Beyond our ability is…God

“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 – 1:9 NLT)

Tough times happen. Trouble comes. Yes, even for people who seem to have it all together, and are a testimony of godliness to their community.

Take the apostle Paul. Busy with God’s work, he ran into some unexpected trouble. At one point, he and his pals thought they might even die!

See what he wrote? “In fact, we expected to die.”

But they didn’t die.

Instead, they learned something very important.

“…we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”

They learned to rely on God.

Even if things didn’t turn out the way they wanted, they were still determined to rely on God.

On God Who raises the dead.

You could possibly be facing the biggest problem you’ve ever faced. It might be a huge physical problem, financial worries, or family relationship issues.

And it may appear to be just about over; finished with no way out.

But maybe you could take this opportunity to learn something about God.

He’s faithful, He will not quit, and…

He raises the dead.

I’m not saying it’s a fun time, nor do I believe that’s what Paul was implying.

Troublesome times come, even to those who seem to be God’s special people.

But we can face those moments much easier if we’ve prepared ourselves to rely upon God Who raises the dead.

Even when things look hopeless.

Are you ready for your next lesson?

With Healing In His Wings

There is a special place in God, a place known as the Secret Place, or the Hiding Place.

It’s a place of peace, protection, provision; the fulfillment of God’s Promises.

A place where healing flows freely, grace covers like a shield, and no evil is allowed.

A special place where all the promises of God have been secured by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

It’s a place known also as The Shadow of His Wings; the Mercy Seat of God.


He is our place of refuge. Our place of communion with Almighty God. The Table prepared in the presence of our enemies.

“There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.” (Exodus 25:22 ESV)

Meeting with the Lord under the shadow of His wings, at the place where His testimonies, presence, power, and mercy all join together, is the place to which He calls us.

“Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles.” (2 Chronicles 5:7 – 5:8 ESV)

Notice King David’s words:

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.” (Psalm 17:8 ESV)

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” (Psalm 36:7 ESV)

“…for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” (Psalm 63:7 ESV)

“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4 ESV)

It so grieved the Lord Jesus, shortly before His crucifixion, that His people would reject Him; would fail to run to His place of protection and fellowship. Scripture records Him weeping while lamenting over the city of Jerusalem.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Matthew 23:37 ESV)

It grieves Him today, with mankind clamoring to find meaning in life without God. He calls to each person, “Come to Me”, yet many have not yet answered His call.

However, there is a special promise for those who look for and find the secret place.

“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2 ESV)

You see, He didn’t go through all He did just for everything to remain the same. He wasn’t punished for His sins. No! It was for us.

“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3 – 53:5 ESV)

And now the place of eternal refuge AND healing is open to whoever will dare to believe; will dare to receive Jesus Christ as Lord (Ruler) of their life.

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”(Romans 10:13 ESV)

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6 ESV)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)

For when we take a step toward Him, He arises with healing in His Wings.

And new life begins…

It’s time to stop the thief! (part two)

As I mentioned in the last blog, while reading Ephesians 4:28, something really stood out to me.

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (ESV)

The words my eyes and heart seemed to lock in on were “Let the thief no longer steal…”

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

Jesus is speaking of the devil, and while Jesus has gone to the cross and paid for our freedom from the devil, he, the thief is still finding plenty of people to rip off; even those who are born again.

How is this so? The first way is when someone doesn’t know the thief’s plans (is ignorant of his devices), and isn’t ready for the attack. He may not even be aware he’s been robbed!

Paul said we’re to be aware of what our enemy is up to.

“…so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV)

So did Peter.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

Designs, devices, plans, ideas, thoughts, plots… all speak of something the evil one does on purpose, for a specific outcome.

Our responsibility, if we’re to stop the thief, is to first know the character and nature of our adversary, and through the word and leading of the Spirit of God, recognize the ploys of our enemy.

Jesus said, “But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.” (Luke 12:39 ESV) 

Sure, He was referring to the coming of the Lord. But what He said also applies to every area of our life; i.e. don’t allow the thief any room to work in your life.

