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April 27, 2020

Ep.1123: Can Our Sins Ever Produce Blessings?

Defining what brings us God’s favor and what does not

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:05]
What did God do when the whole nation of His people sinned against Him?


[00:33:17]
King David sinned by counting the people. Did God bless this sin?


[00:48:49]
How does God work with our personal sins and immaturity?


[01:04:57]
What is the remedy for our strong fleshly desires?


Theme Scripture: 1 John 2:1

As Christians, we are clearly taught to live our lives in harmony with God’s will and His ways by following in the footsteps of Jesus. We all know this challenge is one we can never fulfill with perfection. We all have experienced failure along these lines. Because we are imperfect, God expects us to fail, and yet He blesses us. Does this mean He accepts us as we are? Does this mean our sinful thoughts and actions can actually be sources of blessing? How many times have you made mistakes in judgment or action, yet still saw God’s blessing and providence come through? How do we properly interpret our experiences to reflect what God is blessing us for and leading us through?

Continue Reading

Is this a no-win scenario?

Let’s get right to the point: our sins can never produce blessings! On the surface this perspective seems to be harsh, even cruel. No matter what we do in this human life, we can never be rid of our sinful nature. If our sins cannot produce blessings, then it seems we are in an absolute no-win scenario. It feels like this idea of our sins never producing blessings is a proclamation of doom. Because I sin, God cannot bless me.

Do we miss the mark?

Nothing is further from the truth!  To understand how this works, we need to understand that sin according to the Bible means “to miss the mark.”  Translation: any thought pattern that ends up with less-than-perfect conclusion is inherently sinful. Any action performed with less-than-perfect execution is inherently sinful. We are always “missing the mark” even though we are desperately trying to hit it! While this sounds depressing, it is actually where we begin to see the seeds of blessing being sown.

Understanding what it means to be blessed by God is the other critical piece that needs to be put in order. Blessing in Scripture does not necessarily equate to ease or the accumulation of stuff. While these things can be an outgrowth of blessing, they are grossly overrated as evidence of God’s care. Turns out that for God to bless us and for us to bless God (It is the same word in the Bible for "bless") has everything to do with appreciation. The magnitude of this thought in conjunction with understanding what sin is cannot be overstated.

Check out our April 27, 2020 podcast, “Can Our Sins Ever Produce Blessings?” for more. We take a deep dive into the role our efforts to please God play in the sin/blessing equation. We look at a national sin of Israel and trace God’s ability to bless His people in spite of it. We highlight a personal sin of someone with great power and influence, and trace God’s blessing as a result of repentance.  We also get practical with the personal sin of someone most of us don’t know much about and again see how blessings follow. In all these cases, it is NOT the sin that produces blessing.  Finding out what DOES bring God’s blessing will brighten your day!

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November 01, 2021

Ep.1202: Is Anyone Listening to the Wisdom of the Bible?

Uncovering how true wisdom works and why it is so rare

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:45]
Why is integrity such an important part of wisdom?


[00:29:46]
If Solomon was so wise, why did it not end well?


[00:44:44]
What benefits are there to us seeking for wisdom?


Theme Scripture: James 1:5

It seems like wisdom has become old fashioned and obsolete. When I think of wisdom, I think of a thoughtful approach that is not driven by self-interest. I think of quiet observation that seeks to understand the people, the facts and the circumstances before weighing in with answers. When I think of wisdom, I think of my Grandma Helen. She lived a hard life and yet judged no one, always found a way to help and contribute and continually guided others towards their best and most integrity-filled path. When I think of wisdom, I think of Jesus. I think of his everyday life, his teaching, his obedience to his Father and his selflessness. When I think of wisdom, I don’t ever think of our day and our tech-driven, opinion-heavy and reaction-riddled approach. What happened? Where did we go wrong?

Continue Reading

Very different from intelligence

Intelligence implies the ability to acquire and process knowledge and to be able to take that knowledge and put it to good use. This is a wonderful characteristic to have as it provokes order and growth. While wisdom benefits from intelligence, it dives much deeper regarding the application of knowledge. It is both experience and maturity- based. Its application of what it has observed and processed can be an enormous catalyst for positive change. A good leader can be intelligent, but a great leader must be wise!

Jesus displayed a level of godly wisdom in his life and ministry that was rare to say the least. We can trace at least four distinct characteristics of being wise that Jesus displayed. The first of these is understanding. Without true understanding of a circumstance or a person, being wise barely has a chance to see the light of day. The problem here is that it’s far too easy to judge what we don’t understand, and this always produces unwise conclusions. Jesus taught us in Matthew 7 to beware of such uneducated judgment regarding our brother. The consequence for such an action would be to be judged with the same harshness we doled out. Wisdom needs understanding to flourish and understanding needs wisdom to be accurate.

