Lessons to Learn

When Obedience IS the Sacrifice

Picture of a clock with the words "Redeem the time" to represent the time sacrificed to do what my job required.

As Christians, we are held to higher standards than the world. We are expected to follow the requirements of those in authority over us as long as what they are asking us to do does not conflict with what the Bible commands. We do it because we are representatives of Christ, and our behavior reflects on Him. And, we do everything as to the Lord and not to men. But what happens when those requirements aren’t wrong but just annoying? Not only that, but others around you refuse to comply. This very situation happened to me this week at work. I learned a lesson about obedience that reminded me exactly who my Boss really is.

The Mandate

I’m a high school English teacher. I get to school around 7:00 AM and leave around 3:45 each day. So when the email came through instructing English teachers to sign up to attend a meeting scheduled from 4:45 to 6:45 PM the next day, I was already not happy. To make matters worse, the purpose of the meeting was so that the teachers from the two high schools in the district could get together to share ideas and plan for the next quarter. But the other high school teachers don’t do the same things we do at my level of English. They don’t even do the same things as each other. The whole thing would be a pointless waste of time, and it would add three extra hours to the end of my day.

I mentioned what a bummer it was to my two my teammates on my level. “It’s three hours after school,” said one. “I’m not going.” “What’s the worst they can do? Slap our hands? Not going,” said the other. Well, I decided. Then I’m not going either. But no sooner had I hit “delete” on the online sign-up sheet, the nagging feeling of guilt started in my head. 


“I’m supposed to be representing Christ. Everybody knows I’m a Christian. If I just do whatever I want, what does that say about my integrity?” I thought. Wasn’t there a Bible verse about that? I looked it up: 1 Timothy 6:1, “Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.” Then Colossians 3:23 popped in. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” “Besides,” that voice in my head continued, “I don’t work for people. I work for the Lord. He called me to teach. He put His fingerprints all over my job when I got hired at my school over ten years ago. I’m supposed to do my best at work to please Him.”

“But I don’t waaaaant to!” I whined back to the voice. Plus, if nobody showed up, maybe the person in charge would get the idea that the online version we have been doing to this point was fine. I was just being a conscientious objector. It was like chaining myself to a tree or refusing to leave a sidewalk. I was protesting really. I’m sure that’s allowed, right?

A Choice to Obey

But the nagging feeling just would not go away. I sat at my desk for over an hour after school going back and forth in my head. I decided I wasn’t going, and that was final. Then the nagging feeling stopped. Wait. A small shiver of fear shot through me. Did it stop because I had finally convinced myself that it was the right thing to do, or did it stop because the Holy Spirit was tired of dealing with me? THAT scared me. If it was the Holy Spirit who had been behind that feeling of guilt the whole time, this was a game changer. I never want to get to a place in which I ignore God’s voice so that He stops speaking.

Plus, just a few weeks ago, I had been in a similar position. I had a strong feeling that I was supposed to share Jesus with a certain someone, but I didn’t do it. I was in a place and at a time when it wouldn’t have been exactly convenient, so I “straight-armed” the Holy Spirit. As soon as my split-second decision was made not to comply with what He was asking, I felt the sting of regret. I had made a promise to myself at that time to always look at things from the standpoint of hindsight. So now here was my chance to do things right. Which would I regret more? Losing three hours of my time or the opportunity to show obedience to God? I decided to go after all.

It Was a Good Night

Long story short, it wasn’t a bad meeting. Only one other lady at my level showed up from the other high school, and we actually had a good conversation. I found out that we have similar backgrounds and were hired the exact same year at our respective schools. She told me some stories from her years teaching at her school, a lower-income version of my school. I shared some lesson plans and talked about my love for my kids . I also told her how I believed God had sent me to my school. On the way home, I prayed for three accidents I saw. And, when I stopped for gas, I felt led to give out a Spanish tract I had in my purse to a guy pumping gas next to me.

Looking back at the evening, I had the very strong feeling that I had done the will of the Lord. I believe that I was in the place He wanted me to be at the time He wanted me to be there. I think I had made the difference I was supposed to make – whatever that difference actually was (only God knows). The whole thing was annoying and pointless in theory, but the reality was that God put me in my position for a reason. I am not my own. I was bought with a price. He gave me the exact advantages, skills, and background I needed to do the job He sent me to do. Submission to my employer is submission to God, and obedience is the only option.

When Obedience IS the Sacrifice

The idea for the title of this article came from 1 Samuel 15:22: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” While I was meditating on it this week, I believe that the Lord showed me something about this verse I had never heard mentioned in any commentary before. Since no sacrifice is needed unless there is sin, this verse means that It’s better to do what is right the first time than to have to repent for doing what’s wrong/sinful (which would require a sacrifice). And even when obedience has a cost attached – our time, our effort, our submission when we don’t understand the point – that sacrifice IS the obedience that God desires. Then, when we look back on the situation, instead of regret, we will have the amazing feeling that we have done the will of the Lord.

Interested in more articles about workplace encounters? Check out Check out God Knows Even When You Don’t, So Pray!  It’s about a time when I prayed for the graffiti to stop, and it did. Or, try Make God’s Will My Will: A New Way to Pray. It’s a “God wink” story that teaches a new way to pray to get what you want. Or, see God Answered the Prayer I Did Not Pray. In it, God teaches me a lesson about leaning on Him for strength.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Articles for Edification

Hebrew Roots Movement: An Analogy of Priorities

These are images from the dumpster diving YouTube channel. All this good food and merchandise is thrown away because of misplaced priorities.

My friend and his wife have a pretty unique hobby: dumpster diving. They have certain stores’ schedules down pat, and every week they dive for things the employees put in the bins and video it all for YouTube. See, there are laws put in place to keep the public safe, laws that say when a store can and can’t sell and even donate items past the expiration dates. But once you get a system like that going in which perfectly good food is tossed for a date, pretty soon other things are tossed as well. In fact, it isn’t long before all kinds of valuable merchandise is going to waste. I was thinking about the set up, and part of 2 Corinthians 3:6 popped into my mind: “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” When I thought about it some more, I saw how this whole situation is an analogy of the legalism of the Hebrew Roots Movement, also known as Torah Observance.

The Set Up

For stores, following the letter of the law is essential to continuing to operate as a business. Violating those laws can get a company fined or even shut down. And the laws ARE good. They keep stores on their toes. They make sure fresh merchandise is always on hand, and they protect people from illness and stores from getting sued. 

But what following the letter doesn’t account for is the very real possibility that the food is still good when the date rolls around. Just like babies don’t know their due dates and will often come before or after the doctor predicts, food is much the same way. It’s an estimate, and often it is a conservative estimate so that products are high quality before the expiration date listed. Plus, when good food is thrown away in mass quantities, employees start to lose sight of the immorality of wasting quality items. They start to see the dumpster as an easy way to avoid the headache of unwanted merchandise or overcrowded shelves. In-date foods with cracked outer lids, in-date older stock, and even shoes, toys, and small appliances have all been trashed. Instead of dealing with those items, employees just throw them away: out of sight, out of mind. 

But following the law without using good judgement only makes sense for stores that care more about getting in trouble with the law or dealing with unwanted products than they do about wasting valuable resources. People with different concerns would find a way to get the good things to the people who need it. It’s about priorities.

The Analogy

Some Christians today have stumbled upon a very old movement with a very new name. It’s called The Hebrew Roots Movement, or Torah Observance. In fact, the Council of Jerusalem was convened to talk about it in 50 AD. Paul, himself, wrote about it just a few years later when he wrote Galatians. In this movement, Christians were/are going back to the 613 laws of the Torah. Sin, they say, is breaking any one of those 613 laws. Now, ask anyone in the Hebrew Roots Movement, and he/she will claim that adherents are still saved by grace through faith alone in the shed blood of Christ. Following the law, they say, is simply the outpouring of their obedience now that they have been saved. It’s a way to honor Jesus and the life He lived. When any one of the laws is broken, it is simply a matter of repentance to get back to right standing again.