So how can we keep him at bay?

1. Learn to hear the Master’s (Jesus) voice. He speaks in accordance with His word, so become a student of the Word (especially the New Testament).

2. Be quick to respond to a prompting of the Spirit, even if it doesn’t make sense. What if you’re not sure it’s God? Then talk to a friend who has a history of hearing and obeying God. They may be able to help you sort things out.

3. Don’t accept everything that comes into your life as God’s will. It just isn’t so. If everything was God’s will, there’d be no reason to be vigilant about watching for the devil’s maneuvers.


That’s why it’s of utmost importance to know the difference between God’s will and the thief’s shenanigans.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15 – 5:17 ESV)

Do we have time to waste? Then we have time to get to know our Father and His ways better. For the better we know the Father’s voice, the better we’ll be at fending off the thief.

God’s will brings peace and wholeness, while the thief’s intent is to steal, kill, and destroy.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17 ESV)

The next post will cover the second reason why the thief is getting fat off the lives of God’s people (and how to stop him).

We compromise God’s “security system” (ignore His word):

A. with our actions (or lack of action)

B. our words

C. our attitudes


It’s time to stop the thief! (part one)

I read a familiar scripture today and it was as though God was speaking directly to me. I saw it in a different light than I’d ever seen it in the past.

The scripture was Ephesians 4:28, which reads: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (ESV)

The part my eyes and heart seemed to lock in on was “Let the thief no longer steal…”

Immediately I thought of different tests, trials, and attacks my family and I have endured over the last several years. And although God has been faithful throughout all we’ve gone through, the Lord was reminding me about my responsibity to make sure the thief, that is, the devil, isn’t given free reign over my life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

Jesus said the devil is a thief, killer, and destroyer.

When allowed to initiate and perform his designs for us, we will never taste of the abundant life Jesus promised.

I thought about some different areas where the thief had been allowed to go about his business uncontested.

Here is a list of things the thief typically uses to gain entrance to our affairs; virtually bypassing any security system God has for us.

The thief is “allowed” to operate when:

1. We don’t know his plans (ignorant of his devices)

2. We compromise God’s “security system” (ignore His word)

A. with our actions (or lack of action)

B. our words

C. our attitudes

3. We let diligence be replaced with slothfulness

4. We don’t understand how totally defeated our adversary is

5. We allow pride to keep us from calling 911

6. We’ve turned over our “house keys” to the thief

7. There’s no power in the house (all the lights are off)

8. We are entangled with care and worry

9. We refuse to forgive

10. We make no attempt to stop the thief (unarmed)

Over the next week or so, I’ll address each of the ten items listed. With scriptural and personal examples you’ll get a better idea about how to stop getting ripped off by the thief.


The Marriage Bed

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you…” (Hebrews 13:4 – 13:5 NKJV)

What an interesting passage of scripture. I used to believe the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews was kind of a catch-all chapter; you know, a thought here, another thought there. Nothing tied together. Simply a number of random thoughts, possibly even last minute thoughts the writer didn’t want to leave out.

I felt verses 4 and 5 were completely unrelated.

But I now believe I was wrong.


Discussion about the marriage bed, covetousness, and contentment together?

Stranger things have happened.

Let’s take a look and see.

The writer declares marriage is honorable; or, in other words, marriage is precious, greatly esteemed, and highly favored of God. It’s God’s design and delight. Throughout scripture, from “God blessed them” in Genesis to “heirs together of the grace of life” in 1 Peter, the value God places on marriage is clear.

He ordained it, loves it, and wants to bless it.

Marriage is special to God.

Marriage includes the marriage bed.

The word translated “bed” is from the Greek word “koite”, which is where we get our English word “coitus” (meaning the physical union of male and female).

Let’s make sure we get this straight before moving on: marriage is precious to God, and He’s not put out when a married couple express their love and commitment to each other by having sex. He doesn’t see it as vile, vulgar, dirty, or anything like that.

But that doesn’t mean just anything goes.

“Marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled…” indicates not only God’s opinion of sex, but also warnings against allowing it to become something other than the beautiful thing it is.

The Lord’s intention from the beginning was for His people to enjoy the gift of sex; without selfishness, greed, thoughts or images of another person defiling or making the marriage bed impure. And He wants us, people who declare Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, to steer clear of any sexual immorality.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3 – 4:5 ESV)

In Hebrews 13:4, as well as in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, the Greek words translated as fornication and sexual immorality have basically the same root word; “Pornos”. It’s where we get words such as pornography.

In other words, pornography defiles the marriage bed.

Anything that trains the emotions and flesh to escape true intimacy and focus on selfish imagery, one’s own feelings and pleasures, memories of another person, completely goes against God’s intent and favor for the married couple.

Pornography, even “soft porn”, is a killer of true intimacy, even if viewed together (as some misguided counselors prescribe); and it most definitely defiles the marriage bed.

“Marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled…let your conduct (way of living) be without covetousness; be content…”

Allowing pornographic images into your marriage bed feeds the spirit of lust, not true love and intimacy. It pumps more fuel into such troublesome spirits as covetousness and discontentment.

What should be the expression of commitment and complete oneness is reduced to an act not much above that of a couple of alley cats.

Defiled. Not satisfied. Needing more imagery, more graphics, more anything than what the spouse, the covenant partner, is able to give.

An open door for the enemy to come in and steal, kill, and destroy.

Once more, let’s look at our Hebrews passage. Only this time, read my loosely paraphrased version:

“Marriage, the union of a man and woman, is precious and extremely dear to God. He has established the marriage bed, that place where the marriage was consummated and where physical intimacy takes place, as a place of purity and holiness in His sight. Purity protects the union, but He will judge (that is, contend with, fight against, incarcerate, or remove) anything that attempts to defile the marriage sanctuary (to include pornography, uncontrolled and selfish acts, impure imaginations, and violations of the marriage covenant whether in thought, word, or deed).”

“So guard yourself, and your marriage bed, against covetousness; be content with the one God has joined you with. For He will never leave you or forsake you. You can depend on Him to continually bless your marriage union; spiritually, emotionally, and physically. His way.”

Remember, God created the marriage bed as a place of perfect enjoyment AND purity.

Don’t settle for anything less.

What is a “Manly” Man?

I’ve heard the same thing before, but when someone said it again a couple of days ago I thought to myself, “What a jerk! And horribly deceived!”

Maybe I shouldn’t have thought the first part, but then, it’s what the guy who said it was acting like.

What did he say?

“I’ve never felt so manly.”

What’s wrong with saying that?

Context, people, context.

He was referring to how he felt since he’d thrown away his wife, trampled his marriage vows into the dirt, and taken up with another man’s wife.

That is NOT a “manly” thing to do!

So what does a manly man look like? How can one be recognized?

It has nothing to do with outward appearance. Whether a guy is beefed up like Mister Universe, tough as Clint Eastwood, or as skinny as Wally Cox; it makes no difference in the manly department.

A guy who is manly is one who acts like a real man.

Not a Hollywood depiction of a man, but someone who lines up with the Creator’s description as we see in the word of God.

So what makes a man manly?

1. One who finds their purpose and pleasure in knowing Father God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

“…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV

“…and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…” Colossians 3:10 NKJV

2. A guy who allows the Holy Spirit to guide him, even when it’s not a comfortable thing to do.

3. A man who keeps his promises to His God, his wife and children, and society in general. A man of integrity.

4. A guy who fights for his family – their honor, physical protection, and spiritual well being.

5. A guy who lays down his life for his wife.

6. Someone who isn’t swayed from his commitments through the wiles of an immoral woman.

7. A man who trains his eyes to look no further than his own wife for intimacy, whether intellectual, emotional, or sexual.

8. A man who doesn’t treat his wife and children like possessions, but rather individuals who have a right to their own opinions. He is considerate of others, but is not afraid to speak loving correction to those in his care.

