Have you ever thought about the work that you do from God’s perspective? Unless you’re blessed to be doing your “dream job,” most Monday mornings you’d rather turn over in your bed and sleep a few extra hours rather than get up and get ready for work. But is that how God wants us to view our daily responsibilities? What does the Bible say about our work?
We find God’s original plan for work in the first two chapters of Genesis. God set the example as He performed His own work of creation. With infinite detail and wisdom, He spent six days creating everything needed to sustain life for the animals and human beings that would populate the earth. “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).
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One of the worst texting and driving accidents ever occurred in Texas in March 2017. PM Law Firm reports that this particular accident involved a large white pickup truck that had previously been seen swerving and speeding down a highway. The twenty-year-old drove his white pickup truck into a small bus carrying 14 elderly churchgoers. He lost control and swerved into the bus’s lane, hitting that vehicle head-on while texting. Thirteen people on board the bus died because of the accident, leaving only one survivor. The truck driver survived, admitting he was texting while driving at the time of the crash. An Uvalde County, Texas court sentenced him to 55 years in prison.
Texting while driving is a serious offense, yet millions of people are not deterred by the potential tragedies that could result from being distracted. For some reason, we believe that we will beat the statistics and be able to successfully navigate our cars from one point to the next, even if our attention is elsewhere. A story like the one above is sad and unnecessary, yet it illustrates an important principle that is also true in our spiritual lives.
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Because they are difficult to interpret, the prophetic books of the Bible are often overlooked. Their messages of impending judgment seem unrelated to our twenty-first century lives. But if we take time to ponder and meditate on them, we will deepen our knowledge of God and His character.
Obadiah wrote one of the shortest books in the Bible, just twenty-one verses. His message centers on the coming judgment of the nation of Edom.
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I don’t believe it’s an oversight that God did not tell us the names of Lot’s two daughters. Their story is inextricably linked to their father’s actions and has implications not only for young people who find themselves in difficult situations, but a warning to every parent. It’s a sad story in many ways, but also reveals God’s merciful and redemptive character. We don’t know their names because they could be any of us, were we to find ourselves in the similar circumstances.
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No matter where we are on the path of motherhood, or even “grand-motherhood,” we can all be classified as “messy moms.” We might be a mess. We might think we’re making a mess of it all, but we all have this in common: we need the encouragement and hope that comes from a sure confidence in the overcoming grace of a sovereign God.
Moses was a man who walked with God, speaking to Him as a friend, face to face. The name Moses might not come to mind immediately if we’re talking about grace; after all, it was Moses who received the Law as he led the children of Israel through the wilderness, and in our minds, grace and law are two separate, distinct things which cannot be reconciled. On closer examination, Moses is the perfect example of God’s grace.
We cannot look for emotional experiences as the measure of God being our refuge. He is more than a “feeling.” He is a living God, who is active in our lives, and He wants us to find refuge in something more lasting than a good emotional experience.
“No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
People often quote this verse to encourage those who are going through trials or difficult circumstances, but the true context is in relation to temptation. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth, a church that allowed immoral behaviors to continue among the body and failed to hold their brothers and sisters accountable for open sin. His letter is a strong rebuke to a carnal and spiritually immature body who struggled with separating themselves from the pagan culture around them.
1 Corinthians 10 is a blueprint for Christ-followers who want to walk in faithful obedience to God’s commands and avoid falling into sin when temptations come. Paul takes us back to a time period in Israel’s history that they would rather forget when he revisits the rebellious children of God in the wilderness. He begins by recounting their spiritual heritage. All the children of Israel experienced God’s miraculous rescue across the Red Sea; all ate the manna; all saw God provide water from a rock; all were protected by the presence of God in the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased, for they were laid low in the wilderness. “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved” (1 Corinthians 10:5-6).
All believers have access to the same spiritual resources found in Christ if we have been saved. Yet, it is our individual choices that determine how successfully we navigate the temptations of life, because faith is a personal experience.
Paul describes four actions or attitudes that tempted the Israelites to stumble and fall into sin. Each begins with the letter “I,” which is appropriate because just as faith is personal, sin is personal.
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I remember the day I brought home our first-born child from the hospital. While it felt completely natural to hold our daughter in my arms, I was a little overwhelmed that the doctors and nurses trusted my husband and I to know how to care for a tiny baby. After all, parenting is pretty much learned through “on the job” training. No matter how many books you read, blogs you follow, or advice you get, when a new baby arrives, you just have to dive in, even when you know you’re in over your head.
Imagine how the baby feels!
He or she has been rudely uprooted from a cozy environment where their every need was met instantly, sounds were muted, and they were gently rocked to sleep by their mother’s movements and the reassuring sound of her heartbeat. They have been thrust into the bright lights of a delivery room filled with strange noises, sharp smells and what probably feels like the North Pole after the warmth of the womb. Prodded and poked, their lungs fill with air for the first time, and they let out a loud cry to express their discomfort. A newborn infant is instantly called on to adjust to a completely new way of life, and it is the parents’ obligation and responsibility to help them navigate it successfully.
The analogy of a newborn baby is a perfect illustration for what happens when a person comes to know Christ and experiences salvation. They are given a “new life” and they must be nurtured and cared for by mature believers (spiritual parents). They must be taught a new way to think and act, and new ways of responding to their thoughts, feelings, and desires. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in a new believer and leads them into truth, but having a mentor or teacher to walk alongside us in our spiritual journey is vital to a growing faith that will persevere and mature.
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The Christmas season is a whirlwind. It's hard to focus on all the traditions, movies, cooking, parties, shopping and family time, let alone sneaking in some Scripture reading every day. But that first Christmas was a much different occasion. How did Mary and Joseph celebrate that first Christmas season, and how can we apply that to our own lives?