But what the people are failing to understand is that their focus then becomes on following the letter of the law that Jesus already fulfilled instead of following Jesus Himself. It’s all about priorities. Romans 8:6-7 says, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Either we are concerned with the world and the things in it (clean vs unclean meats, what to wear, how to keep the Sabbath and follow the feasts to the letter, etc.), or we are concerned with the Spirit and the things of Him. The focus the majority of our thinking becomes our god. Either that God is Jesus Christ, or it is legalism. We can’t serve two masters.

Plus, just like the employees that start to throw other things away too, the people who are involved in the Hebrew Roots Movement often start to add to even observance of the Torah. They say that God must be referred to only as Yahweh or Yah and Jesus only as Yeshua; otherwise, this is blasphemy. Some don’t even want to be referred to as Christians anymore. They encourage people, once joining the movement, to separate from local churches and other Christians who are not Torah Observant. They have great communities online in which they discuss every detail of the Law and how to follow it appropriately. It has become a completely different gospel.

Physical Vs Spiritual Israel

For the Jewish people, those 613 laws were good. They were a system of guidelines that the people followed as evidence that they were set apart for God. He required them, and following them ensured that the lines of communication were open with God. The ordinances and procedures were physical, and it was physically obvious who was following them and who wasn’t. But that was the Old Covenant with physical Israel. It was an object lesson, a concrete symbol of the spiritual obedience that would later be required. 

While physical Israel was held to the 613 physical laws, modern day Christians – called Spiritual Israel – are expected to follow the Holy Spirit in complete submission. Our focus is to be be on worshiping and giving thanks to Jesus. We should always make sure our minds and hearts are right with Him. In 1 Corinthians 10:4-5, we read, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

The New Covenant is not about physical compliance with ordinances and procedures in order to be right with God — or even to honor God. Our relationship with Jesus is what makes us right with Him. Ephesians 2:15 says about Christ, “having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” And, honoring Him is about giving Him glory and thanks. In 1 Corinthians 10:31, we read, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

We Are Held To A Different Covenant

Being “obedient” by following all 613 laws is impossible anyway right now because several involve animal sacrifices or how to treat people groups that no longer exist. Already, the Hebrew Roots Movement picks and chooses which of the 613 to follow. As Christians, we know that Christ is our one-time sacrifice. But, even if someone could successfully follow every other law all the time, that person might still not be right with God if his/her heart isn’t right. For example, Matthew 5:27-28. In it, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Later, in Matthew 15:8, Jesus says this about the pharisees who were known for their great keeping of the laws. “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.

The Law Has Been Fulfilled

In Matthew 17:20, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

From the Strong’s Concordance, destroy is ἀπόλλυμι (ap-ol’-loo-mee): to destroy utterly. Fulfill is “πληρόω (pléroó): to make full, to complete.” The Law is God’s order, His requirement, for righteousness. Jesus didn’t come so that there were no more requirements for righteousness. He came to BE that righteousness. 

“But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”

Galatians 3:23-25

In fact, this is why the laws were called the tutor. A tutor gives you a little extra help understanding a concept. As Christians, when we look at the list of 613 rules, we realize just how impossible it would be to continually try to follow every single one without mistakes. We realize how badly we need a savior. Romans 10:4 says “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Jesus fulfilled the Law for us. He is our righteousness when we trust in His sacrifice for our atonement. 

We Have To Stand Fast

Galatians 5:1-3 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.” Trying to follow the Torah in part just makes you accountable for following the whole thing in order to be righteous.

This brings us back to 2 Corinthians 6:3. The letter kills because its just a list of rules. Life comes when we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us. He quickens us to the things we should do and avoid, but He does so much more. He gives us a new nature, new desires, and a new heart to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said much the same thing in John 6:63 when He said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” The flesh cares about flesh. The Spirit cares about spirit. It’s one or the other: death or life.

Don’t Lose Track of Priorities

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” 

Romans 2:28-29

Either your priority is following the letter of the law in the sight of men, or it is about submission to God in your heart and worshiping Jesus with your life. One or the other has to take precedence. One or the other will fill your mind and give purpose to your heart. For those who are involved in the Hebrew Roots Movement, following the laws can start to take over their lives. They isolate themselves in little groups, discussing prohibitions on the sabbath. They talk about the best places to buy kosher meats or head coverings or their preparations for the latest feast days. If they are doing a good job following the laws, they might get prideful, looking down their noses at others who are struggling or who don’t believe in it at all. If they, themselves, are struggling, they might get discouraged and decide it’s too hard, seeking solace at the other extreme of legalism: antinomianism or greasy grace.

At the end of the day, priorities determine the actions of big chain grocery stores in America. They also determine the focus of our minds and hearts. My friends have found a hobby in rescuing valuable merchandise from stores that care more about laws and convenience than they do about waste in a world of want. My friends use some, donate some, and give some away to friends and family members here and abroad. But for those who focus their lives on following Old Covenant laws, the trade-off is much more serious. They fill their minds and hearts with the outward appearance of righteousness instead of the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And that is the biggest waste of all.

Other Resources You May Like

Note: My friend’s wife is from the Philippines. The channel is bilingual and focuses a lot on the ridiculousness of the waste in America. You can view that channel here.

If you like articles about modern day movements, try The Mandela Effect and the Character of God.  In it, we see how the movement is incompatible with the God of the Bible. Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Articles for Edification

4 Ways to Avoid Spiritual Deception

A fragmented, colorful picture of a lady with chains stuck to her mind to represent spiritual deception.

“Take heed that no man deceives you.” These were the first words Jesus spoke in Matthew 24 when the disciples asked Him about the signs of His second coming. Deception is a huge danger in these last days. To say that any one of us is above getting caught in one of the fowler’s snares would be prideful and wrong. I, myself, have been caught. There was a time when it never even occurred to me that the enemy would have teachers masquerading as Christians in order to lead people into error. I still hadn’t read 2 Corinthians 11:13-14, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” I remember how I thought and felt during the whole process, and on hindsight, I learned four ways to avoid spiritual deception for the future.

God woke me up to the times we are living in between 2011-2012. In May of 2012, He let me know that I needed to get serious about my faith. He weaned me off Alex Jones and conspiracies about the New World Order. He helped me to find communities of believers online for fellowship. In those days, I watched a ton of YouTube videos. I was hungry for more and more information about the God who came for me and invited me into a real relationship with Him.

Caught in the Snare

One channel I found was a handsome Australian man. I don’t remember the name or a whole lot of what he talked about, but on one episode, he was responding to a video he had made recommending certain other YouTube channels. Apparently, he had gotten a lot of bad feedback from the list, so he had taken it down. He was, however, still recommending one channel in particular that he would not take back.

In the comment section, a man said that he and this other channel owner were witches. Another man agreed. I, of course, stood up for the Aussie. How could these two men judge like that? None of his teaching that I had seen from him would indicate anything was amiss. I mean, there was one video in which the Holy Spirit had come upon him so strongly that he had trouble talking through the message he was receiving. That was kind of weird, but God can do what He wants, right? I told the two men that they had better be careful what they said about the Holy Spirit.

Warnings Were Adding Up

I also noticed in the comments that the channel owner he had recommended made a nice comment on his video. He told her how absolutely thrilled he was for her to grace his channel with a comment. I checked her out. This channel’s name I DO remember: Still Small Voice. She isn’t on YouTube anymore because of all the videos people made exposing her for what she is, but she is still around on other platforms. I would not recommend going to her sites, but if you do, please cover yourself with prayers of protection.

Anyway, the first thing I noticed when I got to her channel was that her voice made me extremely uncomfortable. It was a little like trying to sit still while something gross crawled on me. I had to force myself to stay and listen. I got through part of one video and had to quit. The voice was too much.

