Month: October 2022

The Heart Of A Leader – Out Of Slavery To Nationhood

1 Samuel 16:1-13 NIV

Samuel Anoints David

16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 

10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

The Heart Of A Leader (NOTES)

Matthew 15:19-20 New International Version

19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Romans 2:15 New International Version

15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.

Acts 15:9 New International Version

9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

1 Peter 3:4 New International Version

4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Acts 14:17 New International Version

17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

James 5:5 New International Version

5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a]

John 14:1 New International Version

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me.

Romans 9:2 New International Version

2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

2 Corinthians 2:4 New International Version

4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

John 16:22 New International Version

22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Ephesians 5:19 New International Version

19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

Acts 2:37 New International Version

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

1 John 3:20 New International Version

20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Hebrews 4:12 New International Version

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Acts 11:23 New International Version

23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.

2 Corinthians 9:7 New International Version

7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Romans 6:17 New International Version

17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.

Colossians 3:15 New International Version

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Torn Between Two Masters

Torn Between Two Masters

Because I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to have a lot of Native American friends, and brothers and sisters, and be on many reservations with our On Eagles’ Wings team, I’ve gotten to hear some of the very colorful ways that Native Americans express themselves.

One of them I heard when we were with tribes in the Northeast. And it’s really stuck with me, because it sounds like something Jesus said. They were talking about the choice historically that their people had to make between the world of the white people and the world of the Native people.

And the elders would say, “No man can stand in two canoes.” That’s a pretty funny picture if you think about it. The guy trying to stand in two canoes as they drift apart. You know what? You had to choose your canoe.

I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Torn Between Two Masters.”

Jesus had a lot in common with the Native people of North America, because He was a tribal man; He grew up in a village; His country had been taken over by others; He loved nature; He told stories; He was poor; He died a violent death.

Now, while He didn’t talk about those two canoes, He said something about following Him that sounded very much like it. It’s recorded in Matthew 6:24, which is our word for today from the Word of God.

Jesus simply said, “No man can serve two masters.” Or have his feet in two different canoes. You can’t claim Jesus as your Lord, the decider of what you do, and have someone or something else that is your deciding factor. Like a man trying to straddle two canoes, you’ll be pulled apart.

In spite of the impossibility of living for two masters, so many who say they belong to Jesus are trying to do it – maybe you. You say Jesus is your Lord, but you’ve got a boyfriend or girlfriend you really revolve your life around.

When it comes to a choice between what Jesus wants and what you need to do for money, money wins. Or a choice between what certain friends want and what Jesus wants. The friends win.

You say Jesus is “number one,” but what you watch, the websites you go to, what you see on TV? Is it something He died to deliver you from? No matter how much your music is about things that Jesus hates, you just keep hanging onto it.

God’s book commands you to not be “unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14), but you’re in a partnership or a romance that continually forces you to choose between their values and Jesus’ values. And all too often, they win.

What you do with your body, what you do when you’re lonely, what you do when you’re tempted, what you do when your temper or your hormones are in control, “Goodbye, Jesus.”

But nobody loves you like He does. Nobody else was butchered on a cross to take your hell. He died so you don’t have to serve that other master. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.”

When you live the opposite of what He wants, you basically say, “I don’t care why You died, Jesus. I want this.” You might as well just say, “I want this more than You.”

Aren’t you tired of being torn apart inside, trying to choose between your two masters; trying to live with your feet in two canoes? They continue to drift in opposite directions, and so do you.

God has some straight talk to you, right from His Word in Joshua 24:15, “Choose…this day whom you will serve.” And choose is what you’re going to have to do. Choose the One who loves you most. Choose the One you’ll be with forever. Choose Jesus.

God’s Faithful Love For You Will Remain!

💫 ❤ God Fights For Us 💖

🌞 A Colorado mother proved she would stop at nothing to protect her child. Her five-year-old son was playing outside when she heard him screaming. She rushed outside and, to her horror, saw that her son had an unexpected “playmate”— a mountain lion.

The large cat was on top of her son, with his head in its mouth. The mother summoned her inner mamma grizzly to fight off the lion and pry open its jaws to rescue her son. This mother’s heroic actions remind us of how motherhood is used in Scripture to illustrate God’s tenacious love and protection for His children.