9. Someone who takes care of his responsibilities before God and man (which includes working).

10. A man who doesn’t walk in step with the godless.

11. Someone who will cherish the mercy he’s received from God enough to extend that same mercy to others.

12. A man who can readily admit his mistakes, seek forgiveness, and respond to correction.

13. A guy who is not stingy, but instead knows the joy of giving.

14. Someone who trains his tongue for righteousness and the glory of God.

15. A guy who seeks unity among the Body of Christ, while abhoring jealousy, lying, and strife.

16. Someone who does not allow failure to define him, but turns his heart back to God and begins anew.

17. A man with true friends – who can speak with him about anything.

18. One who prepares for the storms of life, while trusting in his Savior.

19. A man who not only can handle correction, but more importantly, praise.

20. A guy who listens more than he talks.

Other scriptures: Romans 8:12-14; Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 15; Ephesians 5:21-33; Proverbs 5-7; Psalm 1:1-3; Matthew 5; 2 Corinthians 9:6-10; Proverbs 27:21; Proverbs 13:3

Would your wife say you’re “manly”? Would your kids?

How about God?

Christians and the Consumption of Alcohol. 

The debate rages on: should or shouldn’t Christians drink alcoholic beverages? I’ll toss in my opinion right at the start of this post by saying no, they shouldn’t.

But I’d like to further add that I don’t believe ANYONE should drink alcohol; Christian or not.

No, I am not of the mindset that a glass of wine will send someone to hell. If murder won’t (and it doesn’t), then getting a buzz off a bottle of champagne won’t do it either.

The ONLY thing that sends a person to hell is the rejection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, Who gave His life so we could all have eternal life. 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16 – 3:18 ESV)

My wife and I enjoy watching the original MacGyver. The other night, an episode was called “Twenty Questions”. It was about a ninth grade girl with a drinking problem.

Because of the episode, I Googled “Twenty Questions” and found the following self-test from an Alcoholic’s Anonymous website.

The person taking the test was instructed to be completely, brutally, honest with themselves, answering yes or no to each question.

Maybe you could give it a whirl…

1. Do you lose time from work due to your drinking?

2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?

3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?

4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?

5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?

6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?

7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?

8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?

9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?

10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?

11. Do you want a drink the next morning?

12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?

14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?

15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?

16. Do you drink alone?

17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?

18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?

19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?

20. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

The instructions went on to say any “Yes” answer COULD indicate you are, or are on your way to becoming, an alcoholic.

It has nothing to do with getting stumbling drunk. It has everything to do with becoming dependent upon it.

Alcohol consumption may be all the catalyst needed to badly mar or ruin a person’s life; or at least allow just enough room in their life for a spirit of deception to operate. One cannot be filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1) and deception at the same time.

A person cannot be led by the Spirit of God if their mental faculties are discombobulated because of alcohol. And although it’s true there are times we need to trust our heart rather than our reasonings, the mind still must choose to obey what it believes the Spirit of God is saying.

Here are some biblical reasons why I believe abstaining totally from alcohol is the best course to take for everyone; and ESPECIALLY those who are serious about following in the footsteps of Jesus and making an eternal difference in their world. (There’s no particular order to these points, but are listed as they appear in the scriptures.)

a. Incest, sexual perversions of all kinds, are more likely to happen when one’s reasoning is impaired (Genesis 19 – the Case of Lot and his 2 daughters)

b. Idolatry and other sorts of corruption have taken place when people yielded to a “party spirit” (Exodus 32 – the Saga of Aaron’s Golden Calf).

c. The Priesthood was given specific instructions from the Lord “Do not drink wine nor strong drink…when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation…” (Leviticus 10:9). As New Testament believers in Christ, we are ALL kings and priests unto God (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). See also Proverbs 31:4,5.

d. Moses’ (speaking for God) words, at the end of the 40 year wilderness experience, and shortly before he died, “…neither have you drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” – Deuteronomy 29:6. The Lord must have thought it was more important for the Israelites to know Him than have that “feeling of relaxation”. And apparently it would have been next to impossible for them to do both.