I went back to the first channel with the cute Aussie. He was filming this particular video in bed. Didn’t he know that was a little distracting for the ladies? Anyway, he was recommending her channel again, so I wondered if I had been a bit hasty. I tried again. The video I tried next was about the channel owner herself having a vision. Mother Claire said that she danced with Jesus. He had come to her in the night, and they had danced together, intertwined like lovers. I didn’t get through that one either.

Prayers for Discernment

I was distressed. It didn’t make sense that a channel I liked so much could recommend a channel that made me so uncomfortable. I had to know for sure, and I wasn’t getting anywhere on my own. So, I prayed to God, asking for Him to show me if that channel was from Him. 

That night, I had a dream. I was lying in bed, and Jesus came to the side of the bed. I said, “Jesus, I love you!” Then the “Jesus” moved over top of me like a man with a woman. I reeled back in horror, and he turned into a great black dragon. The next morning was a Saturday. When I got up, I went straight to YouTube to another channel I listened to, and the brother there was talking about deception. He mentioned Still Small Voice by name as a channel that was “straight from the dragon himself, Satan.” That was confirmation enough that the one channel was false, but what about the other one?

I started thinking about the Aussie’s channel. On hindsight, he had pushed a lot of fear. He also claimed supernatural encounters that, upon further reflection, were not consistent with the Holy Spirit. Finally, when he received a visit from SSV to his channel, he didn’t react like a brother in Christ. He reacted much more like a fawning underling. I realized that Mother Claire is likely very high up in demonic circles, and it was probably a great honor for her to make an appearance on his channel. I unsubscribed from the Aussie that same day.

4 Ways to Avoid Spiritual Deception

Avoid Deception By Listening to the Holy Spirit

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

JOHN 16:13

At the time this happened, I didn’t know enough about the Bible to catch any errors in the Aussie’s teaching, but the Holy Spirit had tried to warn me a few times. The man was nice to look at, had a great accent, and talked about interesting things. I didn’t want to believe he was anything other than sincere. Each time I would get a “check,” I explained it away. The strange spiritual encounter video, the video from the bed, the fawning comment to SSV — I had excuses for everything.

Even when I heard that voice from the SSV channel that set me on edge, I didn’t stop listening immediately. I pushed through past the Holy Spirit’s extreme warnings that it was harmful. I WANTED to find value there. The Bible says, “Buy the truth and sell it not.” I was selling the truth, trading what was real for how I wanted things to be.

Avoid Deception By Listening to Fellow Christians

“As iron sharpens iron,so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

Proverbs 27:17

When the two men made the comment that the channels were owned by witches, it was a shock to me. I was watching for error, but it never occurred to me that someone from darkness would deliberately try to subvert God’s people. At the time, I also didn’t know a lot about how the Holy Spirit worked. How could I know that the man’s behavior was much more consistent with channeling demonic spirits than getting a message from God? But these two men did, and they also knew enough of the Bible to identify deception when they saw it. Instead of listening to them, considering their words, doing more research, and asking God for truth, I had immediately accused them of judging and warned them about speaking against the Holy Spirit. 

I see that a lot on posts and videos these days. Anytime people make comments that a public figure is preaching error or ask questions about a person’s fruit, people will jump on them immediately. They caution them not to blaspheme the Holy Spirt. They tell them not to touch God’s anointed, and they warn them not to judge a brother in Christ.

When Christians, especially when there are a lot of them, are warning about someone or something, we should take it to God. Don’t immediately assume that the people doing the warning are being judgmental or are in error. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Satan DOES have his people masquerading as Christians. It is good and right to be careful and examine public figures, comparing their words and behavior to the Word of God.

Avoid Deception By Asking God For Truth

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

James 1:5

The one thing I did right in the whole scenario was to ask God for truth. It took me a while, but when I finally did it, He answered me very clearly. This isn’t the only time that has happened, either. After this incident, I asked God about another YouTube channel, Jonathan Kleck. I had watched some of his symbolism videos, and they seemed interesting. But some of the things he was saying didn’t add up. I was getting those warning bells again.

This time, though, I remembered my other experience and went straight to God in prayer. Then I opened my Bible to my bookmark, and it was at Ephesians 5. Just eleven verses in, the words just about jumped off the page, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Not long after that, I saw a video of JK claiming to be a fallen angel. 

Avoid Deception by Abiding In Him

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

The whole idea for this week’s blog started with a thought God gave me on my way to work this week. I was thinking about the words, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” It’s one of those verses that we hear and say, “Yep, that’s right,” but I don’t think we really get it completely.

Then I thought of a rushing river. The current was strong, moving tiny rowboats toward the edge of a waterfall. The only boats that were not being pulled over were the ones lit up by what I understood to be the Holy Spirit. Those were moving upstream, against the current, and away from danger. Then it hit me. Deception is potent. The devil and his forces are powerful, and he knows his time is short. The only hope any of us has to avoid deception in these last days is to stay very close to Jesus and to continually seek Him for truth.

Having discernment is imperative now. Some public figures and situations are just not as they appear to be. In 1 John 1:4, the Bible says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We must listen to the Holy Spirit when He warns us that something is not right. We also need to listen to other Christians who are warning about situations and people and take what they say to the Word of God and to God Himself in prayer. And, most importantly, we must abide in Him. Psalm 91:3 says that surely God will deliver us from the snare of the fowler, but that promise is only for those who dwell in the secret place and abide under His shadow. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Like to Read More?

Enjoy articles about warfare? Check out Spiritual Warfare: A Defeated Foe. In it, God uses a housefly to teach me about the way I should view the enemy. Or, try Three Steps to Forgive From the Heart. In that one, we look at the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant and learn ways to truly forgive.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Articles for Edification

Modern Idolatry: Meeting Needs Without God

People are wired to worship. We were created by God to worship Him, and doing so meets deep-seated needs that we have in our lives. Even people who say they don’t believe in God live a lifestyle of worship. They have put something other than God upon the throne of their lives. They love it, bow to it, and surrender their all for it. As Christians, our focus should absolutely be the Lord Jesus Christ. But, if we aren’t careful, the world system all around us can muscle into the middle between God and us. We must always make sure that we are allowing God to provide for the four critical needs that worship meets. Otherwise, we, too, are guilty of modern idolatry. 

Worship Meets Our Need For Purpose/Focus

Everyone needs a purpose, a focus for our lives. We need to feel like we matter, and we always have something that occupies the majority of our thoughts accordingly. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:19-20 that a believer should go about “speaking to one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” He should be our focus, our purpose for everything we do. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

For so many years, I was a believer, but I lived for myself. The world occupied my thoughts, and my goals were all worldly and me-centered. When He came for me and saved me, all of a sudden, all my thoughts were on God continually. I prayed to Him and thought about Him. I was concerned that every decision and action was one that would be pleasing to Him. In every situation, I thought of how my life lined up with the Bible. I remember recognizing the major change in the way I thought and remarking to a new Christian friend online in surprise, “God is my God!”

Idols of Focus

But even things that are good can start to occupy the majority of our thoughts and focus if we aren’t careful. A calling, a good career, is important. But, if we are working for more money, promotions, and respect in the eyes of men so much that it interferes with the time we have to give to God, that can be idolatry. Good health is important, but when exercise or diet becomes our life’s goal and main concern, that can be idolatry.

Family is very important, and neglecting spouse or children is a sin. But, when they start to hold a position in our hearts greater than God Himself, that’s idolatry. It isn’t sin to have a nice home, car, or phone.. But, if you are never satisfied with what you have and always want more — better furniture, a new car, or the latest phone — this can be idolatry if it occupies our minds and hearts above the Lord.

Worship Meets Our Needs For Comfort

When we are sad, upset, tired, or stressed, the Holy Spirit comforts us. We surrender all of those negative feelings to Him and trust Him to take care of us. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Consider also 1 Peter 5:6-7. It says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Going to God with our problems is an act of submission. We submit ourselves to Him and let Him know we need Him.

