God’s Commandments—His Rules Have Reasons

You can learn today what the tribes learned too late.

The names may not sound like much. Names like Beth Shean, Taanach, Megiddo and Gezer. These were cities whose residents the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim failed to drive away. So what?

God’s Commandments—His Rules Have Reasons

(Photo: Megiddo sat in a strategic spot. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Why not let the inhabitants live in this region since they wanted it so badly? The Lord knew why. The failure of the tribes to drive out the inhabitants defied God’s commandments to resist the culture. Instead, God’s people tolerated the culture . . . and then embraced it.

Their example urges us to evaluate God’s commandments in our own lives.

His rules have reasons. (And they are good ones.)

Click to continue reading »

Who is Guarding Your Great Wall?

I recently went to China with colleagues from Insight for Living. What a vast and beautiful country—and so much potential for ministry. While there, several of us got to visit the Great Wall.

Who is Guarding Your Great Wall?

(Photo: By Hao Wei from China. Flickr. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

I was amazed at how vigilant the wall builders were to ensure the safety of their country against potential enemies. (See some of my pictures below from my Instagram Feed.) Of course, history reveals that a guard allowed the enemy to enter through a gate and compromise the wall’s security. 1500 miles of wall compromised by one traitor in the gate.

In our spiritual lives, we have that same traitor.

Click to continue reading »

Self-Control—It’s More than Sexual

Marrying context and desire brings joy—not shame.

Too often, self-control kicks in only as a matter of pride. We apply the brakes by asking questions like: Will I look foolish if I have a third slice of cake? Not terribly spiritual, but hey.

Self-Control—It’s More than Sexual

(Photo by Photodune)

Life hands us daily situations in which self-control seems impractical, irrational, and even impossible. And yet, amazingly, at other times:

  • While arguing with our spouse, and the phone rings, we answer the call and suddenly we have self-control.
  • Our boss lays into us about something that’s totally unfair. We fume, but bite our tongue.
  • Our tummies start to expand beyond our belts and bathing suits. So we cut back on sweets.

When our reputations, our jobs, and our physiques are at risk, we apply self-control. Why? Because something more important than immediate satisfaction seems threatened.

But somehow sex is different?

Click to continue reading »

Why You Can’t Afford to Stay as You Are

A couple of months ago I noticed the “maintenance” light come on in my car. That meant the oil and filter needed changing. I thought, Yeah, I’ll do that soon. Right.

Why You Can’t Afford to Stay as You Are

(Photo by Photodune)

About a month went by and I thought: You know, I need to deal with that. I forgot again. It wasn’t until a couple weeks later I finally got it changed. I put it off because I’m a busy guy—and hey, oil and filters can always wait another day.

But then another warning light went off. This one was serious.

Click to continue reading »

Hurling the Sin We’ve Swallowed

I went to a movie with a friend, and he gorged on popcorn, cokes, and candy. As the movie was about to end, he leaned over and whispered: “I don’t feel good. I’ll wait for you in the back.” As I walked out, I saw him holding his stomach and twisting his face.

Hurling the sin we're swallowed

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

“You want me to drive?” I offered.

“No, no, I’ll be okay,” he said.

On the way home, he slammed on the brakes, opened his door, and hurled in the street.

“You sure you don’t want me to drive?” I asked again.

“No, no,” he said, breathing heavy. “I—I feel better now.”

We drove another hundred yards, and he slammed the brakes on again! (The seat belt began to hurt my shoulder.)

Later he told me after he got home he spent some time in the bathroom. I can imagine that point in his ordeal—as he leaned over the commode and begin to experience the candy and popcorn for the second time—that he asked himself: Why in the world did I ever eat this?! Talk about regret!

I can think of no better illustration of sin and temptation in our lives than this true story.

In fact, that’s what happened to a man named Lot.

Click to continue reading »

A Spiritual Juneteenth Offers You Freedom

Freedom from anything begins by knowing you are free. Juneteenth—a short version of “June 19th”—remains a state holiday in Texas. It remembers the day good news arrived.

you can have freedom

(Photo: Monkey Business Images, via Vivozoom)

But before this date in 1865, freedom had been a secret for two and a half years.

For many Christians, spiritual freedom is still a secret.

Click to continue reading »