🙇‍♀🙇‍♀ Yes, in scriptures we often read – God tenderly cared for and comforted His people as a mother eagle cares for her young. Also, like a mother who could never forget a nursing child with whom she had built an inseparable bond, God would never forget His people nor forever withhold compassion from them.

Finally, like a mother bird offering protective cover under her wings for baby birds, God would “cover His people with his feathers” and “his faithfulness would be their shield and rampart.”

🙇‍♂ Sometimes we feel alone, forgotten, and trapped in the grip of all kinds of spiritual predators. May God help us remember that He compassionately cares, comforts, and fights for us. — Marvin Williams

🙏 Heavenly Father, as baby birds find protection under their mother’s wings, may I find refuge under the shield of Your faithfulness.

To know the faithfulness of god is to know the peace of god.

🎊 Stay Blessed My Friend   😊 🌹

1 Corinthians 13 – MSG Bible

1 Corinthians 13 KJV

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

We Want A Human King!

1 Samuel 8:4-7 NIV

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[a] us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

1 Samuel 10:17-24 NIV

17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19 But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”

20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?”

And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”

23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.”

Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

We Want A Human King (NOTES)

Genesis 12:7 New International Version

7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[a] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

1 Samuel 8:1-3 New International Version

Israel Asks for a King

1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba.

3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

Exodus 23:6, 8 New International Version

6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

Deuteronomy 16:19 New International Version

19 Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent.

Deuteronomy 17:14-15 New International Version

The King

14 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.

1 Samuel 9:10-16 New International Version

10 “Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was. 11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?”

12 “He is,” they answered. “He’s ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrifice at the high place. 13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time.”

14 They went up to the town, and as they were entering it, there was Samuel, coming toward them on his way up to the high place.

15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on my people, for their cry has reached me.”

No Pain No Gain

💫 ❤ No Pain, No Gain 💖

🌞 Educator and author Howard Hendricks cautions parents not to bribe or threaten their children to get them to obey. What they need is firm, loving, and at times painful discipline.

Hendricks recalls being in a home where a bright-eyed grade-schooler sat across the table from him.
“Sally, eat your potatoes,” said her mother in a proper parental tone.
“Sally, if you don’t eat your potatoes, you won’t get any dessert!”
Sally winked at Hendricks. Sure enough, mother removed the potatoes and brought Sally some ice cream. He saw this as a case of parents obeying their children rather than “Children, obey your parents”.

🙇‍♀ Many parents are afraid to do what they know is best for their youngsters. They’re afraid their children will turn against them and think they don’t love them. Hendricks says, “Your primary concern is not what they think of you now, but what they will think 20 years from now.”

🙇‍♂ 🙇‍♂ Even our loving heavenly Father’s correction is painful, yet afterward (perhaps years later) “it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness in those who have been trained by it”. As loving parents, dare we have less long-term vision than our heavenly Father has ?
—Joanie Yoder

We shrink from the purging & pruning,
Forgetting the Gardener who knows:
The deeper the cutting and paring
The richer the cluster that grows-Anon.

The surest way to make life hard for your children is to make it soft for them.

🎊 Stay Blessed My Friend   😊 🌹

If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink!

❤ The Only Way To Be Happy 💖

🌞 One of the major problems with which we are all confronted is that we have at the core of our being a deep thirst for God, which makes us entirely dependent on Him for satisfaction. Our weak human nature resents this, because it dislikes the feeling of helplessness that such dependence brings; it prefers to have a hand in bringing about its own satisfaction. This tendency of the human heart to try to satisfy its own thirst independently of God however, has terrible consequences.

🙇‍♀ There is no lasting earthly satisfaction. Marriage, family, money, fame, enlightenment, travel, athletics, academic achievement — nothing completes our joy. Any satisfaction we gain in our quest fades quickly and becomes a vague memory, if it can be remembered at all. Oh, to be sure, there are happy events along the way, unexpected moments when we experience pure delight. But those moments are fleeting, and we can never go back in time to relive them and recapture the sensation.