One time a supervisor embarrassed me in front of my peers at an after school event. She had let me know already during the school year that my conservative views were a problem for her. This day, she was stressed about all the extra responsibility she was under at the end of the school year. When I was unable to find the papers she was looking for in a given moment, she snapped. She sent me home in a very rude and public way. I was humiliated and went straight to my truck and cried to God. In my prayer, I begged Him for a Bible verse that would put everything into perspective so that I could process through the hurt.

I wanted to forgive her, but I didn’t know how I could face her again after this. Within just a few moments, Romans 8:28 popped into my mind. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” A second later, I heard, “Do you really believe ALL things?” Yes, yes I do. I still felt hurt, but I knew that God had a purpose even if I couldn’t see it. He comforted me.

Idols of Comfort

But how many times do we take our need for comfort to things other than God? We submit and surrender ourselves to the mindlessness of social media, video games, movies, or sports. We lose ourselves in a glass of wine or a slice of cheesecake or by complaining to a friend. Instead of giving all that hurt to God and allowing Him to bind us up, we seek temporary comfort in the things the world can give us, and that is idolatry.

Worship Meets Our Need For Connection/Belonging

Worshiping God with music or in prayer is like picking up telephone, connecting us to Him. We hyper-focus on Him in thanks, adoration, and love, and He often responds by letting us know in tangible ways He is there with us. Often, we can feel him in church or in our prayer closets. It is then that we know deep down that he is our God and we are His children. In 1 Corinthians 6:20, we read, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” We seek out His people for fellowship because we all have the same focus to our lives: pleasing Him. We belong to Him.

Idols of Connection

But sometimes our connections to others can get in the way of our adoration for God. I have a dear friend and brother in Christ who testified at church a while back about a dream he received from the Lord in warning. My friend’s mother has a form of dementia. He had been spending hours thinking about her, praying for her and with her, and reading the Bible to her to keep her mind active. Unbeknownst to him, his mother had started to become too important to him in his heart. The Lord was now warning him that the seat belonged to Him alone. It was a sober warning for him as well as to the rest of the church who heard him speak. Family connections are good, but nothing should come before God.

But, how many times do we put our families before God? We think about them and worry instead of giving them to God? Or worse, how many of us have substituted a real connection to our Maker with connections involving politics or patriotism? We organize ourselves by political affiliation, pitting “us” against “them.” We rally around political ideals instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is good and right to love our country, but when that love supersedes the love for the things of God, this is idolatry.

Worship Meets Our Need For Guidance

Everyone has choices every day, and not all of them are black and white. As children of God, we want to do the right things. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to know what they are. So, we seek the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” God will direct us when our lives are focused on Him. We seek Him, and He answers us. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Seeking God for answers is an act of submission. We submit to Him and His direction because He knows what’s best for us.

Sometimes God answers us immediately He lets us know without a shadow of a doubt what we should do in a given situation. Sometimes, however, we must wait on His timing. This can be difficult for those of us for whom a three-second lag for a website to load is often described as “taking forever.” We want answers, and we want them now. So we look to other, more worldly, things to give us the guidance that should come from God alone. 

Idols of Guidance

A few years ago, I had a good friendship with an older sister in the Lord. We talked daily, and I would take my problems to her. Now, there is nothing at all wrong with seeking godly counsel, and elders in the Lord can often have very good advice. But, it seems that my dependence on this particular sister was excessive. I had thought after thought that I should be talking directly to the Lord about things. But time and again, I “couldn’t wait” for Him to answer and went right to her for her opinion about what to do. Not long after those warnings started, the friendship shattered. I came away with a clear understanding that whatever the apparent cause of the rift, the true reason was because I had put her above the Lord in that particular area.

One more way that people can seek counsel from places other than God is from divination. Most Christians don’t have to be told that psychics and astrology are demonic and wrong. But how many Christians do the little Facebook quizzes to tell you what kind of person you are or what will happen to you? Any time you allow someone or something to speak over your life or future, you are giving God’s place away, and this is idolatry.

Modern Idolatry

When we think of idolatry, we might picture statues like the one of Molech from the Old Testament that was an oven for burning babies in human sacrifice or statues of Mary that some people still venerate today. Really, though, an idol is anything we put above God in our hearts. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” When we get those needs met from people and things other than God, this is modern idolatry, and it is unacceptable to God. We must guard our minds and be vigilant that the only one on the throne of our hearts is the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you enjoy articles involving definitions, try Lordship Salvation: What Does It Mean to Believe? If you like articles about worship, try Are You Offering Your Sacrifice of Praise?

Articles for Edification

Lordship Salvation: What Does It Mean to Believe?

A glittering, sparkling crown with the words "I believe" at the bottom represents the Lordship of God.

Hanging out with Christians on social media can be a trip sometimes. Whether in Facebook groups or just in the comments on ministry posts, you can encounter many different viewpoints among people who are all supposed to be in one accord. This week, two people on two different sites stated definitively that giving one’s life to the Lord was unnecessary for salvation. Both insisted that the only requirement was a profession of faith. “Yes, I believe that Jesus died for my sins.” Done. Anything past that, they both cried, was adding to the finished work of the cross. They called it works salvation (also called Lordship Salvation) and heresy. But what these guys are missing is what the Bible says about what it means to believe.

Belief Is More Than a Mental Assent

James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” It’s one thing to acknowledge with your head that something is true. It is quite another thing to believe it with your life. James 2:14-17 says, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” The point here is that WHEN you believe something, you act a certain way because of that belief. It’s the evidence, or fruit, that you believe it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” But, the very next verse qualifies the statement. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” It’s not our works that save us. But, the good works we do have been prepared for us ahead of time by God. We walk in them, meaning that we do good works, because we believe that He has work for us to do.

Belief Means Living Like You Have a God

You can say you believe that a chair will hold your weight. But, if you are unwilling to sit on the chair, your actions belie your so-called beliefs. If you say you believe that there is one God who sent His Son to die for your sins so you can live, you have to live like you believe it, or your words are empty. Romans 1:18-20 says that deep down everybody knows that there is a God because they have been shown it, and there is no excuse. But everybody who KNOWS it doesn’t live like it. Romans 1:21 says, “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Think about it. If you say you believe there is a God, a real God, is it still okay to go about living your life like everybody else who says there isn’t? Wouldn’t you talk differently if you believed Matthew 12:36-37? (“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”)  If you truly believed, wouldn’t you think differently like it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5? (“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”)

Wouldn’t your priorities be different if you believed 1 John 2:15? (“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”) Wouldn’t you act differently if you believed Matthew 5:44? (“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”)

Belief Means Worshiping God as God

Finally, wouldn’t you worship differently if you truly BELIEVED that there really was an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present God with real feelings and desires? After all, would a real God (who is sovereign and not just a creation of our imaginations) tolerate worship of anything else other than Him?  Right now we live in a world that is in the hands of the evil one. Everything competes for our worship. Idols of materialism and pride/self-love wink at us from every advertisement. Music and contemporary culture pound those ideals into our brains with every picture, song, article, and post.

Can we say we believe in God but never take time to read the Book He wrote to us? Can we worship God for an hour on Sunday but live for the world and ourselves the rest of the week? Or does worship mean giving our lives to the one who gave His life for us?  In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we read, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” We are not our own. He is our Lord and Master.

Belief Means Giving Our Lives to Him

Verse after verse of the New Testament assures us that more of us is required than nodding our heads. We must give our lives to Him if we believe that He is who He says He is.

