Giant-Killers (Part 2)

“He picked up five smooth stones.” 1Sa 17:40 NLT In David’s day they fought “by representation.” One man would fight for the nation as a whole, and the country of the losing warrior became subservient to the country of the conquering warrior. The upside is obvious, isn’t it? Everybody didn’t have to die! So David versus Goliath was really Israel against the Philistines. It was a one-on-one contest: winner take all. We’re familiar with David’s victory over the giant with faith, a stone, and a … [Read more...]

Giant-Killers (Part 1)

“So David conquered the Philistine giant.” 1Sa 17:50 TLB First Samuel chapter 17 is the backdrop for the story of David and Goliath. The shepherd slays the warrior. The boy conquers the giant. God gives David victory over his giant, to inspire us to confront our own giants. Giants can be tangible or intangible: the things we haven’t overcome because, seduced by fear, we think we can’t. They can also be unattainable goals, unfinished projects, or unfulfilled dreams—the “loose ends” of life that … [Read more...]

Flee From Religious Bondage

“Christ has truly set us free…make sure that you stay free.” Gal 5:1 NLT Some of us find it hard to give ourselves permission to think, say, or enjoy certain things because we fear others will disapprove. We live by their convictions instead of our own. There’s no bondage like religious bondage! A Christian author writes: “The church I grew up in taught that we couldn’t go to the movies or a soccer match (mixing with the world), and ladies couldn’t wear makeup. Our standard answer to most of … [Read more...]

Your Good and His Glory

“If you suffer for doing good and…endure…this is commendable before God.” 1Pe 2:20 NIV Many of the people we admire in Scripture were badly treated. And God permitted it to happen. Think about Daniel being thrown to the lions, and Joseph being tossed into prison. They did nothing to deserve it. The Bible says: “If you suffer for doing good and endure it, this is commendable…To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” … [Read more...]

Joseph’s Three Coats (Part 3)

“He clothed him in garments of fine linen.” Ge 41:42 NKJV The third coat Joseph wore was: The coat of destiny. Because Joseph honored God in the most difficult of circumstances, he ended up on the throne of Egypt, wearing the coat of rulership and fulfilling his destiny. The Psalmist said God “sent a man before them—Joseph—who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. The King sent and … [Read more...]

Joseph’s Three Coat’s (Part 2)

“He left his [coat] in her hand, and fled.” Ge 39:12 NKJV The second coat Joseph wore was: The coat of temptation. The Bible says, “When Joseph went into the house to do his work…she caught him by his [coat], saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his [coat] in her hand, and fled and ran outside” (vv. 11-12 NKJV). Joseph was young, handsome, lonely, far from home, and facing repeated temptation at the hands of his boss’s wife. Yet he resisted her advances and said, “How then can I do this great … [Read more...]

Joseph’s Three Coats (Part 1)

“Now Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph…[and] he made him a [coat] of many colors.” Ge 37:3 NKJV Let’s look at the three different coats Joseph wore, as they present a picture of your life as a Christian. First, the coat of salvation. Notice, it was a “gift” from his father; Joseph never paid a penny for it, or sewed a stitch, or provided an inch of fabric. And that’s the story of our salvation, isn’t it? The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it … [Read more...]

Your Pattern Sins (Part 11)

“We will in all things grow up.” Eph 4:15 NIV Whether you are a reformer, a server, an achiever, an artist, a thinker, a loyalist, an enthusiast, a commander, or a peacemaker, every one of us wrestles with sin. And knowing that each category of sin has its own hidden temptations should make you less envious of others when you’re not doing well yourself, and less likely to judge them when you are. Recognizing your particular pattern sin lets you know what you need to work on. For example, if … [Read more...]

Your Pattern Sins (Part 10)

“Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.” Eph 4:25 NKJV Peacemakers: Peacemakers thrive when life is calm. They love the verse: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” (Ps 133:1 NIV). They make excellent therapists and mediators, and can usually bring reconciliation to families, neighborhoods, and workplaces. But sometimes they’re inclined to seek peace at any price, use their relational skills to blend in, and avoid taking the initiative or assuming risks … [Read more...]

Your Pattern Sins (Part 9)

“We were gentle among you.” 1Th 2:7 NIV Commanders: Commanders were created to understand power and leadership, to know how it works, and feel a natural pull toward it. If this describes you, an image of strength is important to you. You have a need to lead. Opposition actually energizes you. Winston Churchill was a commander easily bored by agreement, and whose greatest moments were inspired by opposition. He had a running battle with Lady Nancy Astor, who once said to him, “Winston, if you … [Read more...]