Reading the Bible and hearing those precious promises can be disheartening at times. We read about how we overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus in Romans 8:37, but our lives may feel like a train wreck and a constant struggle. We see the promise of having a rich, satisfying, and abundant life in John 10:10, but only see failure. We hear that everyone born of God overcomes the world in 1 John 5:4-5, but we often feel like wheat between the grinding wheels of a flour mill. How do we solve this discord between God’s promises and our real lives? For the next few weeks, we’re going to practically explore the Biblical concept and promise of overcoming. Let me say up front however that this is not a magic formula to a wonderful life with a fat bank account, a perfect spouse, a well-paying enjoy
I remember saying “cross my heart and hope to die” as a youngster to cement promises. There are many such phrases ranging from pinky-swear to “on my mother’s grave.” Most of these are child’s play and a way to gain a feeling of surety or credibility. Simple oaths with no real power behind them which are meant to shore up our word. There are, of course, adult examples as well such as the oath to tell the truth when called as a courtroom witness. Even business contracts are a kind of oath with stipulations, expectations, and consequences upon failure. Oaths, vows, contracts, and convents are a part of our everyday world. This acknowledgment makes our next Jesus says command a bit challenging. “But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the
When I outlined our walk through 2nd Peter I knew that four straight articles on false-teachers were going to be a slog. With today’s article, we’ll reach the end of that difficult terrain. Congratulations for sticking with it. But before the corner is turned there are a few concluding verses to Peter’s stern warning. Peter concludes, “These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowled
There comes a time when we consider what will happen after we're gone. Two letters in the New Testament are written from this point of view; 2nd Timothy and 2nd Peter. Neither are wills or last testaments. But they do stress a kind of "if you don't remember anything else, remember this" kind of message. For the next twelve weeks, we're going to walk through 2nd Peter as he stirs up our "sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles." (2 Peter 3:1-2, NASB95) Before we begin our walk, I encourage you to read the whole letter in one sitting. Based on 2 Peter 3:1 it is apparent that Peter is writing to the same persecuted and struggling audience as 1st Peter. While...
People swear by the strangest things. There is the pinky swear. Or “I swear on my mother’s grave” - regardless of whether she’s in it or not. “Scout’s honor,” can be heard occasionally even if the person was never a Boy or Girl Scout. Another old staple is, “I swear on a stack of Bibles.” Sometimes, we may simply hear someone say “I swear.” The point of all this swearing (we’re not talking about cussing or cursing - that’s a different thing altogether) is to add credibility to someone's testimony or promise. Sometimes we even punctuate our promises and requests when talking to God. Matthew records Jesus teaching, “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by