🙇‍♂ 🙇‍♂ Why then do we keep seeking for something to satisfy us ? Simply put, it’s because we have to. Whether we realize it or not, our souls are thirsting for God. Every desire, every aspiration, every longing of our nature is nothing less than a yearning for God. We were born for His love and we cannot live without it. He is the happiness for which we have been searching all our lives. Everything that we desire is found in Him — and infinitely more. And so, when you find yourself restless and thirsting for something more in life, respond to His invitation, “Come to Me and drink.” Go to Him, drink freely of His grace and experience true joy. — David H. Roper

Jesus wants us to come to Him
To quench our thirsty soul,
For from Him flow life-giving streams
To heal and make us whole. — Sper

Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on God !

🎊 Stay Blessed My Friend   😊 🌹

Confidence Provides Necessary Courage

Judges 6:1-2 NIV


The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.

Judges 6:7-16 NIV

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 

I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Confidence Provides Necessary Courage (Notes)

Genesis 25:1-2 New International Version

The Death of Abraham

25 Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.

Judges 2:1-5 New International Version

The Angel of the Lord at Bokim

2 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?

3 And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”

4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5 and they called that place Bokim.[a] There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.

2 Kings 7:18 New International Version

18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

1 Corinthians 15:9 New International Version

9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Ephesians 3:8 New International Version

8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,

2 Corinthians 12:9 New International Version 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may

The Danger of Disqualification

When you read the apostle Paul’s letters, it’s clear that some of his favorite metaphors and analogies for the Christian life come from the realm of athletics.

For example, in Philippians, he speaks of pressing on like a runner toward the goal of knowing Christ (3:14). Near the end of his life, he describes his ministry as one in which he “fought the good fight” and “finished the race” (2 Tim. 4:7). And in 1 Corinthians 9:25–27, Paul draws a parallel—one that is worth our time and attention—between the self-control and discipline needed for both athletic competition and the Christian life.

An Alarming Thought

In Paul’s mind, self-control and discipline are not optional; they are essential. “I discipline my body and keep it under control,” he writes, “lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). Paul recognizes that there is a real danger facing every Christian: the danger of disqualification.

This danger is an alarming thought. Paul says that it is indeed possible for us to run the race well for some time and yet to become disqualified. We might press on for a time but eventually fail to reach the prize of hearing our Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23).

We may compete but miss out on being rewarded “the crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:8). Simply put, it’s possible to preach salvation and show others the way to heaven yet never get there ourselves.

How can we guard against becoming disqualified? Considering Paul’s own life and lifestyle is helpful. He lived with a kind of holy fear. He was under no illusions about the danger of disqualification facing his ministry.

Paul demonstrates that reverence, and not presumptuous confidence, is the best security against apostasy. In relationship to God, his perspective was one of holy faith. In relationship to himself, his perspective was one of holy fear.

It’s possible to preach salvation and show others the way to heaven yet never get there ourselves.

A Lesson from History

To flesh out his point on the danger of disqualification, Paul recounts the story of Israel in the Old Testament. He tells the Corinthians, “I do not want you to be unaware” (1 Cor. 10:1). In other words, he says, “I need you to be informed. Be alert. Learn from God’s people before you.”

He then goes on to identify the shared privileges of God’s people, pointing out that all were under the cloud, all passed through the sea and were baptized, and all drank together. All of God’s people Israel shared in God’s spiritual blessings. “Nevertheless,” Paul explains, “with most of them God was not pleased” (1 Cor. 10:5). The people enjoyed God’s blessings in the wilderness years, but they abused those blessings.

The lesson for today is clear: we must understand that the enjoyment of spiritual privileges—baptism, Communion, fellowship, etc.—does not negate our need for spiritual watchfulness. Possession of spiritual privilege is no guarantee of immunity from divine judgment.

We must be careful not to undo with our actions the truths we profess with our mouths. We must deal with the internal and not merely the external facets of our lives.

Paul wants us to learn from Israel’s bad examples. Our reading of their history should lead us away from sin and toward godliness. When we consider Israel as Paul did, we find that they displeased God in four ways.

