Lukewarm Christianity. It was a phrase I heard often growing up in the church. It’s described in the book of Revelation where God speaks to the church of Laodicea:
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” – Revelation 3:15-17 (NLT)
He goes on to tell them that true wealth, health and happiness come from Him alone – rather than things of this world.
Paul tells believers in Ephesians 6 to wear the belt of truth. In our culture, however, truth is relative. Your truth and my truth can completely contradict one another. Not only is this type of thinking considered okay, it is actually encouraged. Our culture even has a polite, socially acceptable word for it – tolerance.
Purity is almost a laughable trait in today’s world, yet the Bible commands us as believers to live a life of purity and holiness as we strive to serve God. How does one remain pure when the world’s standards are so contrary to Scripture? It almost seems impossible, but there is hope when we allow God to transform our hearts and minds.
Growing up in the church, I have been taught numerous times about the armor of God. In the book of Ephesians, Paul warns believers to be prepared for battle. He lays out a detailed list of armor that we as Christians should “put on” as we prepare for war. As a kid, I understood the mental image, but I never fully understood what this armor meant until I was older and faced the battle in a very real way.
Are you called to be single? If someone had asked me that during my single years, I probably would have responded with, “I sure hope not!” I was one of those little girls who played house. I grew up dreaming of the day I would find my knight in shining armor and we would raise a family together. It would be perfect.
Divorce has long been a difficult topic in the church. In our culture today, nearly everyone has been affected by it one way or another. We all know someone, whether it be a family member or close friend, who has experienced the pain of a broken marriage. Or maybe you have experienced divorce first-hand. If so, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how messy and hurtful it can be.
I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
When the Lord would address His people, He would often remind them of all He had done for them. The phrase, “I am the Lord your God who…” is repeated countless times in the Old Testament. The Israelites didn’t simply know Him as “God.” They knew Him as the God who had rescued them, who had been merciful to them, who had provided for them in the desert, and who had conquered their enemies.
Does Christianity have a future? I recently read an article asking that very question. Our world is rapidly changing. We are taught to question everything. And everyone wants proof. Does God exist? Are the stories of the Bible real? Was Jesus truly who He claimed to be?
Unfortunately, tangible proof is hard to come by when it comes to Christianity. Our faith is just that – faith. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of historical evidence for Christ, the Bible, the early church, etc. But there is also a lot of controversy. This also doesn’t take into account the very existence of God. For many, the God of the Bible is simply a fairy tale. Everyone has their reasons for skepticism, but in the end it usually comes down to a lack of proof. We can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that God exists. (On the flip side of that, we also can’t prove that He doesn’t…)
Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl who dreamed of becoming a princess. She had a good heart and was kind to all. As fate would have it, she unexpectedly discovered a handsome prince. Upon meeting, they fell in love and lived happily ever after. The end.
I am the mother of two beautiful little girls. Needless to say, our home is filled with all things princess. They know these stories forwards and backwards. On the surface, the fairy tales seem pretty innocent. They can even be empowering. They teach young girls that kindness and love pay off in the end, that true beauty comes from within, and that every girl can indeed become a princess. These are all good things – right?
What is it that makes us feel entitled? We must be born with this tendency. This past week, my toddlers have gone out of their way to try to prove this point. The word “mine” is literally ringing in my ears. They both feel that everything belongs to them personally and that they are free to do as the wish with their things. If they want or need something, they expect the world to stop and cater to them. I would like to say that this type of behavior is something we all eventually outgrow, but I fear that we as adults simply find new “socially acceptable” ways of acting like toddlers.
One of my favorite things about running is that the results are tangible. Growth can easily be measured by time and distance. Just five months ago, I competed in my first half marathon. This weekend, I will be racing in my second. I can’t begin to tell you how different it is training for this race versus my last one.
In my first half marathon, my goal was simply to finish. When beginning my training, 13.1 miles seemed like an incredible distance…one that seemed nearly impossible. I achieved my goal, but not without my fair share of physical and mental exhaustion. It was hard. Not to say that training for my second half marathon has been easy, but it has certainly proven to be less exhausting. 13.1 miles doesn’t seem quite as daunting this time around. Continue Reading
No one enjoys feeling weak or vulnerable, yet it is inevitable to feel this way at some point. We all feel small sometimes… especially when it seems like the cards are stacked against us. When it came time for the Israelites to finally enter the Promised Land, God commanded Moses to send 12 spies into the land to survey the scene. After forty days, the men brought their reports back to the Israelites. Needless to say, there were mixed reviews.The land was exactly as God had promised. It truly flowed with milk and honey, and it was everything the Israelites could ever need or want. There was just one problem… they would have to fight for it. Continue Reading
I believe with all of my heart that the greatest love story ever told is the one between God and man. It amazes me that an all-knowing, perfect God would go to such great lengths to be with me. God chose to look beyond my mess to see who I could become in Him. He endured the cross, even as I was unfaithful and lost in sin. In my own human strength, I could never imagine loving someone as unconditionally as God loves me. But God’s Word tells me that I can love others in the same way because God (who is love) lives in me. Continue Reading
Everything God does is for our own good, and the Bible says that He is quick to forgive. We live in a culture, however, that is self-absorbed, loves to argue, and is quick to burn bridges when it comes to hurt and offense. So when Jesus taught us to love others the way He loves us, He was calling us to something radical, something completely counter-cultural. Continue Reading
Paul begins his definition of true love in 1 Corinthians 13 by telling us what love is… patient and kind. He goes on to tell us, however, what love isn’t. There are four things that can and will destroy love if given the chance. Allowing these “weeds” to take root in our hearts and minds may not seem like a big deal, but they can easily become major problems in our lives if we allow them to grow. Continue Reading