The Most Abused Word in the English Language

One of the striking traits of letters written in the 19th century is the level of thought put into them. For example, notes sent home during the American Civil War contain sentences filled with deliberate, carefully crafted terms of endearment. Today, emojis and acronyms have become the norm and the word “love” has been reduced to a casual term invoked to describe every passing preference, whim, and desire.

In the Bible, there’s a passage often quoted and incorporated into artwork that presents a powerful description of love (I Cor. 13). However, it’s easy to miss the point Paul was teaching about, because the context is related to spiritual gifts and how to properly use them. In other words, it’s written to be used as a real-life practical guide, not a list of unreachable, poetic ideals. It involves decision-making, long-term commitment and relational grit. The verses describe love as defined by God, which means the practical nature of genuine love is shown this way:

With the anxious, it’s patient,

With the selfish, it’s kind,

With the popular, it’s not envious,

With the distracted, it doesn’t yell,

With the simple, it isn’t arrogant,

With the quiet, it isn’t rude,

With the busy, it doesn’t compete,

With the grumpy, it isn’t provoked,

With the repentant, it remembers no wrong,

With the unrepentant, it doesn’t enable,

With the truthful, it rejoices,

And it steadily looks forward with a hopeful,

encouraging and unfailing expectation.

May genuine love be found in us today. As a matter-of-fact, Jesus said that’s the way “they will know we are His disciples”.

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What’s with the Razor Burn?

Shaving used to be a manly right-of-passage, even dangerous before “safety razors”. Now, according to Gillette’s new ad campaign, we’re supposed to contemplate the ills of masculinity while we groom. I guess in their mind, we need to trim manliness along with the whiskers. Sorry Gillette, that’s not happening at my sink. This business of “toxic masculinity” is not only broken logic, it sends the wrong message to our boys. It assumes men by default are abusers in need of re-education. Based on what I’m observing, the result isn’t going to be progress, but a generation of frustrated pansies. No, that isn’t politically correct language, but can we agree that enough is enough?

Our boys need to hear the truth. They need to know that rugged men fought for, protected, and continue to secure our way of life. Confused, apologetic men didn’t storm the beaches of Normandy, real men did. The West wasn’t settled by timid guys unsure of themselves, real men struggled through the challenges. Bullies aren’t defeated by fearful negotiation, but by those willing to take a punch and give one back. Generations of boys were once taught these things at church, in school, at the barber shop, on grandpa’s porch, and many other places where older men mentored young men-in-training.

If you have a son, grandson, nephew, or student, please don’t be afraid to tell them the truth. Our culture needs you to. God designed men to be strong, courageous, loving and defenders of biblical truth…no matter how uncomfortable it makes those trying to advance a lie.

 

New ebook now available for download:

40 Days in Romans: A Devotional Journey

 

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Blog Update for 2019

Dear Friends,

Thank you for reading and following. Each year at this time, I reflect on the path taken regarding posts made, and look forward to where I feel led to go. This year has brought a first. I’ve compiled the devotions from Romans into an eBook which is now available for download. Many of you have graciously read and commented on them in the past as most of them were originally posted here. Perhaps the Lord will allow me to compile additional ones as well, but I want you to be the first to know that my postings here may be more random in nature and not necessarily daily devotions. In the meantime, I ask a favor. Please check out the eBook listing and leave a brief review. Obviously, you haven’t read the actual book, but many of you have read the devotions in the past. Writing has always taught me more than I’m capable of passing along, and my hope is that I can better communicate the precious treasures of God’s truth through whatever platform He provides.

Serving Him together,

Chris

Click on the book to follow the link:

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Considering Shamgar

Thought about Shamgar lately?

Probably not. He was one of the Judges of Israel like Samson and Gideon. However, he rarely makes the cut for children’s Sunday School lessons because the entire biblical narrative of his life consist of only one verse. Take a look:

“After him [Ehud] was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.” – Judges 3:31 NKJV

That’s it. The guy shows up out of nowhere swinging a big stick, gets the “honorable mention” and then disappears just as quick. But the important part is; he got the honorable mention. From that one verse we get some important facts:

  • God stepped in and delivered Israel (at His chosen time)
  • God included facts that were pertinent (Shamgar’s lineage, Philistines, six hundred enemy…dead)
  • God left out details we needn’t worry about (as He often does)
  • God used a unique method (not many “ox goad” stories in there)

Based on those facts, consider this:

  • Perhaps you’re feeling a little short on details right now; maybe they’re not really that relevant.
  • Perhaps the method God’s using to shape you right now doesn’t look like the average story; maybe that’s because your story is unique.
  • And perhaps God’s timing feels off; maybe that’s because He works on His own schedule.

Prayer: “Father your ways are unique. Thank you for the many times you’ve cared for me and how you’ve always proved yourself faithful. Please help me to trust you; even if I don’t have the whole story.”

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Wisdom 14.12

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” – Proverbs 14:12 NIV

At the end of it all, our opinions about “what’s right” will be irrelevant. Polling data, legal rulings, academic theories, political correctness, and cultural norms will all be distance memories in the presence of the Almighty. So, when it comes to what’s right, choose wisely…

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Not Forsaken

There are points on the journey when the “weather” of life can go from clear and sunny to dark and stormy. Those are the exact times when the words of Psalm 9 are most applicable. Somehow, making the decision to speak them aloud reveals a previously hidden trail to a spiritual shelter from the storm…

“I will praise You O Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High…

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”    – Psalm 9:1-2, 9-10 NKJV

Not forsaken. As a child of God, isn’t it incredible to know that you’re always remembered. There’s never a moment where you’re forgotten or out of The Most High’s sight. Speak the words so your heart can resonate with His goodness. Embrace the truth that brings strength to the deep parts of the soul. Praise His name for He is our refuge in times of trouble!

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Advent – Week 3 – “Joy”

During the private moments of the Last Supper, Jesus spoke many powerful words to His disciples (John ch.13-17). He challenged them, instructed them, encouraged them, and prayed for them. He also prayed for us (those who would believe by their testimony). In the middle of the discussion, he mentioned joy. Not happiness or celebration, but a deep abiding joy that only comes from Him. He said very specifically:

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” – John 15:11 NKJV

The natural question is, “What things had he spoken about for joy to be remaining and full?” The answer is “abiding”. He described Himself as the vine and a disciple as the branch; and when we abide in Him, there is a soul-level gladness. As deep roots nourish distant branches, He refreshes our spirits through the various seasonal changes of life. May His joy be full in us today.

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