e. Samson was NOT SUPPOSED to drink wine or strong drink…but he felt he had a better idea. Drink wasn’t the only reason his calling and life was cut short, but it contributed.

f. “Wine is a mocker (against one’s own self), strong drink is a brawler (fightings within and without), and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Not too hard to figure that one out, huh?

g. “Who has woe… sorrow… contentions… complaints… wounds without cause… or redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, who go and search for it” (Proverbs 23:29).

h. “Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down” (Proverbs 23:31 NLT). The passage goes on to describe how the alcohol will at last “bite like a serpent and sting like a viper.” No thank you. That’s not for me.

i. “Woe to them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; and continue until night, until they are inflamed!” (Isaiah 5:11)

j. Daniel, along with his three buddies, chose to not “defile” themselves with the king’s food and wine (Daniel 1). Because of Daniel’s stance, God gave he and his friends ten times the wisdom of the others, and Daniel was able to be used of God to affect NATIONS.

k. “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (or a waste of one’s resources and faculties); but (rather, instead) be filled with the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 5:18).

People say, “I’m not getting drunk.” But how can they know where that line is between a social drink or two, a slight buzz, and total inebriation? What if they can’t handle as much as they thought they could?

Someone may argue, “Paul told Timothy to ‘drink no longer only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities’…” (1 Timothy 5:23).

Fine. If that is truly the reason for drinking (and the amount consumed, i.e. “a LITTLE wine”), then okay.

But from what I have gathered by hanging around other believers over the last ten years or so, that is NOT the case. Instead, there seems to be more of a party spirit associated with Christians and their drink than anything else. “It’s my right, I’m not hurting anyone else, and I’m not getting drunk, so I’m going to relax, unwind, and have some fun.”

“Besides, Jesus turned water into wine.” Yep. He also raised people from the dead.

What about you? Are you a Christian who consumes alcohol? Can you live without it? Have you tried?

If you love your alcohol, that’s really between you and God. But would you be WILLING to dump all of your drink down the sink if it would mean knowing Him even just a tiny bit better? Would you drop any and all alcohol consumption if He told you to?

Did you take the AA self-test?

Were you totally honest?

Are you hearing what I’m saying?

Will you help God raise the dead?

Do you sometimes feel very unimportant? Does it seem like others are being noticed for all they do, while you live your life in obscurity?

“I’m just a stay at home mom.”

“I’m just a retired factory worker.” 

“I’m only a truck driver.”

“I’m only a____________________ .” (fill in the blank)

Could it be you’re missing something? Perhaps there’s more to life than you’ve imagined.

For instance, have you ever given someone a call, or sent them a text, just to let them know you were thinking of them? That they are loved and extremely valuable to you?

Did you know that God uses people, people such as you and I, to raise others from the dead?

Really? Absolutely!

And only God knows how powerful your words of encouragement can be to someone else.

The great Apostle Paul, minister extraordinaire and writer of half the New Testament, had times when he was discouraged. God didn’t always send an angel in the middle of the night to raise his spirits; many times He used “just” an ordinary person.

Someone like you and I.

“But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus.” (2 Corinthians 7:6 NLT)

Titus was an elder on the island of Crete. At least he was when Paul wrote him the letter we know as Titus. But before that, Titus was just a guy who accompanied Paul and Barnabas as they went from city to city planting churches.

More or less, Titus was “just a roadie”.

Some would look at him as unimportant since he wasn’t preaching, teaching, or leading worship.

In other words, he was a behind the scenes dude who was known only as one of Paul’s companions.

Kind of like, “she’s so and so’s wife…”

But to Paul he was known as “my encourager.”

Many people have experienced times of deep discouragement where living seems futile. What’s the purpose of continuing, they ask themselves. Hopelessness envelops them like a cocoon, and eventually suffocates the very life out of them.

Even if they keep on existing, the life is gone.

“But God…” has an answer for discouragement. He sends encouragement to the downtrodden.

How? With the help of people like you and I.

