Archives For Bible

Points To Ponder

5 Easy Holiday Traditions – [A Man’s Guide]

By: Kris Dolberry

When I was 9 years old, my parents decided to take a weekend trip to the Smokey Mountains in early December. Needless to say, it stuck. Over the years grandparents, extended family, and friends have made the trip with us. Now 28 years later, our weekend trip to the Smokies has become one of the great highlights of the year for my kids, and ushers the Christmas season into full swing for us.

Traditions are important. They can be significant spiritual markers for your family. And, the holidays are a great time to start. Here are a few easy ideas:

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The Bible In America: 6-Year Trends

by: Barna Group

With over 5 billion copies sold, the Bible remains earth’s most-read book. But the world in which we read and engage with the Bible is rapidly changing. The steady rise of skepticism is creating a cultural atmosphere that is becoming unfriendly to claims of faith; the adoption of self-fulfillment as our culture’s ultimate measure of good is re-orienting moral authority; and the explosive growth of digital tools such as Bible apps, daily reading plans, study resources and online communities offer unprecedented access to the Scriptures.

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Why We Should Pray For All People, Including our Leaders?

by: Casey Lewis

I have talked about prayer in my last two posts, specifically for whom we should pray and what it takes for us to be able to pray for all people. If you haven’t read those two posts, I encourage you to do so. Today I’m going to end the series by providing motivation to pray.

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The Broken Places

by: Reba Bowman

In Ernest Hemingway’s, A Farewell to Arms, there is a quote that has always struck a chord with me,

“The world breaks everyone, and afterwards many are strong in the broken places.”

There is nothing romantic about brokenness. No poetry or fancy words can dress it’s ugliness up to an acceptable level. We fight against it with every fiber of our being and we pray that it never reaches our door. But it does.

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Points To Ponder

3 Practical Steps to Forgiving Yourself

by Lifeway Men

Over the years, helping men deal with anger, grudges, bitterness, rage, and hatred has always been an amazing experience, watching the Holy Spirit address past issues and lead guys to new freedom. Watching men forgive fathers, mothers, siblings, wives, ex-wives, children, bosses, and so on breaks the bondage of them “holding someone hostage” in their hearts.

But the one person that all of us men struggle the most to forgive, and often can’t, is ourselves. Letting go of the past, getting rid of regrets, and stopping the beating and bleeding from “the condemnation club” often feels impossible to do.

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When God Doesn’t Listen

By Drew Tankersley

Perhaps one of the most frustrating phenomena of parenting younger children is their inability to listen.  As a parent of an 11-year-old and a 7-year-old, I know all to well the irritation of a child who is completely distracted and patently oblivious to the requests of their parental unit.  Technology is the greatest culprit of distraction in our house. 

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3 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Pray for the Persecuted Church

By Ruth Ripkin (International Mission Board)

Stories of the persecuted church around the world have grown in number of late. This one regarding Christian arrests in Iran ran just last week. An article that appeared on CNN earlier this year claimed that 2015 held the distinct honor of producing the highest rate of Christian persecution in history. Of course, the case of Iranian American Pastor Saeed Abedini has topped news cycles for the last three years. 

These stories aren’t going to go away; Jesus informed his followers that persecution would come (John 15:18–25). It’s not a new thing—just ask the early church—but many within the rather insulated West have been unaware of its existence for a while. As we continue to awaken to this reality, we need to think about how to understand persecution. More importantly, we need to learn how to persevere through it and pray for those who face it around the world. 

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Americans Love God and the Bible, Are Fuzzy on the Details

By Bob Smietana (Lifeway Research)

Americans don’t know much about theology. Most say God wrote the Bible. But they’re not sure everything in it is true.

Six in 10 say everyone eventually goes to heaven, but half say only those who believe in Jesus will be saved. And while 7 in 10 say there’s only one true God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—two-thirds say God accepts worship of all faiths.

Those are among the findings of a new survey of American views on Christian theology from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

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my-upmost

By Oswald Chambers

 

I have been reading through the 30-Day Edition of My Utmost For His Highest on the YouVersion app and this morning it really spoke to me. It made me ask the question – am I truly surrendered to Christ in EVERY area of my life? Not just on Sundays, or days I feel like surrendering, or just when it is convenient for me but EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Oswald Chambers says this about the Surrendered Life:

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.

Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.

If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.

Breath on me, Breath of God, until my mind and spirit are in suitable adjustment to You. Shed abroad liberty and purity and power among and in us all.

Have you surrendered EVERYTHING in your life to God?


Check out YouVersion’s Devotional Plans: 30-Day Edition of My Utmost for His Highest

my-utmost-30-day-plan

success

How do you define success?

Webster’s Dictionary defines success as the following:

  • the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

  • the correct or desired result of an attempt

  • someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds

As we continue in this series of post about the book “Raising Kids for True Greatness”, we need to understand how the world defines success. Dr. Kimmel writes,

We live in a day when success is defined by looks, IQ, strategic alliances, titles, and world records. Success is supposed to attract people’s attention and put you in a superior position in the human pecking order. And it is the natural desire average parents have for their children.

It’s easy to see that parenting can become preoccupied with crowding a child’s academic, athletic, and social resume with the accolades that count most in our culture but don’t have any bearing on eternity.

This world has said that our children have to be the…smartest, fastest, prettiest, best connected, most popular, best outfitted, best rewarded and most confident.

Everywhere we turn and just about everything we hear people say reminds us that we should be raising kids who primary goal is to post high marks and great statistic. To them, life is about success that can be quantified in degrees or dollar signs.

Dr. Kimmel goes on to talk about 5 “anchor tenets” of the success illusion:

Fame

Without even trying, parents can unwittingly format their children to need the empty praise of fame by orchestrating their lives so that they can become popular among their young peer groups. There’s a fine line between encouraging our children to excel and pushing them to achieve the public’s attention in the process

Power

True greatness does not have power as its goal, but it often gains power by default.

Health & Beauty

The problem comes when we deify and worship health and beauty. This happens when our view of ourselves doesn’t come from our relationship with God but from the way we fit into our clothes and the images looking back at us in the mirror each morning.

Wealth

Money is so important to many parents that it is not uncommon for a mom or dad to push a child to pursue a certain vocation simply because of its income potential. Whether the child has an aptitude for it, or even enjoys it, is irrelevant. The important thing is that he spends his adult life doing something that pays well.

We must be careful to avoid equating wealth with greatness. They are NOT the same!

Parents, let strive to raise our children with a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others. Let’s not let the world determine what is success in the lives of our children. Let’s look to God’s Word for guidance and direction for their lives.

Matthew 20:25-28 – “Whoever wants to become great among you must serve the rest of you like a servant. Whoever wants to become first among you must serve the rest of you like a slave. In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people”