Spiritual Wellbeing

Making Choices

Romans 6:16-18 NRSV
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? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

The Lord has been talking to me a lot lately about how I make decisions. There has been instilled within me a strong Puritan work ethic: God only helps those who help themselves. And while I do believe that Christians are commanded to work and to work hard (and often), I think that my own worldview has been corrupted with the idea of American self-determination.

Romans is an interesting book. Of all the books, this is the one that is the least personal. All of Paul's other epistles are letters written to churches with whom he had personal relationships, but the letter to the church at Rome was written to people he had never met. Thus, Paul takes the time to outline the doctrines of Christianity. In essence, this--even more than the other epistles--is a book of the Bible written to us for this time, a church which Paul never meets and a church which desperately needs the anchor of correct Christian thought and practice.

What Should My Response to Suffering Be?

2 Thessalonians 1:3-8 NRSV
We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

It’s interesting that Paul doesn’t address the persecutions of the Thessalonians in the same way that we often address persecutions. If you think about it, most pastors tell us that our faith is exemplified when we take authority over Satan and believe that our trials will disappear based on God’s love. But Paul, rather than preaching that, says that faith is based on persevering through afflictions.

We need to ask ourselves what we believe.

Fly to Him


Learn the Divine skill of making God all things to you. He can supply you with all; or, better still, He can be to you instead of all.

Let me urge you, then, to make use of your God. Make use of Him in prayer; go to Him often, because He is your God. Will you fail to use so great a privilege?

Fly to Him; tell Him all your wants. Use Him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded you, use your God as a "sun"; if some strong enemy has beset you, find in Jehovah a "shield"; for He is a sun and a shield to His people. If you have lost your way in the mazes of life, use Him as a "guide"; for He will direct you.

Rebuilding Your Old Ruins in Christ JesusPremium Content

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
Isaiah 61:4, NKJV

This Scripture really spoke to me this morning as I thought of how so many of us come from places of brokenness, of loss, of deep wounding. We can sometimes wonder if wholeness is a real possibility for us again, or is it just a pipe dream?

I do not believe Jesus is the Author of pipe dreams. Nor is He the author of confusion and the chaos that comes from our addictions and sin and life-controlling problems. But He is the Author of Life, the Author of the rich, eternal, abundant Life that flows forth from within His Spirit and up into our hearts and spirits as He pours His Love and Hope into our hearts:

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Profiting from the ScripturesPremium Content

(1) For one thing, begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing--is to do it; and the way to read the Bible--is actually to read it! It is not merely meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it--which will advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read it to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears--the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.

(2) For another thing, read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it. Do not think for a moment, that the great object is to turn over a certain quantity of printed paper, and that it matters nothing whether you understand it or not. Some ignorant people seem to imagine, that all is done if they advance so many chapters every day, though they may not have a notion what they are all about, and only know that they have pushed on their bookmark ahead so many pages. This is turning Bible reading into a mere ritual form. It is almost as bad as the Popish habit of 'buying

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Job 42:7 MRSV
After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has."

Job was a righteous man, a man who loved and served God with all his heart and might. He was a man who had prospered in an earthly sense, owning many flocks and having twelve children. He also was a man blessed with good health. All of this God allowed Satan to take from Job. Job’s life went, in a matter of days, from being comfortable and happy to being alone and miserable.

There is a saying: Bad things happen to good people.

Are You a Person Who Fears God?

Psalm 119:74 NRSV
Those who fear You shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in Your word.

I want people to like me. I mean, I really want people to like me. I think many of us do. It’s a natural thing, to want to be liked and accepted. But more than that, whether consciously or unconsciously, we all work at trying to create a culture around us that’s comfortable. We want our friends and associates to share our morals, values, and habits. And it becomes uncomfortable when we find ourselves planted within a group of people with whom we have little of value in common.

Life is Messy, Sloppy, Sometimes Miserable

Isaiah 43:10-13
"But you are my witnesses, O Israel!" says the Lord. "And you are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God; there never has been and never will be. I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your deliverance; I declared what I would do, and then I did it -- I saved you. No foreign god has ever done this before. You are witnesses that I am the only God," says the Lord. "From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can oppose what I do. No one can reverse my actions" (NLT).

When We Have to Wait

James 1:17
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

I'd like to say that I hate to waste time. I mean, I can sit in meetings and fume at how slow everything goes and what inane questions others ask. I can be just as impatient with Father God Who is -- according to my way of thinking -- working much too slowly and holding me back from my life's ambitions.

The fact is, I hate to wait. But, if I am truly honest, it's more that I want to control my time and my efforts. I want to lallygag and waste time when I want to

Forgiveness, Grace, and Sin

Romans 6:1-2, 6 NSRV
Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?... We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.

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