Encouragers. God uses encouragers to help raise people from the dead.

Remember Lazarus? The guy Jesus loved, but waited until he was dead before He came on the scene? Well, Jesus was credited with raising Lazarus from the dead, but who helped with the process?

Those to whom He said, “Remove Lazarus’s graveclothes.”


God uses ordinary people who have no title, to assist Him with one of the greatest acts known to man.

Raising people from the dead. 

So, whether you’re a big name preacher, CEO of a large corporation, or “just a stay at home mom”, you can be part of the greatest ministry on earth.

Encouragement – helping God raise people from the dead. 

Go ahead, give it a try. And remember what Solomon wrote many years ago…

“…those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25 NLT)

Adultery – A Brainless Act

This is for everyone who is even remotely entertaining the idea of having some “extramarital fun”. Who has become flirty with the guy at work, or the gal next door. The couple who’ve allowed their marriage to become nothing more than a document filed in a county courthouse somewhere.

For the person who believes internet chat rooms and pornographic web sites aren’t a problem.

Maybe it’s for you, or someone you know.

Webster defines adultery this way – sex between a married person and someone who is not that person’s wife or husband.

Some folks call it an affair, others try to convince themselves “everyone is doing it”. They believe the rhetoric which says “traditional marriage is old-fashioned.” Still others will try and write it off as a one night stand, a lapse in judgment; one of those “I couldn’t help myself” moments.

But adultery is a violent attack against one’s spouse. It is just as violent as taking a knife to their throat, and while the blood pours onto the ground saying to them, “I just don’t love you anymore. I’ve found someone else.”

It is like Malachi wrote – “…the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage…” (Malachi 2:16 MSG)

Some even post pictures or write about their new “relationship” on Facebook. They want people to help ease their conscience by saying, “Congratulations”.

Makes me want to say, “Congratulations on your brainless act of adultery.” Wonder how that would go over?

If I had a dollar for every time an adulterer said, “I just want to be happy”, I’d be a VERY rich man!

Think about a murderer, on the witness stand at his trial, answering the question, “Why did you murder your spouse?” Imagine them saying, “I just wanted to be happy.” How would that sound to the judge?

Adultery, according to the writer of Proverbs, is a brainless act.

“Adultery is a brainless act, soul-destroying, self-destructive; expect a bloody nose, a black eye, and a reputation ruined for good.” (Proverbs 6:32 MSG)

Brainless act; letting the animalistic nature take over. (By the way, I know what it’s like to be brainless and come very close to losing everything).

Allowing a smile from someone other than one’s spouse become an invitation. Welcoming strange fire into one’s bosom. Becoming obsessed with thoughts about someone who should be off limits.

Feeding one’s curiosity with thoughts such as, “I wonder if they feel the same as I do?” “Are they giving me some kind of hidden signal?”

No one has ever just stumbled and fallen into adultery. It has always been the result of first ignoring the warning sounds, the barking watch dog, in one’s heart. That inner voice which screams, “Don’t go there! Don’t be a fool!”

Or, like on the old sci-fi show, “Lost in Space”, the robot which says, “Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!”

I think we all know ignoring certain road signs can be detrimental to one’s health. Drinking poison can be deadly. Setting oneself on fire is suicidal.

Adultery is a brainless act. 

It is a violent act. Not only to the wounded spouse and the rest of the family, but to oneself. As we read in Proverbs, “…soul-destroying, self-destructive; expect a bloody nose, a black eye, and a reputation ruined for good”.

Someone once told me, after they had been caught in adultery, “I need to leave my spouse, because I don’t want the other person to get away.”

A brainless, and heartless, act. 

According to Jesus, it need not be an actual physical action, but could be simply lust in a person’s mind/heart toward someone other than their spouse.

It may only be one-sided. The other person, the object of “affection” may not realize they have become someone’s fantasy.

But it is still adultery.

The people who produce pornography EXPECT to become someone’s fantasy. Pornography is either adultery or fornication; it all depends on whether the person viewing it is married or not.