  • Luke 9:23 – “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
  • Matthew 10:38 – “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
  • Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
  • Galatians 5:24 – “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
  • Luke 14:23 – “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
  • Luke 6:46 – “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”

Belief Means More Than Just Saying “Lord, Lord”

Some of the scariest verses in the entire New Testament are found in Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

These verses are talking about people who think they are Christians. They have done works as Christians, but they did not have a relationship with God. He doesn’t KNOW them. They didn’t do the will of His Father. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3, we read, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” From the Strong’s Concordance the word “sanctification” is ἁγιασμός in Greek, (pronounced hag-ee-as-mos). It means “the process of making or becoming holy, set apart.” We must be set apart for the Master’s purposes.

God Gives His Holy Spirit To Those Who Believe

When you believe that God is who He says He is, you will commit your life to Him, and He will give you His Holy Spirit. You will be born again. John 3:5-6 says, “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Romans 8:9 says, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” When you have the Spirit of God, you have a relationship with Him. You hear Him speak to you, and you do your best to obey. John 10:27-28 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

From Lukewarm to Red Hot

This subject is of special importance to me, and it’s the basis for my blogging ministry. My whole life I called myself a Christian and believed that I was one. I went to church every week, prayed every morning and night, and always listened to Contemporary Christian music. I had said the prayer of salvation as a kid. In fact, I said it again a few more times over the years because I never felt changed. Then one day when I was 41, God woke me up to the times we are living in (the end times). He also brought to my attention one very important verse from Revelation 3:16: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

All those years, I believed with my head, but I was still living for myself. I was the lord of my own life. Once I realized that His Word was true and He would not accept me in this condition, I decided to live my life like I really believed that everything the Bible says is true. From the moment I made that decision,  He gave me His precious Holy Spirit. Since then, I have never been the same. I’m a new creation with a desire to worship Him with my entire life. He PUT the desire to live for Him inside me, and my life is now focused on the Lord Jesus Christ as my heart’s greatest desire. If you would like to watch my testimony video, you can find that here.

Lordship Salvation

Lordship salvation is controversial in some Christian circles. Some people don’t want to think that there is any requirement past acknowledging that Jesus died for our sins. After all, John 3:16 says that “whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life,” and it’s absolutely true. When we believe with our hearts, we are saved. But believing is more than agreeing that something is right. It means LIVING the truth of the thing we believe. If God really is God, He deserves that we give Him our everything. And if His Word is true, He will accept nothing less.

Want to hear more about Lordship Salvation? Check out Got Questions. Interested in more articles about testimonies? Check out A Testimony of Healing After a Prayer in Faith. Or, for something a little different, try my tract called Plugged In. It’s a symbolic short story. It illustrates the concept that Christianity is the only way, and only those who do it God’s way will make it to heaven.

Lessons to Learn

An Object Lesson About Pride in Our Hearts

This is the space heater that God used to show me an object lesson about pride.

God does enjoy a good object lesson. In Ezekiel 4, God has the prophet lay on his side, eating food by weight for 380 days, to illustrate the siege of Jerusalem. In Hosea, God has the prophet marry a harlot to show the relationship between faithful God and unfaithful Israel. Both of these stories involve spiritual concepts symbolized by physical items in order for the audience to better understand. God still uses object lessons today for those who are watching for them. The winter before last, He used an unlikely scenario with a space heater to show me a lesson about pride.

The Set Up

It was a cold January morning around 5:30 am when I hit the bathroom to get ready for work. Immediately, I reached to turn on the space heater that my son had bought me for Christmas the year before. Nothing. I saw that my husband had unplugged it to charge his phone, so I plugged it in and tried again. Nothing. Thinking it might be the outlet, I took it to my side of the bathroom and plugged it in there. It still didn’t work. I was frustrated that my relatively new space heater wasn’t working, so. I set it on the edge of the bathtub for a minute and turned on the shower to get the water warm. 

When I turned back around, I noticed something I hadn’t before. There was a band-aid stuck to the plug. Now, I know what you might be thinking: this is pretty far-fetched. And, I have to agree. But, this story happened exactly like I’m telling it. When my husband unplugged the heater, the cord had come down into the tiny trashcan next to the counter where it must have picked up the sticky band-aid. As soon as I pulled off the band-aid and plugged in the heater, I was in business. The heater worked just fine.

I wondered at the whole scenario as I finished getting ready for work. I knew that God can help us see things that we wouldn’t ordinarily see. Apparently, He also sometimes can help us miss things that we wouldn’t ordinarily miss. But why? I had a very strong suspicion that this was a lesson of some sort. Really, there could be no other explanation for the weird way it went down. It wasn’t until later that day when I happened onto a Word from the Lord that it all came together.

The Lesson and a Confirmation

Someone on my Facebook feed said that she had heard from the Holy Spirit that pride can block the flow of love. Then it hit me. The sticky band-aid had blocked the flow of electricity to the space heater. It was a perfectly good heater. It simply could not get the power it needed to operate because it was blocked. This was a physical representation of a spiritual lesson. I commented on the post about my experience, and we both had confirmation that the Word was from God. But what specifically did it all mean?

Pride Blocks us From Loving the Weak

When we have pride in our hearts, it can lead us to look down our noses on those around us who are not as strong and/or healthy as we are. I thought about times when I was exasperated by people who didn’t seem to be “pulling their weight” at work or others who seemed not to have the same commitment to coming to church every service because of illness or pain. Instead of having compassion on those who are built differently or who have different crosses to bear, I have been guilty of thinking of myself as better or more committed instead of loving them and asking how I can help.

Pride Blocks Us From Sharing Our Faith

When we have pride in our hearts, it is very hard to live our lives out loud for God. Worrying about how other people see us can cause fear to overcome any sense of love or compassion for people who will find themselves in hell without our Savior Jesus Christ. We are commanded to tell others about Jesus. But how many of us go about our lives interacting with store clerks, customers, bank tellers, and the like without ever mentioning Jesus to any of them?

A while back, God convicted me that I needed to do more, so I do pass out tracts when I’m out, but I struggle with pride every time, forcing myself to do it and even sometimes scurrying away with a quick, “Have a blessed day!” instead of sticking around to see if there are any questions or prayer requests. I worry about how people see me instead of being concerned about the consequences of not sharing the great blessing of salvation that someone had to first share with me.

Pride Blocks Us From Loving God With Our Hearts

Finally, having pride in our hearts can block the flow of love toward God Himself. He requires obedience and humility. When we are disobedient or proud, He chastises those whom He loves. When this happens, we have two choices. We can submit and humble ourselves, or we can bristle, get defensive, and pull back from Him. Like a child with a parent who says, “No,” or “Stop,” we can start to see God as strict or (God forbid) mean instead of the compassionate, loving God that He is. It’s obvious to us why children can’t go into the street or touch hot stoves, but as adults, it isn’t always clear why God has us do (or not do) certain things. We just have to remember that it is all for our good and His glory. We must humble ourselves to be grateful for His correction and love Him with our whole hearts.

Pride is bad news. It’s the sin that caused Lucifer to fall, and it’s the same one that is still causing trouble for many well-meaning Christians today. Just like the heater was blocked from power, our hearts can be blocked from having compassion for others and even fully loving God Himself when we have pride there. But loving God and loving others are the two greatest commandments, and without that power, we aren’t truly functioning the way Christians should. It is up to us to pull off that sticky pride and plug ourselves into the Source once again.

Enjoy object lessons? Check out Spiritual Warfare: A Defeated Foe. In it, God uses a housefly to teach me about the way I should view the enemy. Or, try Message in the Moisturizer: We Can Choose Change. In that one, God shows me that we don’t have to stick with bad choices once they have been made.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Articles for Edification

3 Steps to Forgive From the Heart

The parable of the unforgiving servant has a pretty straight forward message that we all understand. Forgive so you are forgiven. Got it. But as easy as the lesson is to get, that’s how tough it is to actually put into practice. Add to the whole scenario that Satan is trying to wear out the saints and iniquity is abounding, and all of a sudden we have a real danger on our hands. There is a big difference between forgiveness and stuffing those hurts and offenses deeper and deeper under the rug of the mind. We must forgive from the heart.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant: The Setup

The story takes place in Matthew 18:21-35. It starts when Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive a brother who sins against him. He suggests what he probably thinks is a very large number: seven. But, “Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Now, some versions say 77 times, which just might be a more accurate translation. It is most likely an allusion to Genesis 4. In it, Lamech murders a man who wounded him but insists that, like his ancestor Cain who was protected by God, he can’t be harmed in return without being avenged by God. He says, “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” Jesus is reversing things from radical vengeance to radical forgiveness.