We must be careful not to undo with our actions the truths we profess with our mouths

First, they committed idolatry (1 Cor. 10:7). Paul specifically has in mind the incident of the golden calf, citing Exodus 32:6. Second, Israel displeased God in their immorality (1 Cor. 10:8; Num. 25:1–9). Third, they tested God (1 Cor. 10:9; Num. 21:5).

To test God is to push Him, determining to discover whether God will do what He promised to do. Rather than trust, Israel would repeatedly test God’s word. And finally, they grumbled against the Lord, leading to their destruction (1 Cor. 10:10).

Yet these things happened to Israel for, among other reasons, our instruction. They are negative examples, teaching us what not to do as we aim to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

An Important Warning

Paul then gets to the heart of the matter: “Therefore,” he warns, “let anyone who stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Speaking to those who are self-deceived, those who think the bad examples from Israel’s history do not pertain to them, he addresses the issue of presumption—having an unrealistic confidence in one’s own spiritual fortitude—which is an issue that can tempt anyone.

His words stand to this day as a warning against living the Christian life outwardly to convince those around us, but not in such a way as to convince God or even our own consciences.

Consider the seriousness of Communion, for example. God gives us Communion as an outward sign of His commitment to preserve us in His grace. But it is also possible for the believer, approaching the Table, to eat and drink judgment on himself (1 Cor. 11:29). In other words, we can participate in the externalities of the meal while never dealing with the internal realities—the condition of our hearts.

For this reason, we should always examine ourselves and deal with our sin prior to participating in Communion (1 Cor. 11:28). We are not to have too high a view of ourselves at the Communion table. We are to be not presumptuous but humble, contrite, and penitent.

When such humility is our posture, we can see somebody who has fallen into sin and realize that we are a nanosecond away from the very same thing.

We guard against presumption, understanding that we have no basis upon which to stand and take the high ground with another brother or sister in Christ, and we pay close attention to our own lives, lest we also fall into sin.

A Source of Encouragement

In light of Paul’s sober warnings and Israel’s bad examples in the past, we might be tempted to despair. But Paul closes out his point by offering a word of comfort and encouragement: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.

God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Temptation is common, but God is faithful.

The danger of disqualification should produce not despair but humility, spurring us on to a deep reliance on God’s perfect faithfulness. Yes, temptation is common, but God is faithful.

Rather than yield to sin, we are to flee from it (1 Cor. 10:14). And we can hold fast to the truth that when we are tempted to fall into sin, God will always give us a way out. Always.

This article was adapted from the sermon “The Danger of Disqualification” by Alistair Begg. Subscribe to get weekly blog updates.

Expressing Thankfulness – Out of Slavery to Nationhood

Deuteronomy 32:3-6 NIV

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
    Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he.

They are corrupt and not his children;
    to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation.
Is this the way you repay the Lord,
    you foolish and unwise people?
Is he not your Father, your Creator,[a]
    who made you and formed you?

Deuteronomy 32:10-14 NIV

10 In a desert land he found him,
    in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
    he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
    and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
    and carries them aloft.
12 The Lord alone led him;
    no foreign god was with him.

13 He made him ride on the heights of the land
    and fed him with the fruit of the fields.
He nourished him with honey from the rock,
    and with oil from the flinty crag,
14 with curds and milk from herd and flock
    and with fattened lambs and goats,
with choice rams of Bashan
    and the finest kernels of wheat.
You drank the foaming blood of the grape.

Deuteronomy 32:16 NIV

16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods
    and angered him with their detestable idols.

Expressing Thankfulness (NOTES)

Romans 1:22-31 New International Version

22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

Isaiah 42:8 New International Version

8 “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another

    or my praise to idols.

Deuteronomy 31:16 New International Version

16 And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them.

Deuteronomy 31:19 New International Version

19 “Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them.

Deuteronomy 32:1-2 NIV

32 Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.

Deuteronomy 32:19-27 New International Version

19 The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.

21 They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.

22 For a fire will be kindled by my wrath, one that burns down to the realm of the dead below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains.

23 “I will heap calamities on them and spend my arrows against them.

24 I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.

25 In the street the sword will make them childless; in their homes terror will reign. The young men and young women will perish, the infants and those with gray hair.

