Bible Studies

Had a Slip? Is Your Recovery Failing?

"I will love them freely." Hosea 14:4

This is a condensed version of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. It hinges upon the word "freely." This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love us as we are.

The text is a death-blow to all sorts of conditions: "I will love them freely." Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then he would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, "I will love you freely."

We complain, "Lord, my heart is so hard."
"I will love you freely."

"But I do not feel my need of Christ as I would like."
""I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely."

"But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I desire."

Patience: Are we there yet?

Visualize this scenario. There's a car ride going on, containing one or two parents/adults and at least one child in the backseat. The child's view consists of the following: the back of the driver's and passenger side seat, perhaps, some toys, games or word puzzle books, strewn throughout. Maybe, depending upon the vehicle, there's even a Disney film being played on a television screen, just above Mommy or Daddy's head. We should be hearing the voice of an animated character or the chirp of an irritating child's song. But, instead, what do we hear?

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Does this sound familiar?

If you have children or remember being one yourself, you're probably familiar with this nagging, repetitive question:

Are we there yet?

We want to get there already, wherever "there" is.

"Unto a land flowing with milk and honey..." Exodus 3:8; 33:3

It's the Promised Land, filled with conscientious manners, harmonious relationships, well-behaved children, realized dreams and no bad hair days.

How Should You "Run?"

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

It's important that, as wise scholars, we not apply every analogy in the Bible literally (as would be unwise), but that we do ferret out the truth that we might apply it to our lives.

Paul says: "one receives the prize." We know that there will be more than one Christian, so this isn't a matter of competing against each other in order to gain heaven. Thankfully, the Lord hasn't created such a system, but rather offers salvation to any and all who will receive Him, who will believe on His name.

What then is the kernel of truth that we should grasp from this passage? "Run in such a way that you may obtain it (the prize)." The point is that there are those who run but don't obtain the prize, those who will live as Christians, but won't persevere to finally end seeing the face of Jesus as Savior (though all will see the face of Jesus as Lord).

So how should one "run," how should one live her life? What does it take to gain the prize?

What About Salvation?

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Cor. 5:17)

There are a number of aspects to salvation. Salvation isn't just getting out of hell and into heaven. There are many different things which make up what we refer to broadly as salvation -- things which themselves are great and marvelous, and which together make up a mighty work which only God could conceive and carry out, and which, like all His works, depends only and entirely on His purpose and power and not on anything in the work or its result.

What's in a name?

But now thus says the LORD that created you..."Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

What's in a name?

We cannot get around that question. From the start, we are named. As life continues, we bestow more names to children, pets, toys, places, projects, et cetera.

This naming business is far from insignificant. Consequently, it can often subject to negative, extremely personal and abusive behavior. It can challenge the recovery from our individual hurts, histories and obstacles.

I've personally encountered this toxicity. I have had people call me derogatory names; profanity and misogyny have often been at the center of those names.

It's startling, infuriating and potentially harmful to my health and recovery. Often reeling from these encounters, my only recourse is to

"I don't want to do this."

Gethsemane: Code For... "I don't want to do this."

We've uttered that statement frequently in our lives.

This time of year, there's a great deal of emphasis on Jesus. As we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, we read and remind ourselves just how this whole thing came to be: hope, salvation and reunion with God. It didn't just happen.

And a large part of it depends on Gethsemane.

Yes, Jesus is amazing and loving. But He still had a night of decision. Hours away from being crucified, there was a real moment; He didn't want to do it.

Tribulation and Faith

Even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest,
but we were afflicted on every side:
conflicts without, fears within.
(2 Cor. 7:5 ESV)


Sometimes Christians get the wrong idea about faith. Knowing that only believers enter the celestial city, we put a great deal of importance on faith, and if it wavers, we become fearful. If we experience doubt, we wonder if our faith is failing - if, after all, we're not Christians at all, or if we are, if we haven't departed from the Lord and ceased to be such. I myself have been there - I won't go into the details, but there was a time in the 80s when I seriously did wonder whether I'd ever been saved in the first place. My faith was under attack, and I grew afraid.

To some extent at least this grows out of a wrong idea of what faith is. Even the most knowledgeable Christians can sometimes make this mistake, believing that Biblical faith has something to do with our emotion state, or that it's something we have to muster up from within ourselves. Let's be sure of what faith is, and then attacks against our faith arise along this line, we'll be better able to resist. There are two related Greek words we need to consider, one a noun and one a verb - pistiz and pisteuw (pistis, pisteuo). The noun means, "reliance upon, trust in, dependence on," and of course the verb means "to rely on, to depend on, to trust." Thus, when we have faith, or when we believe, we have that trust and dependence on Christ, we're trusting Him and depending on Him. And it is important that we have the proper object of our faith. We must trust Jesus, Jesus entirely, and Jesus only. If we trust anyone or anything other than the Lord Christ, our faith is in the wrong object, and we'll never see God. If we trust Jesus partly and something or someone else partly, we're again not believing as the Bible demands, and we'll come short of the heavenly city. Biblical faith has as its object Jesus alone and Jesus to the uttermost.

And it is here that some professing Christians miss the point.

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Do You Need Wisdom and Understanding?

Give me understanding according to Your word. Psalm 119:169

When the psalmist prayed, "Give me understanding according to Your word," he obviously knew something that we too often forget: True wisdom and understanding are found ONLY through the eternal perspective of the holy Scriptures.

Trying to achieve true wisdom any other way is

Do I Choose My Way or God's Way?

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.2 Peter 1:3-4


What do I need from life? Depending on the day (or time), it's likely I would give a number of answers. I might need calm or quiet or money or acceptance. I might be looking for someone to care about me or someone to listen to me. What's interesting is

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