In any case, we are simply to interpret the numerical phrase as an “unlimited number of times.” Then Jesus tells a parable to illustrate the concept of grace for grace. 

The Parable Itself

The kingdom of heaven is like a master who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. He called for a man who owed him 10,000 talents. Now, a talent was the equivalent of 6,000 to 10,0000 denarii. One denarius was a day’s wages for twelve hours of work, and people typically earned about 300 denarii per year. That means that it would take 20 to 30 years for a day laborer to earn just ONE talent. In modern terms, at minimum wage, he owed roughly seven billion dollars.

It was an impossible sum that, of course, he could not pay. When the master ordered that he and his wife and children be sold to pay the debt, the servant fell on his knees and begged for mercy. “‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’” A hollow promise at best. But, the master took pity on him, cancelled the debt, and let him go.

Now, as soon as the man left his master, he went right to one of his fellow servants who owed money to him. This debt was much smaller, though. It was only 100 denarii. It was about a third of a year’s wages. In our time, that is about $11,733.00 at minimum wage (with overtime). When the man could not pay, the servant began to choke him, demanding the money immediately. The servant fell at his feet and begged him. He used almost the exact same words that he, himself, had spoken just a little while before. “’Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’” With this comparatively small sum, he probably could have, too. But this unforgiving man did not have pity. He threw the debtor into prison until he could pay back every penny.

The other servants who saw what had happened were not happy. They went and told their master what the ungrateful servant had done. He was immediately hauled back in before the master. The master said, “’You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’” Then he handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he paid back all he owed.

The Lesson

The parable ends with a very chilling statement that is aimed at you and me. 

So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

Matthew 18:35

The lesson is clear that we are to give grace for grace. We are not to withhold forgiveness to anyone. No matter what the person has done to us, it is NOTHING compared to what we have done to God. God has new mercy for us every day, and most days (I don’t know about you) I need it. I try to bring every thought into subjection, but those little buggers are nasty sometimes. And, certainly, I try to keep control of my mouth, but the Bible doesn’t call the tongue “untamable” for nothing.  

As hard I try, I still have a deceitful heart that gets me into trouble and flesh that is constantly trying to talk me into bad business. And none of this is even a drop in the bucket to my behavior before God saved me and gave me His precious Holy Spirit. Now, every time I step over the line, He is faithful to remind me Whose I am and Whom I serve. I immediately repent, of course. And, every single time, without fail, God’s mercy brings me back into right standing with Him. 

Iniquity is Abounding & Satan Knows His Time is Short

We are to forgive everything, but offenses are waxing worse and worse. Not to mention, they are getting more frequent in these last days. Iniquity is “grossly unfair or immoral behavior,” and it is abounding about now.  When speaking about this time, 2 Timothy 3:2-3 says, “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” With all that bad behavior out there, the Christian is sure to get hit in the crossfire on a regular basis. When this behavior affects us – and Satan makes sure that it does pretty often – we must forgive from our hearts. This is hard to do once, even harder to do seven times, and impossible (without God!) an unlimited amount of times.

Sweeping It Under the Rug of the Mind

So what do we do when we know we SHOULD forgive, but we are so fill-in-the-blank (angry, sad, upset, tired, betrayed, disgusted…etc.), that the best we can do for the moment is an “It’s fine” through clenched teeth. We paste on a churchy smile, but inside we can start to feel a little like a punching bag. The world knows we are Christians and are required to forgive, so some people push and push. In fact, sometimes and with some people, the offenses come so fast and furiously that it’s hard to even keep up. “I forgive. I forgive. I forgive. I forgive,” but instead of forgiving, we are stuffing. Out of sight, out of mind.

“It’s fine. I forgive,” but ten minutes later when the subject comes up, our nostrils flare, and a string of words will come out of our mouths before we have had a chance to check our WWJD bracelets. Just because we don’t scream back or retaliate at the moment doesn’t mean we have forgiven from our hearts. We could just be sweeping all that hurt under the carpet of our minds and deceiving ourselves that we have dealt with it appropriately. But you can’t keep sweeping things under without one day getting tripped by the big, fat bulge in the rug. It’s the same with unforgiveness.

Three Steps to Forgiving From the Heart

So how do we forgive every single time from our hearts? After meditating a lot this week, I believe it comes down to a three step process.

Step 1: Acknowledge Our Feelings

First, we must acknowledge that there has been a wrong done and we feel some type of way. Someone has sinned against us, and it is okay to be upset. Ephesians 4:6 says, “Be angry, and sin not.” We aren’t robots. Ignoring our feelings and shoving them down deep just creates a hardness of heart that we must guard against at all costs. In order to keep our hearts of flesh, we have to allow ourselves to have feelings. Maybe it was a snide comment, a snap, a disrespectful tone, or even a betrayal of trust. Or, it could be something significantly bigger. Maybe someone caused you to lose money, a big opportunity, or even the life of someone you love. We must acknowledge that the actions were wrong and that we have feelings of hurt or anger in response.

Step 2: Forgive and Give it to God

Second, we must consciously choose to forgive and give the situation to God. Whatever the offense “deserves” for justice to be done, in Romans 12:19, God says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” Luke 17:3 says, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Let’s be clear here. Nobody is getting away with anything. Even if God doesn’t send lightning bolts to zap people much these days, every single person will stand before God to give an account on judgement day. Every careless word spoken will be accounted for. Every negative action will have a price unless covered by repentance and the blood of Jesus. 

Step 3: Pray

Third, and I think this is pivotal, we must pray. We must give thanks to God for His grace to us, reminding ourselves that God is our Master who has forgiven us a sum that we could never ever hope to repay. In response, we must cancel the debts that others owe to us. Next, we must ask for clemency for those who have hurt us. In Luke 23:24, Jesus was betrayed unto death but prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In Acts 7:60, Stephen was being stoned but took the time to breath, “Lay not this sin to their charge.” Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” It’s important to pray.

Forgiveness Is for US, Not the Other Guy

Refusing to forgive others doesn’t hurt the other people, and it certainly doesn’t create justice for the wrong done to us. It only hurts us by making us bitter, angry, or upset, and worse than that, it is an offense to our Master who has forgiven us of so much. This is an item that I think a lot of people understand on a cognitive level but have never taken to heart. We MUST forgive to be forgiven.

Our faith in Jesus allows His sacrifice to pay for our sins, but unrepentant sin cannot be covered by His blood. Hebrews 10:26-27 says, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” We must forgive from our hearts. Every offense. Every time. Because no matter what anyone has done to us, nothing is worth trading for the words, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”

Read More

If you like to look at scripture more closely, try Twinkly Trash: A Closer Look at Job 28. Or, A Different Interpretation of the Pearl of Great Price. Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Articles for Edification

9 Reasons God Doesn’t God Hear Our Prayers

A doorbell that says "Press for Attention" to represent getting God's attention to hear our prayers.

The old hymn “Prayer Bells of Heaven” is a song about communicating with God. It uses the picture of a bell at the Lord’s right hand. When we are in need, we pray our prayers, and the little bell rings to get God’s attention to hear us. The other day when I was praying, I had a surprising thought about why prayers might go unanswered sometimes. I thought of prayers like a doorbell. If you have ever tried to get someone’s attention using a doorbell when the power is out, you know it doesn’t work. You can press the button until your finger is purple, but the people inside the house will still never know you are standing there (unless you call them or bang on the door).  Doorbells need power. They have to be connected. Some people have no connection to God and are ringing a dead bell.

