How to Live for God When Your Parents Didn’t

2 Decisions Josiah Made that Made All the Difference

Do you know someone who wasn’t raised in a godly home? Or someone raised in home where godliness cloaked hypocrisy? Perhaps it was your home. It’s tough to live for God in such circumstances.

How to Live for God When Your Parents Didn't

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The struggle is nothing new. Josiah wanted to live for God, and yet his father and grandfather were two of Judah’s worst kings. When Josiah heard the Scriptures for the first time, he reacted in immediate sorrow:

Our fathers have not observed the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book. —2 Chronicles 34:21

Josiah determined to be different. He chose to live for God by doing 2 specific things.

So can we.

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Trying to Understand God’s Plan for You

How to not miss the opportunity God has given you today.

Tough circumstances of life always change our minds about God. They either tempt us to doubt what He’s promised, or they draw us closer to Him in faith. But we never stay the same.

Trying to Understand God's Plan for You

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God’s plan for your life is revealed and tested in times of struggle.

If you’re struggling today, don’t miss the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of God’s plan for you.

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How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard

Sometimes it seems the Lord leads us into a life that can’t possibly be His will. What started with such promise has become such a challenge. It’s tough to know what to do next.

How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard

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What do you do when the life God has promised you looks nothing like the life God has given you?

God had promised a son to Sarai and her husband, Abram. And yet at the same time, God prevented conception. This is the will of God? Go figure.

What God said is a lesson we need to hear.

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Why the Wisdom of Solomon Isn’t Enough for You

Everybody likes to be an exception to the rule. No exceptions. This paradox seems especially true for individuals who are exceptional. Like Solomon. (And like you and me.)

Why the Wisdom of Solomon Isn't Enough for You

(Photo by Owen Walters. Courtesy of Unsplash.com)

“I have given you a wise and discerning heart,” God told Solomon, “so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you” (1 Kings 3:12). Talk about exceptional!

And yet Solomon became the exception to the wisdom of Solomon. How?

It started with two small compromises that we can avoid.

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Who is Guarding Your Great Wall?

I recently went to China with colleagues from Insight for Living. What a vast and beautiful country—and so much potential for ministry. While there, several of us got to visit the Great Wall.

Who is Guarding Your Great Wall?

(Photo: By Hao Wei from China. Flickr. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

I was amazed at how vigilant the wall builders were to ensure the safety of their country against potential enemies. (See some of my pictures below from my Instagram Feed.) Of course, history reveals that a guard allowed the enemy to enter through a gate and compromise the wall’s security. 1500 miles of wall compromised by one traitor in the gate.

In our spiritual lives, we have that same traitor.

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A Test and a Temptation—Can You Tell the Difference?

I always get a kick out of the road tests automakers perform on one another. As objective as the tests claim to be, the goals remain clear. GM tests Ford to show Ford’s weaknesses. GM tests GM to show its strengths.

When Ford does the testing, however, the purpose completely reverses. (Funny how that works, you know?)

Actually, this type of testing is biblical. Both God and Satan perform tests on you and me. These road tests reveal how the rubber meets the road in our Christian lives.

But the two tests have two completely different goals. Can you tell the difference?

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My Biblical Encounter with a Russian Prostitute

I discovered there isn’t time to ponder your reaction when propositioned by a prostitute. Your first response is your response. It happened to me in a Russian hotel.

My Experience with the Bible and a Russian Prostitute

(Photo: St. Basils Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square. By Soerfm. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

I went with some missionaries to Moscow to help train national pastors. On our first morning, I headed to the hotel lobby to meet our team. Stepping out of the elevator, I scanned the lobby for others in our group. I saw no one I knew.

A small group of ladies at the bar sat and chatted with each other. All of them, that is, except one. This one very attractive woman was smiling and staring—straight at me.

As our eyes met, I suddenly remembered someone told me that prostitutes sat in the bar, looking for customers. This woman kept smiling and then leaned forward—and a literal chill ran up my back. I can still feel it. I froze.

At that moment, I heard three very distinctive words in my head.

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Eilat Gives a Word of Warning When Your Ship Has Come In

Sometimes a deal looks so good it can’t be bad. Or what we stand to gain overshadows any thought of what we stand to lose. At the southern end of Israel sits a seaport with an ancient admonition to be careful.

Eilat Gives a Word of Warning When Your Ship Has Come In

(Photo: Boats at modern Eilat. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The biblical city of Ezion-geber, near modern Eilat, served as Israel’s occasional port on the Red Sea. On one occasion, the gulf offered a tremendous opportunity for a lucrative shipping industry for King Jehoshaphat.

As with Jehoshaphat, Eilat parallels many opportunities you have today when your ship has come in:

  • The financial deal promises a sure return on your investment.
  • The kind, attentive gentleman asks for your hand in marriage.
  • The promotion comes with the salary you’ve waited for a long time.
  • The new church you’re attending is just around the block.

But in making these decisions, have you forgotten to ask the most important question?

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When Finding Favor with God Makes Life Tough

Sometimes finding favor with God makes life much harder. You know the story. Gabriel informed Mary she would give birth to the Son of God. Many thoughts ran through her mind, not the least of which was how she, a virgin, could conceive.

When Finding Favor with God Makes Life Tough

(Photo: by Jolanta Dyr. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0-pl, via Wikimedia Commons)

What’s more, Mary knew the social and biblical fallout that occurs for a pregnant woman without a husband. How could she possibly explain that her pregnancy was an of God and not an act of passion?

Finding favor with God meant that she faced disfavor from people. Maybe finding favor with God isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

Christmas usually causes us to marvel at the virgin conception—and at the love of our God who would become Man so that He could die for our sins. But there’s another part of the Christmas story that amazes me just as much.

It comes from this amazing young woman.

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