It's rare

There are several other characteristics of wisdom that make it such a sorely needed but rarely-observed commodity in our 21st-century world. Check out our November 1, 2021 podcast, “Is Anyone Listening to the Wisdom of the Bible?” for more. We examine several important scriptural examples. There is breathtaking inspiration in watching someone like King David learn it through hardship - and then live it. There is also heartbreaking sadness in watching his son, King Solomon, attain lofty wisdom only to see it drain away when his priorities became distorted. The highest and most influential wisdom can only be grasped when we center it on the highest godly principles of Scripture. Join us for an enlightening conversation about the life-changing influence wisdom can have. It will be time well-invested!

 

 

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August 02, 2021

Ep.1189: What Is My Battle Plan to Defend Against Satan’s Attacks?

Preparing for Satan’s onslaught’s as we live everyday life

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:33]
What can we learn from the brutal sieges of ancient warfare?


[00:30:25]
How did one unnamed woman disarm a monstrous siege?


[00:45:12]
How do we protect against Satan laying siege to our own minds and breaking through our godly defenses?


Theme Scripture: 2 Samuel 20:15

As Christians, we are constantly faced with the challenge of doing the right thing in a sinful world. We are bombarded with input and suggestions that can easily cloud the simplicity of what the right thing is. Once we get the right thing in focus, the next challenge is to do that right thing the right way. Often, the right way is NOT our natural or preferred approach. The problem? Our handling of what is right in God’s eyes is ALWAYS subject to Satan’s attacks. These attacks can come from external forces, but often his most destructive attacks come from our own fallen thinking and desires. Essentially, Satan can effectively lay siege to our spiritual lives by opening doors to try and accomplish spiritually right things in a humanly sinful way. We need a battle plan to defend against Satan!

Continue Reading

Beware the siege!

In the ancient days of Scripture, laying siege to a city was a long-term conquering strategy against those who lived inside the city walls. This was a loathsome way to be attacked, as it induced isolation and fear. Starvation and loss of life were also expected outcomes from a siege, and not just for those inside the walls. Add in the ramps, tunnels and catapults and you have the makings of what could be a years-long military entanglement. None of this was good.

In an obscure Old Testament account, the peaceful and faithful Jewish city of Abel was besieged by Joab, commander of King David’s own army. The king commanded him to chase down a treasonous man who ended up hiding in the city of Abel. This ill-advised siege was set to produce untold damage destruction and death upon countless innocent people. Had it not been for an unnamed and wise woman stepping in, this story would have ended in tragedy. So, what does all of this have to do with defending against Satan’s attacks? Plenty!

Check out our August 2, 2021 podcast, “What’s My Battle Plan to Defend Against Satan’s Attacks?” for details. We look at this amazing true story and put its profound lessons into an allegory format. What if the main characters and the city in this account could represent our own personal struggles to be faithful to our Christian calling? What if there was a message here for us regarding the quiet yet potent power of God’s spirit in our lives?

Beware attacks from  Satan!

As Christians, we are always striving to be on the side of righteousness in God’s service. While the desire to serve and protect our spiritual calling is vital, it is even more vital to observe how we do this. We often talk about the importance of doing the right things. Unfortunately, we less often focus on doing those right things the right way. Satan is a formidable foe and he WILL use our own self-will and ego to undermine our focus on living a sacrificial Christian life. Join us for this unique story and learn to defend against pursuing God’s will our own way.

 

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Ep.1187: How Can We Overcome Crushing Guilt?

Learning how to face, understand and conquer guilt and shame

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:02]
What if we ask for forgiveness but don't feel forgiven?


[00:34:05]
Guilt is a warning sign - where do shame and regret fit in?


[00:49:04]
How can our faith fight back when we have done the unthinkable?


Theme Scripture: Psalm 32:5

What are we supposed to do?  What do we do when we have done something - either on purpose or by accident - that causes someone excessive harm or loss, or even tragedy? How do we go on, how do we face our family or those we have hurt? How do we live with ourselves? Crushing guilt can bring us into a place of dark and misery-ridden hopelessness. It can make our life feel joyless and pointless. The good news? As Christians, we have access to God through Jesus. While they won’t miraculously lift us out of the mire of crushing guilt, they will, if we let them, give us direction, strength and hope. We just need to be willing to do the necessary work in faith. So, how do we get there from here? We’ll start with the story of someone who has been here and is now walking this difficult road to acceptance.