1. God Doesn’t Hear Us When We Have Unconfessed Sin

Sin separates us from God. It’s that simple. It’s like slamming down a barrier in between us and God. The only thing that will open the gates again is repentance. This is why it is so very important to live a life characterized by self-examination and repentance for sins so that He can forgive us and cleanse us. Then He will hear our prayers.

  • Isaiah 59:2: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God;and your sins have hidden His face from you,so that He will not hear.”
  • Micah 3:4: “Then they will cry to the Lord, but He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds.”
  • Psalm 66:18-19: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear but certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.”
  • Proverbs 28:9: “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”
  • 1 John 3:22: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

2. God Doesn’t Hear Us When We Worship Idols or Put Other Things Before God

The Old Testament is full of idolatry as a major sin. It can be hard to relate to people who melt earrings to make golden calves, but modern idols are “alive” and well. It’s just that today, those idols are all based on self: materialism, ego/pride, science/naturalism, self-indulgence, and works to name a few. When we put anything other than God on the throne of our hearts, it causes a barrier.

  • Ezekiel 14:7-8 “For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the Lord will answer him by Myself. I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”
  • Galatians 5:4 “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

3. God Doesn’t Hear Us When There Is Unforgiveness

We must forgive to be forgiven. It is simply not okay for a Christian to have anything against anyone. We must choose to forgive and give those hard feelings to God for His disposal. We must live at peace with others in as much as it is within our power to do so. The parable of the unforgiving servant illustrates just how ridiculous it is when we don’t forgive others since God has forgiven us so much.

  • Mark 11:25 ““And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
  • Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

4. God Does Not Hear Us When We Lack Charity

The Bible says, “Give to those who ask you,” and although there are certainly exceptions, if we know that someone has a need and we have the ability to meet that need, it is up to us to help. After all, we are but stewards. Everything we have has been given to us. We must do good and share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (Hebrews 13:16).

  • Proverbs 21:13 “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.”

5. God Does Not Hear Us When We Don’t Ask Correctly

When we ask for things for our own selfish pleasures, or when we want things that are not in the will of God, He doesn’t hear us. When we make vain repetitions with words after words that never touch our hearts, He may not listen. But when we ask according to His will, with our hearts, and in His name, He will hear, and we will receive.

  • James 4:3: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
  • Matthew 6:7:  “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
  • 1 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
  • John 16:23-24: “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

6. God Does Not Hear Us When We Ask in Unbelief

God won’t answer our prayers when we don’t believe He will do so. He hears us when we pray in belief that He is both listening and able to answer our prayers.

  • James 1:6-8: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lordhe is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
  • Matthew 21:22: “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

7. God Does Not Hear Us When We Are Disobedient

My pastor says “Do what you know God wants you to do. If you’re not sure, do what you think He wants you to do.” But when we know what God wants and deny giving it to Him for our own selfish motives, we are in rebellion to God, and that is sin.  Even when what He is asking is hard or puts us outside our comfort zone, we must submit to God always.

  • Zachariah 7:11-13: “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
  • Proverbs 10:24: “The fear of the wicked will come upon him, and the desire of the righteous will be granted.”

8. God Does Not Hear Us When There Is Family Discord

Problems in a marriage can affect God’s willingness to hear our prayers. We must honor our partners so that our prayers may, in turn, be honored by God.

  • 1 Peter 3:7: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
  • Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

9. God Doesn’t Hear Us When We Don’t Ring the Bell

Finally, a working doorbell is only helpful if someone pushes the button. When we try to use worldly means to get the things we think we need and want, we can cause ourselves more harm than good. Instead, we should humble ourselves and ask God for His help.

  • James 4:2 “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

God DOES Hear Us When We Are Right With Him

God does listen to prayers from His children who are right with Him. He knows us, and we have a relationship with Him that opens the lines of communication. We believe in Him, trust Him, and spend our lives trying to please Him. The Bible is full of promises that God will hear us when we are in a right relationship with Him. 

  • John 15:7: “f you abide in Me, and My words abide in youyou will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
  • John 9:31: “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.”
  • Psalm 91:14-15 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.”
  • Psalm 145:18-20 “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The LORD preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
  • Jeremiah 29:11-12 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”
  • Psalm 34:17: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
  • Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

We Simply Must Be Connected to Be Heard

Like a doorbell that must have power, our prayers must have a connection to God in order to be heard. He doesn’t hear us when we are separated by things that displease Him, but when we are in good standing with God, He promises to hear us and grant those petitions that are in His will and good pleasure.

f you like analogies, try Message in the Moisturizer: We Can Choose Change . It is an object lesson about changing for the better. Or, try The Waves of God’s Judgement and the Child of God. In it, we can see that the closer we are to God, the more protected we will be in times of trouble.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Articles for Encouragement

A Message of Hope in a Time of Great Trial

This week, like I often do, I was asking God to speak to me. He does that once in a while, and it thrills me every time. Sometimes I will get a word or phrase that will turn out to be what the pastor is preaching that Sunday morning. Sometimes, it’s a message that will show up in my Bible passage later that day. And sometimes it’s a dream that brings encouragement or correction. This time was different, though. I woke up Wednesday morning in the middle of night to use the bathroom, and I again asked God to speak to me. When I got back into bed, four words popped into my head. I immediately recognized them as the title and chorus to a rock song from the 1970’s. After looking at the lyrics, I believe that God was giving me a message of hope for His children during a time of great judgement and trial.

The words were “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” and the song was published by REO Speedwagon in 1973. Before I looked up the song, those were the only four words I actually knew. I hadn’t heard the song itself for probably well over twenty years. The story behind the song was that the band was touring in Colorado when they decided to play a trick on their manager by pretending to get lost. It started snowing really hard, and they ended up getting lost for real in the Rocky Mountains. It turned into a dangerous situation in which they had to ride out the storm.

When I looked at the lyrics, a few things jumped out at me right away as symbols. The rest came little by little and piece by piece as I prayed about it this week.

“Ridin’ the storm out, waitin’ for the thaw out On a full moon night in the Rocky Mountain winter”

The Rocky Mountains are at a higher altitude than the cities nearby. With deep snow and high winds, the weather can get dangerous very quickly. I thought of this as the Christian life. We are closer to God, but as such we not only fight the regular storms and trials of life in a fallen world, but we are battle our flesh and specific attacks of the enemy. We are all waiting for the day when Jesus will come back to fully vanquish the devil and all his storms. A full moon is just a reflection of the sun. As Christians, we reflect the Son of God. We are lights in a dark world.

“My wine bottle’s low, watching for the snow”

Wine symbolizes a few things in the Bible. The first thing that comes to mind is the “new wine” that is the symbol of the New Covenant with Jesus. But wine has another meaning as well. It is paired with judgement and God’s wrath in Jeremiah 25:15 where it says, “For thus says the Lord God of Israel to me: ‘Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.'” I believe this is speaking of a time in which will God pour out His judgement on nations. As Christians, we are already looking for it because the watchmen have been warning us for a long time that it is coming. Many countries, especially America, will be judged for turning their backs on God.

“Thinkin’ about what I’ve been missin’ in the city And I’m not missin’ a thing”

The city represents the world. The storms don’t hit the city as hard as in the mountains. For some people without Christ, they have easy lives and only have to think of themselves and their own needs. But as Christians, we constantly fight the flesh, bringing every thought into subjection. We are striving to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. We also fight the enemy who wants to wear us out and cause us to stumble.

Once we are saved out of the world, we are not to turn back. We are not to be envious of those who seem to “get away with” doing things the easy way. Also, during a time of judgement, some of the old comforts of life will be taken from us to achieve God’s purposes. We are not to spend our time wishing for those days to return but we are to be about our Father’s business.

