The issue of alcohol use by Christians is hotly debated, with strong feelings on both sides of the issue. My personal opinion, derived from reading the Bible cover to cover, first the NIV, then the NLT, is that the Bible does not forbid alcohol consumption. I do agree, again on the same grounds, that the Bible does say not to be drunk. For me, drinking alcohol comes under the same heading as things Paul talked about in Romans 14:1-4: Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make themContinue reading »

While walking through the grocery store one afternoon I chanced to run into a lady from my church whose husband had passed away a few months ago. She asked me how I was; out of habit I replied, fine. I reciprocated and inquired of her the same. She unhesitatingly admitted that she was not doing well at all. She went on to tell me how she still missed her husband so much, how she thinks of him every day, expects to see him when she walks into a room, and wakes up thinking he is in the house with her. I had the opportunity to share with her that I and many other people love her, reminding her of just a few names when she inquired of me, “Who loves me?” We parted ways with a promise from me to pray for her. As I walked through the store, gathering the things I had come for, I began to pray for her. I asked the Lord to bless her finances,Continue reading »

“We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating” – Amos 8:5 In the time of Amos, the Prophet (c. 770 BC), we see businessmen trying to find ways to cheat the customer. The terms “Ephah” and “Shekel” are units of weight and the merchants were trying to figure ways to rig these against their buyers. Businessmen, as they do now, seemed to want to exist in a separate “business climate”, wherein social standards and the Word of God were not the final limits; they enjoy their code of conduct. However, where societal norms and ethics do not reach- the Word of God can and does! In their arrogance, these businessmen felt that God may overlook them or that the living power of His Word does not apply to common business practices- it is, after all, “just business”. But, in their arrogance and blind pursuit of profit they failed to see that God sees all, His Word applies to all aspects of life, andContinue reading »

Face it, church can be dull and boring for a generation that has grown up with flashy entertainment and constant ad campaigns promising services and products that will bring fun! fun! fun! Then add to that those who grew up with the fast-paced Bill Nye the Science Guy and watch today’s Red Zone from the NFL Network. Images are constantly changing in such a way that if it were possible, the conscious mind would hyperventilate. Many of us have jobs and/or families that keep us busy well into the night. In short, our minds are always active. Vacations and entertainment used to offer relief. They don’t seem to help anymore. Vacations are either packed with activities or they’re filled with heart-pumping, adrenalin producing thrills or we allow our work to interfere with cell phone calls and emails. Action-packed thriller books and movies are designed to engage us within the first few seconds and keep us on the edge of our seats throughout the story time. Concerts have laser displays, pyrotechnics,Continue reading »

“I will send him to you” – John 16:7 With these words Jesus assures us that the Holy Spirit will come to us to continue Jesus’ ministry, guide us, and help us. The Holy Spirit, or the Paraclete, is the Christian understanding of the “Spirit of the Lord”, found throughout the Old Testament. The Hebrew term for “Spirit” is RUACH. The words can rendered “breath”, “wind”, or “Spirit”. When the Lord bestows His Spirit upon a man, or humankind, it is a changing force that can not be contained. While we can not know the mind of God or understand His ways, we know that the Spirit of the Lord is a powerful intervening force through which God accomplishes His ends in the lives of humankind. The Spirit is the great wind of which we read in the first verse of Genesis. It is the RUACH that was put into the nostrils of man that gave him life. It was the RUACH which came upon the Judges and the Davidic Kings. Continue reading »

I am shattered. Tears fill my eyes so I can barely see. I blink them away quickly; still they run down my cheeks unchecked. I think my heart is breaking. I am shaken by the news – the news that I can hardly believe. What are they saying? How can this be? Are they blind? Yet another high profile Christian, not fallen, but walking into the darkness of atheism willingly, declaring Christianity a sham, a weak crutch full of lies and manipulations designed to ensnare the unsuspecting. How can this be? There is a pain in my chest; I feel like I cannot breathe, and I grieve for the deceived. So many thinking they have real life, real salvation, something to really live for. Suddenly they stand and walk away from God as if He were never even there. He’s there because He’s everywhere, but they can’t see Him. It’s a tragedy, yet no one even knows it. The unsaved call it liberation. The religious call it back-sliding. The savedContinue reading »

Forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12 (NIV) A debtor is someone who owes something to someone. Therefore “our debtors” are people who owe us something. The New Living Translation replaces the words “debt” and “debtor” with “sins” and “sin against us.” This clears up the question of “what do they owe us?” If someone sins against us what they owe is variable. They probably owe at least an apology, but perhaps they owe a great deal more – more than they can repay you, if they even care about repaying you at all. Our sins against God are much greater than we can ever repay; therefore, Jesus became a man and bore our sins against God on the cross to repay all of our “debts” that we could not pay. Still, even in the light of all that we have been pardoned for, we often times refuse to forgive wrongs done to us by other people. The Bible tells us that God forgivesContinue reading »

“He has endured the Cross. . . and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” – Hebrews 12:2 With this declaration the Letter to the Hebrews announces that through the Cross, Jesus has brought about a new relationship between humankind and God. We have been reconciled to God, ransomed from our enslavement to sin, freed from the barriers which separated us from God, and redeemed in the eyes of God. Jesus lifted up on the Cross is now lifted up to the throne of Heaven and it is from this throne that he allows us to enter into the home of His Father. We no longer are limited to worshipping God through animal sacrifice, downcast eyes, hushed tones, and repetitive rituals. These things have been rendered to the trappings of faith, not its substance. Our worship is now based on faith and the actions which are manifested from this faith. Jesus has revealed the Father’s will and power to us and has paid our price;Continue reading »

Now that we know what we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:14-16 (MSG) Why, when we petition God for something – an earnest prayer of need – and we see the answer clearly, do we question the result? When we’ve been on our knees, and on our knees, and on our knees, praying, petitioning with tears and desperation, asking God to intervene, interfere, release, and restore, do we doubt? Doubt what? Doubt it all. Oh, not the reality of God, or His ability to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. We just can’t imagine it happening to us. We sayContinue reading »

“This cup is the New Covenant” – Luke 22:20 Jesus brings about a new covenant with God the Father. It builds upon the foundation of the Mosaic Covenant, which was built on laws. The term “covenant” is a powerful term; legally it can mean “contract”, theologically it is understood as “testament”, commonly it is seen as “promise”. These are all fine interpretations, but the underlying meaning must be recognized; it connotes “understanding”. It is the act of two parties coming to a mutual understanding and binding themselves to it. In the time of Moses, the understanding was based on adherence to the Law; the Law was seen as the means to Salvation and the overcoming of Sin. The Law guided your life, allowing one to calculate all actions. It provided a starting point and an ultimate standard for one’s For us, God combined his manifest power and the sacred properties of being made new in the person of Christ Jesus. Jesus is the “new Adam”, ushering in a new age ofContinue reading »

“I make all things new” – Revelation 21:5 This is a time of power and a time to be empowered in our world! The created world has just worked through another cycle and the Winter Solstice has occurred, a natural marker that the long and cold nights are now becoming shorter and the earth prepares for new life. Humankind has completed another cycle as well, we have turned the calendar to begin a new year. Hopes are high, businesses are now moving past the holiday season, ministries can now renew themselves, and now we can call upon ourselves to be better than we have been in the past. In the world of the Bible, new things were thought to have had a special power that was almost mystical. The properties of something that is “new” gave it particular effectiveness. When something is new, it has not been strained or weakened- power is new in the object. The new person or thing is at its fullest potential and strength. We see this belief inContinue reading »