Continue Reading

A car accident changed everything

Jennifer has been married for almost 20 years and is a mom of four. About five years ago, the trajectory of her life changed when she was in a car accident that took the life of another. Though not criminally negligent, Jennifer did cause the accident. She now must live with the reality of someone’s death happening as a result of something she did. Jennifer is intimately familiar with the overwhelming consequences of crushing guilt.

The first thing we need to know is that we cannot take the consequences of our guilt away. We can try and ignore them.  We can pay them lip service. Or we can even try and redirect the blame for the wrong done away from us. Yes, we can do all these things, but inevitably none of them will help us alleviate our guilt. The only way to productively and decisively manage crushing guilt is to work through it. We need to face it in all of its misery, confusion and hopelessness so we can sort it out.

Her painful story

This is by no means an easy or even a welcome task. On the contrary, the time and effort needed can be daunting. But there is good news! Not only do we have biblical guidance as to how to navigate through this mess, we also have Jennifer and other real current-day examples to help us through. Check out our July 19, 2021 podcast, “How can We Overcome Crushing Guilt?” for more. We listen to Jennifer unfold her journey beginning with the trauma of the accident. She walks us through the stages of growth that brought her to a point of healthy and godly acceptance.

As a backdrop for her story, we look at two Psalms of David written about a specific tragic event in his life. One Psalm tells the story of plowing through the guilt, and the other tells the story of what the victory over guilt looks like. We can overcome the crushing guilt in our lives. Further, we can also learn to pass on the value of our learning experience to others. Don’t miss this opportunity to unlock hope!

 

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Friends usually share common interests, and for David and Jonathan, that was serving the Lord. Have your children watch this short animated video and learn more about David and Jonathan’s friendship and how they served the Lord together. Click here for a free, downloadable children’s activity where kids can color and cut out their own crown to become King David or King Saul!

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July 27, 2020

VIDEO: Who Was King Saul? (Part 2)

Saul was the first king of Israel. He was often disobedient and followed his own ways instead of God’s ways. We can learn from Saul’s example by obeying God, guarding our hearts from jealousy, and avoiding fortune tellers. This short animated video for kids explains more about King Saul!  Be sure to watch “Who Was King Saul? (Part 1).” Click here for a free, downloadable children’s activity where kids can color and cut out their own crown to become King David or King Saul!

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July 19, 2020

VIDEO: Who Was King Saul? (Part 1)

God chose Saul to be the first king of Israel. He started out “little in his own eyes,” but became prideful and disobeyed God many times. Have your kids watch this short animated video to find out more about King Saul. Click here for a free, downloadable children’s activity where kids can color and cut out their own crown to become King David or King Saul!

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July 05, 2020

VIDEO: What is Evil Speaking?

The Bible says the tongue is like a fire – and a fire can be destructive (see James 3:6).  Have your youngsters watch this short animated video to find out more about why the tongue is like a fire!

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June 15, 2020

Ep.1130: How Can I Fight for God’s Purposes Like King David? Warriors of God Series

The process of godly works overcoming our sinful mistakes

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:38]
What steps can we take to avoid temptation?


[00:31:07]
How does David teach us to take care of holy things?


[00:45:12]
How can we prevent getting careless with what God considers holy?


[01:03:31]
How do we react when God doesn't let us do what we want?


Theme Scripture: 1 Chronicles 17:16

David was a hero and anointed to become the king of Israel.  Long before he assumed the throne, he defeated Goliath in battle, contributed to the sovereignty and protection of Israel and faithfully served under King Saul.  All this happened before he was 25 years old.  Though he became a fugitive when King Saul turned on him, he never betrayed the king or God.  Many years later when he finally became king, he was a mighty and God-focused leader.

Continue Reading

This almost sounds like a happily ever after story, but it is not.  David committed some horrible sins along the way that created havoc and cost lives.  His sins are some of the most well-known in all of Scripture!  With so many bad choices, how did David maintain a godly perspective?  How did he continually fight for God’s purposes?  What can we learn from the rollercoaster of David’s life to enhance our attempts to be warriors for God?

David’s faith, courage and fidelity to God had been seriously tested in the many years from the slaying of Goliath to his crowning as king.  The lessons he learned along the way were significant in number and scope.  Once David was king, he led and protected the people of Israel convincingly.  This shepherd/poet turned hero, turned warrior, turned exile, turned king showed his loyalty to God and love for the people at every step.  Things could not have seemed to be any better for Israel and especially for David himself.