Are YOU married? Are YOU viewing pornography? Have YOU allowed thoughts of another person to push aside thoughts of your spouse. Are YOU letting someone else get too close to your heart?

If so, RUN, don’t walk, AWAY from the other person as quickly as possible. Don’t even linger to say goodbye. Shut down the flow of evil thoughts, desires, and actions.

Start USING your brain. Understand what adultery is, and the consequences of getting involved with someone other than your spouse. YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT!

No one can afford the cost of such a brainless act.

So, run from even the hint of an inappropriate relationship.

And keep the knife from your spouse’s throat.

A Case Of The “Shoulds”

Recently, several of us were talking and one of the guys began to tell the rest of us about some of the happenings in his home. The idea for this post was sparked that night. Thanks, Patrik.

It SHOULD be there…

It SHOULD have happened much earlier.

It SHOULD work.

It SHOULD have been where I said it was.

I SHOULD have acted differently.

A strong case of the ‘shoulds’.

Some folks live their whole life with a chronic case of the ‘shoulds’. These are the same people who live in a state of depression most of the time; full of regrets, shattered dreams, and broken relationships.

Never attaining joyous freedom from the ‘shoulds’.

Sure, there are times in everyone’s life when they should have done something, nothing, the opposite, but they didn’t. And as much as it hurts to think about what we have lost, that’s not what the ‘shoulds’ is all about.

A case of the ‘shoulds’ has more to do with habitual behavior than an error in judgment. It’s closely related to procrastination, or always taking the path of least resistance.

It’s giving up right before victory comes.

It’s looking at everyone and everything else, blaming others for a bad decision.

How does a person know if they have a case of the ‘shoulds’?

Here’s a little quiz which may shed some light on the matter.

1. Do you need to be reminded, over and over, about something you are passionate about? No? For example, I don’t have any problem remembering to do anything that’s connected to fishing. I remember when I’m going, who I’m going with, and whether or not I need to buy more tackle. On the other hand, I’m not so good at remembering things like appointments (things I really don’t care about). That can have something to do with the ‘shoulds’ or ‘should haves’.

2. What’s your first response when questioned as to why you didn’t keep your word? You promised to do this and so, but it didn’t get done. “Sorry, it should’ve worked.” You’re late arriving for dinner, though you assured your spouse (or the dinner host) that the time would work just fine. “I’m sorry, I should’ve been here earlier, but traffic was terrible.” Well, maybe you should’ve started out earlier, do you think?

3. If someone gives you a task to complete, are you responsible enough to hold yourself accountable? Do you tell yourself, “I’m going to budget my time and work on my project until it’s completed”, or wait until the deadline and say, “I should’ve gotten it done.”

4. Do you have a penchant for stating something like this? “It’s NOT there in the drawer? It SHOULD be.” “Should be” doesn’t make it magically appear. Searching for it may.

5. Are your organizational skills so lacking you can’t remember the what, when, where, why, who, or how of life? Another way to ask would be, are you messy or do you lack discipline in the normal things of life? If so, the ‘shoulds’ have probably been nipping at your heels for quite some time.

How does a person break free from the ‘shoulds’? 

1. Accept nothing but victory. Don’t settle for the second place prize if you could have done better; if diligence and discipline would have made the difference.

2. Ask yourself before using the word ‘should’ or ‘should’ve’, if a different word would work in its place. Words like “It will work”, “I will do my part”, and “there’s no reason for failure in this venture.”

A faithful man abounds with blessings. He who puts his hands to the plow, working with and for God, enjoys the fruit of his labor.

A life filled with regrets and unfulfilled promises can be drastically changed. A case of the ‘shoulds’ can be cured with a new appreciation for God’s character and His calling upon your life to be like Him.

Maybe you can’t keep from an occasional failure, but at least you won’t have planned on it from the onset.

Ask God, and He’ll give you a spirit of diligence and faithfulness to replace the old case of the ‘shoulds’.

Just like He gives the oil of joy for sorrow, and the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness. 

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