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.

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What I’ve Learned Since I Became Omniscient

Because God is all-wise, we should be all-trusting.

As a teenager, I knew everything. You could even say I was omniscient. I marveled at the incompetence of adults on the simplest issues. They just didn’t get it. And then I grew up, and something strange happened. I discovered that as an omniscient person, I still had a lot to learn.

What I’ve Learned Since I Became Omniscient

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So many times I stood so sure of myself only to discover how woefully ignorant I was.

  • I knew a lot about the Bible until I went to seminary. It turns out, the more I learned, the less I knew.
  • I knew everything about marriage until I got married. But matrimony is course in art, not science. I’ll be learning for the rest of my life.
  • I was an expert on parenting until I had kids. Parenting offers a long course of study on your own selfishness.

I’ve learned a lot since I became omniscient. But you know where that omniscient teenager resurfaces the most in my life? The same place it shows itself in your life.

When we’re talking to God.

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Did the Old Testament Offer Only One Way to God?

We can only approach God’s presence God’s way. But are there multiple ways? The New Testament clearly reveals that only through Jesus can anyone come to God the Father (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:23). But what about in the Old Testament?

Did the Old Testament Offer Only One Way to God?

(Photo courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After King David conquered Jerusalem and secured it as his capital, he desired to bring the Ark of the Covenant up from Kiriath-Jearim into his new City of David. But in his passion to have God’s presence, David neglected to follow God’s principles. That negligence of improperly transporting the Ark cost a man his life (2 Samuel 6).

Three months later, David correctly transported the Ark into Jerusalem and placed it in a tent he pitched for its keeping.

In this experience, David gained a profound respect for God’s holiness.

This principle directly relates to the question: did the Old Testament offer only one way to God?

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God Will Never Give Up on You

Imagine with me you have a child—and only one.

The delivery had complications, but the child lived. So you name him Nathaniel—“given of God.”

God will never give up on you.

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While recovering at home, you begin the ritual every three hours of feeding little Nathaniel and rocking him while he screams through fits of colic. Without missing one feeding, or letting one diaper go unchanged, or any needs unmet, you never give up because you know your child would literally die without your care.

And as Nathaniel grows, you teach him to walk, change the soiled sheets, and work hard to buy new clothes he’ll outgrow. He starts to drive and you bite your nails until he comes home. Every new stage presents a new set of sacrifices, but you never give up because you love Nathaniel.

The day he drives off to college represents a milestone in your parenting, and you stand proud of what God has made of Nathaniel.

You have no idea that things are about to change.

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Why Your Life of Faith Has Gaps

What we must understand if we hope to maintain a life of faith.

The Bible doesn’t tell us everything. Not even close. That’s because there are huge gaps between most events. Oh, to be sure, the Bible tells us all we need to know. But it leaves out most of the details that scratch our curious itches.

Most of life is gaps.

(Photo: The Zin Valley in the Aravah of Israel. Picture by Noam Armonn, via Vivozoom)

For starters:

  • What did Jesus look like?
  • Was Nehemiah bowlegged?
  • Did Martha have a sidesplitting laugh?
  • Was David more handsome than Brad Pitt?

We’ll never know. And this offers a huge encouragement in our life of faith.

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Clear Your Guilty Conscience in 3 Steps

I read that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle played a joke on twelve of his friends. He sent them each identical telegrams that read: “Flee! All is discovered!” Just four words. But within 24 hours, all 12 fled the country.

Only God can help you clear a guilty conscience.

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What Conan Doyle did in jest, God does to us in all seriousness.

The Lord will use situations to awaken ignored or unresolved guilt, testing our willingness to come clean and clear a guilty conscience.

Are you willing? Here’s how.

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Why God Allows Us to Crash and Hurt

I’ll never forget the day when one of my daughters learned to ride her bike without training wheels. (The “fall” was an appropriate season for this event.)

As she sped down a hill toward a huge ravine, I saw written all over her face the message: “I’m not in control!”

Why does God allow us to hurt?

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As she raced by me, I reached out and lifted her off the bike—saving her from the ravine but causing her to fall. As the bike launched into the abyss, my rescued daughter hopped up hotter than a hornet!

“Why did you do that, Daddy?!” To answer, I simply pointed to the bottomless gorge I saved her from. But that didn’t matter. All she could see was that I caused her to fall.

Years later, I pondered how we can carry this same attitude into our relationship with God.

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Fill the Void in Your Life by Making These 2 Choices

I loved the innovation of how some New Yorkers chose to deal with their drought-dried lawns. They paced their yards a few times with a can of green spray paint, and whala! Lawns to dye for. No more watering, no more mowing, just bright, green grass all summer.

Filling the void.

(Photo: Elena Elisseeva, via Vivozoom)

Actually, such innovation applies beyond the front yard straight into the human heart.

On the surface, every one of us seems vibrant, successful, content, and happy. And except for the occasional “scene”—when the truth bursts from behind our thin veneers—most of us manage to keep it together long enough to preserve the image.

In social circles where hurting is unacceptable (insert your church’s name here), we quickly learn how to paint on the smile and shake all the hands—while inside we feel as dead and needy as parched grass.

While we may have ideal hopes about tomorrow, and how in that ever-elusive “someday” things will get better, the truth is, life doesn’t fix itself.

Instead, God must fix life.

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The Problem of Evil and a God of Love

In a forgotten corner of the Hebrew Scriptures we find hope.

We live in a world where it seems God turns a deaf ear to pain and evil. Children hunger, immorality runs rampant, injustice occurs in the courts, and our loved ones die of cancer. All under the nose of an all-powerful God of love.

See no evil. Speak no evil. Hear no evil.

(Photo: See no evil. Speak no evil. Hear no evil.)

It feels as if He were a God of love and justice and power, He would and could remove all evil. As it is, evil remains. So do our feelings of confusion.

In a forgotten corner of the Hebrew Scriptures we catch a glimpse of this seeming contradiction with the problem of evil.

We also see its resolution.

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Hurling the Sin We’ve Swallowed

I went to a movie with a friend, and he gorged on popcorn, cokes, and candy. As the movie was about to end, he leaned over and whispered: “I don’t feel good. I’ll wait for you in the back.” As I walked out, I saw him holding his stomach and twisting his face.

Hurling the sin we're swallowed

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“You want me to drive?” I offered.

“No, no, I’ll be okay,” he said.

On the way home, he slammed on the brakes, opened his door, and hurled in the street.

“You sure you don’t want me to drive?” I asked again.

“No, no,” he said, breathing heavy. “I—I feel better now.”

We drove another hundred yards, and he slammed the brakes on again! (The seat belt began to hurt my shoulder.)

Later he told me after he got home he spent some time in the bathroom. I can imagine that point in his ordeal—as he leaned over the commode and begin to experience the candy and popcorn for the second time—that he asked himself: Why in the world did I ever eat this?! Talk about regret!

I can think of no better illustration of sin and temptation in our lives than this true story.

In fact, that’s what happened to a man named Lot.

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