How to Quit a Life of Compromise

If you think about it, King Solomon never started out to build pagan shrines. It was his failure to deal with the tiny spiritual cracks in his heart that produced a life of compromise and dissatisfaction.

You can quit a life of compromise.

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The backwash from Solomon’s life reminds us how we only kid ourselves when we think we can have a healthy walk with God and still keep our hidden life of compromise on the side.

The good news? We don’t have to.

Where Overcoming Temptation Begins

We are more than physical creatures with physical needs. Notice in most prayer meetings that you’ll hear requests for God to help with the tangible needs. That’s fine, except it often ends there.

Where Overcoming Temptation Begins

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We don’t always realize how desperate our need is for truth beyond the tangible.

The trouble is, when we face temptation, our challenge is anything but physical—even when the temptation appeals to a physical needs or desires.

Overcoming temptation begins long before temptation.

Jesus shows us how.

How Jerusalem’s Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

Life is full of moments that expose our doubts. In spite of all the Scripture we’ve learned and all the past victories the Lord has given us, occasionally something will happen that causes serious doubt.

How Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount near sunset. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Maybe it’s a financial situation that undercuts future security. It might be a miserable marriage. Perhaps it’s a pastor or a leader who has failed. Maybe it’s our own failure.

Whatever the reason, seasons of doubts and confusion can come even to the most committed followers of Jesus:

  • John the Baptist struggled with doubts about his own beliefs about Jesus (Matt. 11:2-3).
  • The apostle Thomas found the resurrection of Christ something he had to see before he’d believe (John 20:25).
  • Some of the disciples had doubts about Jesus’ appearing to them, even at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:17).

I confess, I’ve had my doubts as well. Sometimes circumstances literally demanded I doubt God.

I will never forget one evening during my first few days in Jerusalem. A simple walk gave me an essential reminder that helped relieve my doubts.

God’s Odd Leading in Your Life

Almost 2,000 years ago Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem. But approximately 2,040 years before they did, Jacob and Rachel, another expectant couple, traveled south along the same road.

Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, but died soon after delivery, and Jacob buried her near Bethlehem (Gen. 35:19).

God's Unusual Leading in Your Life

(Photo: Anton Raphael Mengs. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Rachel’s death foreshadowed the devastation that the territory of Benjamin would suffer in Jeremiah’s time:

Rachel is weeping for her children . . . Because they are no more. —Jeremiah 31:15

Yet the prophecy found its final fulfillment in Jesus’ day, when Herod the Great slaughtered all baby boys in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:17-18). So, at God’s direction, Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to live until Herod’s death.

Each movement of Jesus’ family finds its cause in God’s revelation to Joseph:

  • Fleeing Bethlehem to Egypt
  • Returning from Egypt to Israel
  • Avoiding Judea to settle in Galilee

God’s purposes for these moves lay first in the protection of His Son, but Matthew notes that each directive also fulfilled Scripture. I doubt anyone but God saw beforehand the murky prophecies fulfilled by these geographic moves. But in hindsight, they become clear.

God’s Odd Leading

God’s leading and timing in our lives often don’t make sense either.  At least at first.

The Power of Providence in Your Life

The first Christmas looked like a coincidence. From a human perspective, politics set the agenda: Caesar took a census of his people. Period. End of story.

The Power of Providence in Your Life

(Picture by Danka Peter)

But from the divine viewpoint? God orchestrated ordinary events for extraordinary outcomes.

Think about this past year in your life. Many ordinary events occurred. Most you don’t remember. But God has been working.

It isn’t just the Christmas story. It’s your story too. God uses the power of providence in your life as well.

Waiting on God’s Promise a Long Time

When we think of the Bible’s Christmas couple, of course we picture Joseph and Mary. But there’s another couple in the Christmas narrative. In fact, they appear even before Jesus’ parents do.

God had been silent for 400 years. No additional Scripture. No more prophecy. No visions. Just waiting for the Messiah. 400 years! Then, God spoke to an old man in Jerusalem.

Waiting on God’s Promise a Long Time

(Photo: Church of St John in Ein Kerem, Israel. Painting by El Greco. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God had been silent to Zacharias and Elizabeth as well. They were elderly and had no children. They prayed for years. But nothing.

God’s Word makes the point that they were righteous in God’s sight—blameless in God’s Law. In other words, their childless home wasn’t because of their unfaithfulness.

Times of waiting on God can even come to a point of what seems impossible. Most times of lack are like that.

Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. (Rom. 8:24, The Message)

God had something special planned for them. And for you.

What You Must Have Before You’ll Have Success

Most of us Christians have experienced those incredible moments of intimacy with God when we have no yearning for any earthly joy, much less for sin. Christ becomes our entire desire.

In those times, we make impassioned commitments of absolute dedication. We really believe we have turned a corner in our spiritual lives. But for some reason . . . it doesn’t last.

What You Must Have in Order to Succeed

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In those deflating moments, our spirituality exits like air from a balloon:

  • Driving away from church, our family fights over where to eat.
  • After our quiet time, our bickering children rapidly rob us of joy.
  • On the way to work, a hurried driver cuts us off and waves with only a fraction of his hand.

All of a sudden, commitment wanes. And these are just the little things.

What about real life crises? What about those times when success is demanded but a lack of success seems all we get?

Jesus spoke words of encouragement for moments just like these.

God’s Promises—How We Can Know They’re True

It happened again. A man I know shook my hand and said, “Let’s grab a coffee soon; I’ll call you.”

I didn’t say it, but I wanted to reply: “No, you won’t.”

God’s Promises—How We Can Know They’re True

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I always try to give someone the benefit of the doubt when he or she makes a commitment. But honestly, it doesn’t take many times for someone to fail keeping a promise, and I lose confidence in the person.

The only way we can trust that people will keep their word is if they have kept their word.

The same is true of God’s promises.

The Best Insurance for the Most Certain Event in Your Life

As worriers, we often place more value on possibilities than certainties.

We’ll invest plenty of money to insure ourselves against theft, flood, fire, sickness, or accident—all only possibilities. But we give little thought to the most certain event in our lives.

Death. Even life insurance doesn’t cover that.

The Best Insurance for the Most Certain Event in Your Life

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I believe in insurance. I pay for it, consider it prudent, and enjoy its benefits. In a way, my blog distributes spiritual insurance in bulk.

  • I explain people’s options and risks regarding the events following death.
  • I do my best to warn them of buying into cheap insurance that looks good up front but raises its premiums exorbitantly and reneges on paying the final benefits of their claim.

Such shams offer heaven for the price of good deeds.

Only God offers the best insurance for the most certain event in your life.

How to Fill Your Empty Hollow

Most of us can remember the turning of the millennium. It was an exciting time to be alive—to see if all computers would crash. (It was also a great time for practical jokes).

But for the great yew tree at Crowhurst, England, the year 2000 was no big deal. Tree experts say this tree has seen the millennium change four times. Ho hum.

How to Fill Your Empty Hollow

(Photo by Dan Gregory CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

That means when Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago, the Crowhurst yew had already stood for two thousand years—dating to the time of Abraham!

From its lush exterior you’d never guess the tree had a center lifeless and hollow.

A lot of people live life like this old tree.

  • From all appearances, they look full of life and vigor, but on the inside they have an empty hollow.
  • The longer they live, the bigger the hole gets on the inside.

Life can weather your faith. But God’s love shows us how He can fill that empty hollow with life far more vibrant than the outside facade.

But only He can do it.