Lessons from a silly goose.

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All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, NASB

Never miss a teachable moment—even from a silly goose. Continue reading

Bible Teaching Tips! (Tip #5)

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Welcome to another installment of Teaching Tip Thursday!

Today’s Tip: Define Terms

Continue reading

Why Study the Bible?

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Last week, I shared with you why I ditched my Bible reading plan, and relayed my current plan for trekking through the book of Romans.

In the past week and a half, I have read through Romans three times. I’ve read and reread various chapters, trying to grasp the bigger picture of the letter. I thought, perhaps, that if I focused solely on Romans, I would draw more from the text.

Sadly, I STILL found myself continuing to tune out, fighting to keep my mind on the task at hand.

Continue reading

Bible Teaching Tips! (Tip#4)

img_2069Welcome to today’s edition of Teaching Tip Thursday!

Today’s Tip: Use Visual Aids

It was a real mustard seed, small and insignificant. I peered curiously into the glass vial with amazement before passing it to my friend. Mrs. Fike had brought the little seed to our Bible class to help us grasp Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. Mrs. Fike watched us pass around the vial and said, “Jesus taught: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.’” This little seed becomes a tree? Wow! Even as a little second grader, it was an indelible illustration. Continue reading

Why I Ditched My Bible Reading Plan

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/BtNxJsFOjtQ

 

Three days ago, I ditched my daily bible reading plan. Not the habit, mind you, just my appointed plan… We had a “falling out” of sorts. Continue reading

Bible Teaching Tips! (Tip #3)

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Welcome to today’s edition of Teaching Tip Thursday!

Today’s Tip: Review isn’t for dummies

If you have the opportunity to teach a class with the same person (or people) more than once, do not hesitate to review. It gives you, as a teacher, a pulse on what information has been retained and what the student does (or does not) already know. Continue reading

Bible Teaching Tips! (Tip #2)

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Welcome to today’s edition of Teaching Tip Thursday!

Today’s Tip: Consider the Context

When we are preparing a class or discussing scripture with someone, always be mindful of these three important rules: Continue reading

Bible Teaching Tips. (Tip #1)

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Today’s teaching tip is one I find helpful when teaching children and those who may not be very familiar with the Bible. Are you ready? Continue reading

Why are you sleeping?

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Taken by Schuyler Shepherd (Unununium272).

And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

~ Luke‬ ‭22:40-46‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There are so many reasons we need to engage in regular prayer with the Lord. Throughout the gospels, we repeatedly see Jesus taking time to pray alone. What does He pray about? Some prayers are recorded, some are not, but He sets an example for us to go to the Father and lay our hearts before Him.

Here, in the gospel according to Luke, Jesus gives His disciples an immediate command, and He does it twice: “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” After the initial command, Jesus also gets down and prays. He leads by example.

He gets up from His prayer and walks over to His disciples. They are so overcome with sadness that they had fallen asleep. It’s possible they fell asleep while they were praying (has that ever happened to you?). I can’t imagine how embarrassing that would be to have Jesus catch you sleeping when you were supposed to be praying. Peter—of all people—should have been praying (and sweating) because Jesus told Him earlier that Satan had asked to “sift him like wheat.”

“I can’t believe they fell asleep!”

The disciples never seem to fully grasp the perilousness of their position.

We, too, often fail to consider the precariousness of our situation until we are waist-deep in it. We fire off brief “arrow prayers,” but fail to get on our knees each and every day for some solid time with the Lord. Arrow prayers have their place, but they should not replace quiet, dedicated time alone with God.

Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Just last week, I wrote a post on the importance of committing the Word to our heart so we can fight temptation (click here to read it). Study and prayer go together like bones and marrow—only when the two work together can we have life.

We, like Peter, have too much confidence in our own strength and conviction. Strength and conviction will not be enough when Satan decides to tempt us, and He pursues us every minute of every day. He wants us to fail desperately because we do not belong to Him!

Peter might have had this experience in mind when he wrote:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

~ ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peter knew the consequences of sleeping when He should’ve been praying. After this account, Peter denies knowing Jesus three times. He never thought He would deny Jesus, but when the rubber met the road He wasn’t ready.

Being asleep isn’t just a literal problem. We do need sleep and rest. However, we can be slumbering in the sense that we do not possess any situational awareness of pending danger. The devil wants us to think that we are safe from temptation. He wants us to be over-confident and, rather than keep watch, sleep the slumber of the care-free. It’s much easier to attack and kill your prey while they are sleeping. It’s much harder when they are on guard and possibly even fleeing.

Are you sleeping?

The lion is at the door! Pray hard, pray often, pray to the one who can strengthen you for the fight or flight.

3 Words You Need Every Single Day

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Every single day we face some form of testing. Every day we are beset with a trial of some kind. Every day God is watching to see what we will do with the time we are given.

A couple days ago, I listened to a successful woman talk about how she built her business out of the trunk of her car while she was homeless. Today, she earns six to seven figures every year. While I didn’t agree with everything she said, there was one thing that was spot on—stop making excuses! People have been making excuses or blame-shifting since the beginning of time.

Here are a few examples of excuse-makers from the Bible:

Adam and Eve.

“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3.12-13)

Moses. 

“They will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.”

“Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” (Exodus 4.1-17)

Jesus.

Hang on! Jesus didn’t make excuses!

Exactly. 

Even though He had plenty of times when He could have chosen to disobey or do something different, He did what He was supposed to do and never had to make excuses.

When Jesus faced Satan in the wilderness in Matthew 4, he was hungry. He’d fasted for 40 days in the middle of the desert. There was no Starbucks nearby, no McDonalds, and no market. When Satan tempts Jesus, He doesn’t start with the “worship Satan” bit; Satan strikes at Jesus’ immediate physical need. He attacks Him where He thinks He’ll be most vulnerable: “Command these stones to be turned into bread.”

After 40 days without a morsel of food, heaven-made bread sounds mighty tempting. Could Jesus have done it? Yes! Would this have please God? No! Did he have a good excuse to turn stones into bread? Well, surely if he was hungry… at least, that’s what we would think.

Jesus refused to make excuses. He obeyed God without wavering. 3 times Satan tempted Him and He didn’t budge. He wasn’t going to slip and then make some lame excuse to His Father.

How did Jesus resist temptation? You might say, “Well, He was the son of God, wasn’t He? He couldn’t be tempted at all.” He was the Son of God, but He was also in bodily form. He still hungered. He still thirsted. He was still subject to the same emotional and physical discomforts and yes, temptations. In spite of all these things, He resisted temptation with three words.

Are you ready to learn the 3 words that need to fill your mind, heart, soul and lips?

When you face trouble of any kind, say these three words in your mind:

IT IS WRITTEN

If you are tempted, say to yourself, “It is written” and then recall to your mind what God has said on the subject.

If you are tempted to stare overlong at that attractive-looking woman, the first three words to pop in your head should be: “It is written,” If you start looking at your friends and all their neat-o stuff and start wanting it for yourself, the first three words to pop into your head should be: “It is written.” If you find yourself burning with anger against a friend who has wronged you, don’t justify or excuse your feelings, say aloud or in your mind, “It is written.”

“Hang on, Elihu—you didn’t fill in the rest! I can’t walk around saying, ‘It is written’ because I don’t know what to fill in the blank!”

That sounds an awful lot like an excuse to me.

Why don’t you know what to fill in the blank? Because those 3 words aren’t driving you! You cannot bring every thought into captivity, you cannot fight temptation and you will not stand in time of testing if those 3 words don’t motivate you.

In Hosea 4, God says this through the prophet:

Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land;
There is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
They break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish…
Yet let no one contend,and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest…

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,I also will forget your children.

Hosea 4.1-6, ESV (click the link for the full context)

We, like the Israelites will be undone if we do not commit God’s Word to our heart every single day for the rest of our lives. We always think we have more time than we really do. I hear about people dying every day. Pixels and ink bring us the last vestiges of people who died in sudden crashes, earthquakes, cancer, heart attacks—all of whom thought they had more time.

We only have today. What are you going to do with your time?

It is written: 

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 5.15-17, ESV

and

 

Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.

Psalm 119.11, NASB

 

When you hear yourself make excuses about not having time to read, stop yourself mid-sentence, grab your Bible or your iPad or your iPhone and start reading. You don’t even need an app, just go to BibleGateway.com. It is urgent! The time to commit the Word to your heart is today, before the next temptation comes your way! Yes, we are covered by grace! Yes, things happen! But those should not be excuses for neglecting the most powerful tool in our arsenal against Satan.

Would you go to battle with no weapon?

What would Jesus do if He was living in your life, walking in your shoes? He’d make knowing God and meditating on His Word priority one. He’d meet temptation with the Word, ready to say, “I won’t do that because it is Written…” Jesus would pray for wisdom. He’d prepare to wage war against the devils schemes.

 

Today, as you prepare to face whatever challenges lay before you, repeat these three words, “It is written.” Take time on your drive to work or while you’re eating breakfast with your children to start putting the words of God into your mind so you will be ready when the time of testing begins.