Bathsheba

It was then that the subtle trap of power and complacency was sprung.  We all know of the story of David’s sins with Bathsheba.  It's common knowledge how David fell prey to his own desire.  That desire so hideously warped his conscience and loyalty to God.  His fall was epic, and his crawl back to God’s grace and favor was inspiring.

The Ark of the Covenant

We often lose sight of the many other experiences that David had as king.  This is unfortunate, as we can't define a man by a few short periods of his life or one landmark experience.  David’s legacy must include his incredible journey to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Israel.  The Ark represented the presence of God.  As such, needed to be properly restored to its sacred position. This account again reveals David’s profound love for God as well as the mistakes he made in showing that love.

David’s experiences overflow with life-changing lessons.  One of the most spectacular and yet unsung stories of his life was how he uniquely served God near its end. Check out our June 15, 2020 podcast, “How Can I Fight for God’s Purposes Like King David?” for more.  We uncover some amazing details of all these accounts and see their hidden lessons.  Putting this all together, especially with David’s godly end-of-life devotion, really shows us why he was called "a man after God’s own heart."  Listen in and get to know David like you never have before!

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June 15, 2020

VIDEO: How Can I Fight for God’s Purposes Like King David? Warriors of God Series

David’s faith and fidelity to God were continuously tested from the slaying of Goliath to becoming King. Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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June 08, 2020

Ep.1129: How Can I Be a Giant Slayer Like David? Warriors of God Series

The courage, faith and focus of David as a very young man

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CHAPTERS

[00:12:36]
When facing Goliaths in our lives, know the battle is the Lord's.


[00:33:19]
Choosing the right friends can save your life, in more than one way.


[00:46:21]
Godly friendship and loyalty appear in our most difficult moments.


[01:00:10]
With godly friends, you aren't in this alone!


Theme Scripture: 1 Chronicles 14:17

What do you envision when you think of a warrior? Someone engaged in conflict or struggle? A soldier, discipline, a fighter, training, bravery?  King David was one of history’s great warriors. He possessed all of those warrior attributes, and yet he was also a shepherd, poet, musician and songwriter. Tender-hearted and humble, he was faithful and loyal to God, yet guilty of serious breaches of the confidence God had placed in him.  He ascended up to the heights but also descended down to the depths.  He gained Divine approval in many things and also received severe Divine condemnation.  Though he was wholly devoted to God, he also indulged in the sins of the flesh. David’s story is the story of every man, illustrating what God can do with our weaknesses and failures.

Continue Reading

Shepherd - Poet - Warrior - King

The iconic account of David’s journey began when he was a teenager.  From the very first mention of him we see a young man of character.  This young man is chosen to replace the errant King Saul and become the second king of Israel.  You wonder what qualifications he had.  He was a shepherd-poet who had mastered the art of keeping predators away from his sheep with a slingshot.  Well, none of these things qualified him for kingship.  What did make him worthy was his potential.  His heart for God, his faith and his boundless devotion showed a character that could grow into such a massive responsibility.

The story of David growing into a kingly ruler has many chapters.  One of the earliest and most notable of these is the battle with and victory over the giant Goliath.  While we all know the basic story, we generally overlook the hidden truths of how this battle came to be and exactly how David won.  Once you understand the two warring nations and the roles of the main characters, David becomes a man of even greater courage and honor!

A covenant of friendship

Another part of this giant slayer's journey towards kingship had to do with a simple friendship.  David developed a powerful bond of brotherhood with Jonathan, the son of King Saul.  Sounds simple enough until we realize that Saul’s disobedience removed God’s favor from him.  He also knew that David was chosen to replace him.  Saul descended into madness and made David the target of his evil obsession.  How did David survive?  Jonathan’s friendship delivered him.  How did Jonathan remain loyal to his father and to David at the same time?  That is a worthy question!

Check out our June 08, 2020 podcast, “How Can I Be a Giant Slayer Like David?” for more.  We dig into the powerful and mostly unheralded character of Jonathan to find timeless principles of loyalty.  We examine the depths of David’s passion for God.  This passion would grow in him throughout his entire life and be expressed in a myriad of unlikely circumstances.  Grasping David’s unyielding heart for God shows us why he became king.  It also provides a basis for appreciating the hard knocks of kingship we will focus on in the next part of our Warrior Series!

 

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June 08, 2020

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David had a heart for God, faith and courage.  Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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May 25, 2020

VIDEO: Who Was David? (Part 2)

Who was David? (Part 1) we learned that David was a shepherd, prophet, musician, songwriter, army commander, and finally, king of Israel.  Have your kids watch this short animated video to learn even more about David. Click here for a free, downloadable children’s activity where kids can color and cut out their own crown to become King David or King Saul!

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