26 I said I would scatter them and erase their name from human memory, 27 but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy, lest the adversary misunderstand and say, ‘Our hand has triumphed; the Lord has not done all this.’”

Ephesians 2:8-9 New International Version

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Psalm 103:1-5 New International Version

Of David.

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;

    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the Lord, my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits—

3 who forgives all your sins

    and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit

    and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Walk In Obedience To His Commands

💫 ❤️ Love & Obedience 💖

🌞 Love is the spring of true obedience. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” Now a man who is not obedient to God’s commandments is evidently not a true believer; for although good works do not save us, yet, being saved, believers are sure to produce good works.

🙇‍♀️ Though the fruit is not the root of the tree, yet a well-rooted tree will, in its season, bring forth its fruits. So, though the keeping of the commandments does not make me a child of God, yet, being a child of God, I shall be obedient to my heavenly Father. But this I cannot be unless I love God.

🙇‍♂️ 🙇‍♂️ A mere external obedience, a decent formal recognition of the laws of God, is not obedience in God’s sight. He abhors the sacrifice where the heart is not found. I must obey because I love, or else I have not in spirit and in truth obeyed at all. See then, that to produce the indispensable fruits of saving faith, there must be love for God; for without it, they would be unreal and indeed impossible.
— C. H. Spurgeon (from Strengthen My Spirit)

Happy are they who love the Lord,
Whose hearts have Him confessed,
Who by His cross have found their life,
Beneath His yoke their rest. — Bridges

Love, Joy and Peace is the result of walking with God.

🎊 Stay Blessed My Friend 😊 🌹

I Thank My God Every Time I Remember You

💫 ❤️ Occupational Hazzard

🌞 My occupation is words. Whether I am writing or editing, I am using words to convey ideas so that readers can understand. I can usually see what’s wrong with someone else’s writing and figure out how to fix it. As an editor, I am paid for being critical. My job is to see what’s wrong with the way words are used. This ability becomes a disability when I carry it over into my personal life and always look for what is wrong. Focusing on what’s wrong can cause us to miss everything that’s good.

🙇‍♀️ The apostle Paul had reason to focus on what was wrong in the Philippian society. Certain people were preaching the gospel out of selfish ambition to add to Paul’s suffering. But instead of concentrating on the negative, he chose to look at the positive and rejoice in it: Jesus Christ was being preached.

🙇‍♂️ 🙇‍♂️ God wants us to be discerning — we need to know good from bad — but He doesn’t want us to focus on the bad and become critical or discouraged. Even in circumstances that are less than ideal (Paul was writing from prison), we can find something good because in times of trouble God is still at work. That’s just one more way He can be honored. — Julie Ackerman Link

The eyes of faith when fixed on God
Give hope for what’s ahead,
But focus on life’s obstacles
And faith gives way to dread.
— D. De Haan

When your outlook is blurred by problems, focus on God.

🎊 Stay Blessed My Friend 😊 🌹

A Protective Family – Out of Slavery to Nationhood

Exodus 2:1-10 NIV

The Birth of Moses

1 Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 

But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket[a] for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”“Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 

Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses,[b] saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

A Protective Family (NOTES)

Psalm 113:9 New International Version

9 He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children.

Psalm 127:3-5 New International Version

3 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

Deuteronomy 4:9 New International Version

9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Proverbs 22:6 New International Version

6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Matthew 18:10 New International Version

The Parable of the Wandering Sheep

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Luke 17:2 New International Version

2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

Colossians 3:21 New International Version

21 Fathers,[a] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Isaiah 49:25 New International Version

25 But this is what the Lord says:

“Yes, captives will be taken from warriors and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you,and your children I will save.

Psalm 68:5 New International Version

5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 146:9 New International Version

9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

Genesis 3:15 New International Version

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and hers; he will crush[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 12:1-3 New International Version

The Call of Abram

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.[a]

3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;

and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Genesis 15:12-14 New International Version

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.

14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.

It’s not OK to Question Ministries – It’s Imperative

The red flags you should and should not ignore.