“Watchin’ the full moon crossing the range Ridin’ the storm out Ridin’ the storm out”

God is our refuge and our fortress. When storms blow in, He is our shelter. He will be with us in times of trouble no matter where we go. But there will be an end to the storms, and those who endure to the end shall be saved. It’s just a matter of riding out the tough times until the end.

“My lady’s beside me, she’s there to guide me She says that alone we’ve finally found home”

These were the first lines to jump out at me as symbols. I immediately thought of the Holy Spirit who guides the children of God. This thought brings great comfort to me as I reflect on the idea that He is always with me, guiding me, even when I don’t realize it. While we are here on earth, we have a constant companion and Comforter, a little taste of what forever will be like when we get to our true home with Jesus.

“The wind outside is frightening”

Life can get tough, and when judgement does hit in is fullness, we could see some very frightening things. Wind can be noisy. It can knock things over and make the doors and windows rattle. But inside the comfort of a mountain cabin, the wind can do little more than make you shiver with gratitude that you are inside and warm. When we are under God’s feathers, we have the ultimate comfort in knowing that He is in control, and nothing happens without His permission. All things work toward the good of those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose. We might go through some terrible things, but God has a plan, and we will never be alone.

“But it’s kinder than the lightning life in the city”

Whatever we see and experience as children of God, it will always be better than living a life without Him. Here, that life is empty and characterized by vanity. In eternity, for the soul without Jesus, there is only eternal pain.

“It’s a hard life to live but it gives back what you give.”

This last line really stuck with me. The gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life. During a time of judgement and maybe even persecution, we aren’t only going to be able to think of ourselves and our own needs – or even those of just our immediate family. We will need to be listening for God’s voice and doing His will during a time when people will be scared and looking for answers. We will all be held responsible for what we do with our time here on earth and rewarded for all the works that stand in eternity.

Putting It All Together

If you follow biblical precedent at all, you know that many countries, including America, are due for some very hard times as God pours out judgement on nations that have forgotten Him and His ways. But there is, here, a message of hope in that judgement. God will always be with His children, and He will guide us when we keep our eyes focused on Him. We must obey His voice even when things get tough, but with His help, we will all be able to ride out the storms until Jesus calls us home.

If you are in a storm right now, here is a gospel song that might help. It’s called “Ride Out Your Storm, Turn to Jesus.” It has a similar message of hope for better days with an assurance that Jesus is with you in hard times.

If you like analogies, try It’s Not the Machine That Makes Us Clean. It compares aspects of the Christian life to a dishwasher. Or, try Three Reasons We Can’t Stop Trying to Save the Lost. It’s an analogy of the Parable of the Starfish.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Points to Ponder

Bumper Bowling and the Christian Walk

Bowling lane with the bumpers up and a clearly marked foul line to see the analogy between bumper bowling and our Christian walk.
Picture taken at Alley Cats. There were screens above, so lanes reflected the lights there.

If you have ever gone bowling with a child, chances are, you know about bumper bowling. It’s simply an adaptation to the lane for young children who are first learning to bowl. With the touch of a button, bumpers come out to cover the gutters so that bowling balls will stay on the lane. Nobody likes a gutter ball, and it’s a lot more fun for everybody when pins are hit. The other night in my prayer closet, a thought occurred to me about how the Christian walk is a lot like bumper bowling. What started as a random thought turned out to be a full-fledged analogy after seeking God in prayer. 

The Straight and Narrow

Matthew 7:14 says that it is the narrow way that leads to life (KJV). That is the exact path a bowling ball needs to travel to hit all ten of the pins. A little to the left or right, and you might only get a few or end up with a split. But for little ones just learning the game, aim can be lacking. With bumpers, balls that might be skewed too far to one side or the other are gently bumped back toward the center for a better chance at hitting something. Proverbs 3:6 tells us that when we trust in the Lord, He will make our paths straight (NIV). 

Bumpers Are Boundaries

So what are the boundaries that God has set up to keep His children moving safely down the narrow path? First and foremost is the Holy Spirit. He guides us into all truth and lets us know when our thoughts or actions are not pleasing to Him. God chastens those He loves. Listening to His correction and submitting to His will for our lives is like a gentle bump back to where we need to be on His lane. 

Second, like 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, we must “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” This is actually where the thought for this analogy came from. I felt like I was continually catching myself out of bounds with my thoughts and having to reign them back in. At times, we can have the tendency to “overcorrect.” Having trouble with feeling worthless? Be careful, or you will overcorrect to pride. We go from one bumper to the other, ever trying to hit that perfect sweet spot in the center.

Third, we must be always trying to conform ourselves to what we see in the Bible. We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only. When we catch ourselves acting in a way that is contrary to what the scripture says, we need to stop what we are doing and repent. That just means we need to turn around and go the other way. In 1 John 5:17, we learn that “all unrighteousness is sin.” We must try to behave the way the Bible commands. We must stay away from the behaviors that grieve the Lord.

The Weight of the Ball

One ingredient in the bowling experience that can make a big difference is the weight of the ball. Young kids can’t lift very many pounds, so maybe a six or eight pound ball is all they can handle. Older kids and strong men can lift balls as heavy as 12 to 16 pounds. Lighter balls are easier to swing and release, but often the heavier balls can pack a bigger punch to the pins.

As believers, we are not all given the same advantages and disadvantages on our Christian walk. Some of us live easier lives and may only hit a few pins. Some have lived through terrible calamities and may end up with a perfect strike. God uses each of us for His purposes, but often those who have come from desperate situations can make a big impact for others going through the same trials. And people called to lives of hardship can often focus more on the Lord than those who live lives of ease.

Where Do the Balls Go?

Unless you make a wild swing, all the balls on the lane end up in the same place. They go back to the docking station next to the bowlers to be used on their next turns. The Bible is clear that believers can lose their salvation if they choose to leave the narrow path. Otherwise, all genuine, Holy Spirit-filled Christians will end up with Jesus no matter how many pins are hit in the process.

What Are The Pins?

The pins are rewards in heaven. Matthew 16:27 says, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Now, we are not working for our salvation at all. All balls on the lane end up in the docking station with Jesus. But, everyone’s aim and success with the bumpers will not be the same. Some will knock down many pins, making a big difference for the kingdom of God and living a life characterized by sacrifice that will translate into big rewards in heaven.

In 1 Corinthians 3:14, we learn that “If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.” Some, on the other hand, even with the bumpers will still hit the gutter. In 1 Corinthians 3:15, we hear that  “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

The Foul Line

Last but not least, the foul line is important in the game. Bowlers must stay behind the line when delivering their swing to keep the game safe and fair. Lanes are polished so that they are very slippery, so people can fall and get hurt. Also, the line acts as a neutral starting point so that no one player has an advantage. If someone does end up over the foul line, any points scored are forfeited. Satan is our adversary in this life. He is constantly trying to lure us over the foul line so that we can be hurt or deprived of our points. It is up to us to stay close to the Lord and well back from his line so that we may keep the rewards we have earned. Colossians 2:18 says, “Let no one cheat you of your reward…” 

A Final Thought About Judgement

Maybe, like me, you haven’t thought of bumper bowling in a very long time. It is kind of a weird comparison for the Christian walk, but it works. No matter what size ball we have been given, it’s up to us to use the bumpers to keep ourselves on the straight and narrow path and try to hit the pins that make a big difference for others and will reap rewards in heaven. Every single one of us will appear before the judgement seat of Christ. We must all give an account, and we all want to hear those words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” After all, pleasing Jesus is the very best prize we could win.

Do you like analogies? Try reading It’s Not the Machine That Makes Us Clean. It’s an article that compares a dishwasher to aspects of the Christian life. Or, try Born Again: All About That Butterfly Life. An article about being born again using the analogy of metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly. Or, Check out my YouTube Channel where I will read all my posts to you while you do something else.