." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_listening).

It's interesting to me that the Bible was talking about active listening long before we even had psychologists. "If one gives answer before hearing . . ." Even if we hear the sounds that doesn't mean that we are hearing the content. The reality is that if we are thinking about how to respond rather than truly listening, we are focusing (again) on ourselves rather than the other person. We are working on a "defense" for our own position, rather than really caring about how that other person feels (and thinks). We are concerned about protecting ourselves rather than trusting God to protect us.

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Are You Living the Jabez Experience?Premium Content

He (Jabez) was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, "Oh that you would bless me and extend my lands! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!" And God granted him his request. 1 Chronicles 4:10, NLT


Before you impugn this request as being too "me" centered, consider the following. According to Scripture Jabez was a man described as honorable. And as to motive; a deeper look will reveal a very God-centered heart. Jabez clearly reveals that it has always been God's desire to bless and prosper His children.

Let's consider an expanded (amplified) version of his prayer. This is a look behind the words "bless me" to their shades of meaning. Jabez' prayer actually provides a window into the true heart of God. And it reveals that our only true route to being a blessing for God is by embracing all of His blessings toward us. Consider this version as a revelation of some of the multitudinous ways God desires to Bless His Children Daily!

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Breaking Free from SlaveryPremium Content

Slavery: according to www.dictionary.com slavery is described as:

1.The state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household.
2. a.The practice of owning slaves.
b.A mode of production in which slaves constitute the principal work force.
3.The condition of being subject or addicted to a specified influence.
4.A condition of hard work and subjection: wage slavery.


And according to the thesaurus on the same site, these are some of the words that go along with slavery:

bullwork, captivity, chains, constraint, drudge, drudgery, enslavement, enthrallment, feudalism, grind, helotry, indenture, labor, menial labor, moil, peonage, restraint, serfdom, serfhood, servitude, subjection, subjugation, thrall, thralldom, toil, vassalage, work, bondage, committal, confinement, constraint, custody, durance, duress, enslavement, enthrallment, entombment, impoundment, imprisonment, incarceration, internment, jail, limbo, restraint, serfdom, servitude, subjection, thralldom, vassalage.

As you can see, slavery is not a very nice thing. The people of Israel knew all too well what slavery was when they were slaves in Egypt for 400 years. What started out as good, with Joseph being the 2nd in charge in Egypt, soon turned into something terrible and forceful when a bad pharaoh took over.

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Life's Challenges: Pointless or Pointillism?Premium Content

When I was in high school, my saintly art teacher tried her best to give us rural hooligans some culture. The jury is still out on the results. But, in the study of different styles and artists, we learned about pointillism. The definition reads as follows:

A late 19th-century style of painting in which a picture is constructed from dots of pure color that blend, at a distance, into recognizable shapes and various color tones.

The artist, George Seurat is one such artist who incorporated pointillism. His famous work, "Sunday Afternoon On the Island Of La Grande Jatte," has made its way into popular culture, as well as into the Art Institute of Chicago.

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