Over the past several years, the headlines have been filled with stories about Christian leaders who were ultimately untrustworthy, whether that be in their relationships, their running of an organization, or their own spiritual lives. Unfortunately, this kind of dishonesty exists in many institutions, nonprofits, and Christian companies.

Many people have responded to this slew of news with skepticism, scrutinizing those who claim the name of Jesus and questioning whether any individual or institution is worth wholehearted support. Others have buried their heads in the sand, blinded by loyalty and unwilling to consider an exercise in discernment.

Neither of these responses is sufficient for Christians who want to learn from past ministry failures, make wise choices in the present, and participate in God’s future work. Fortunately, experts in ministry health say that there are clear red flags to look for before financially supporting an organization .

Not Giving Can Be the Wisest Choice

Warren Smith, president of, says that there are some red flags that should be considered absolute non-negotiables, such as an organization:

According to Smith, if an organization fails in any of these three areas, it would be unwise to support them financially. Learning whether or not a ministry meets these standards requires that potential givers follow Smith’s most important piece of advice: “Don’t give to any organization that you don’t know.”

This may seem like an obvious statement, but consider the giving patterns in our congregations. It’s common for mercy-motivated believers to have an emotional response to hearing about compelling programs and projects that align with their core values. Combine that feeling with a belief in Scripture’s call to be generous, and, oftentimes, that’s enough for a Spirit-led Christian to make a donation without due diligence.

But it’s incomplete theology to believe that Christians should give to a ministry simply because it claims to do good work. “That’s not taking into account the full counsel of Scripture,” says Smith. “God gave us a mind as well as a heart, and we should be open to what the Holy Spirit is doing in our minds and our hearts as donors.”

Additional red flags that should be considered dealbreakers include an organization lacking a statement of faith and failing to provide senior leader compensation information to inquiring donors. Donors should also steer clear of ministries that claim IRS status of churches if they are not performing the true functions of a local church, such as preaching, baptism, and the sacraments.

Keep an eye out for what’s known as founder syndrome, as well. Founder syndrome occurs when loyalty to an organization’s founder trumps making decisions that are in the best interest of an organization. Symptoms of founder syndrome include a board that is composed of the founder’s friends and family members or an organization that is named after the founder.

Researching an organization and its leaders isn’t cynical–it’s spiritual. This kind of investigation is an act of faithfulness because it demonstrates your commitment to generosity by giving only to those organizations and causes that exhibit stewardship.

Some Red Flags Mean “Keep Learning”

While major red flags are reason enough to walk away from an organization entirely, Smith also says there are indicators that should encourage potential donors to keep researching an organization.

Calvin Edwards, founder and CEO of a consulting firm that provides philanthropic counsel, agrees. Edwards points out that some red flags should prompt thoughtful questions, and the answers offer clarity for donors.

If an organization’s board isn’t gathering regularly, for example, it may be because the members agreed to keep in communication by email rather than meetings. The lack of meetings is a red flag, but the fact that the board consistently communicates is positive. Potential givers may then determine whether the email system seems effective enough, or they may feel that regular meetings should not be replaced by technology.

Other potential red flags that require further investigation may include a high rate of staff turnover, a poor rating by a watchdog organization like Charity Navigator, or inconsistent communication with donors.

By talking to ministry leadership about the red flags they see, potential givers have the opportunity to learn about the organization’s posture and humility. If leadership is defensive in the face of questions or suggestions, it’s likely they are leaving other behaviors and processes unexamined as well. Organizational leaders who respond to questions with openness, listen to advice with grace, and welcome further discussion communicate volumes about their organization’s character.

Looking for red flags isn’t a technique to encourage frugality, says Edwards. But rather this due diligence “minimizes risk, and it’s also a blessing to ministries to have these items confronted.” As prospective donors hold organizations accountable, ministry leaders can learn and grow from the wisdom of outside perspectives, empowering them to serve with greater impact.

Do you want to give wisely but don’t know what questions to ask or information to seek? The experienced donors at Strategic Resource Group can help you learn more about stewardship, generosity, and how to identify trustworthy ministries. Interested in learning more? Email

Approval of Human Beings or of God?

1 Peter 5 New International Version (NIV)
To the Elders and the Flock

1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;

3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders.

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen