When facing hard decisions, do you pay attention to your conscience? And is it necessarily wise to trust this inner voice?
God gave everyone an internal sense of right and wrong. In fact, reflecting His truth inwardly is one way that He reveals Himself to mankind. The conscience is a divine alarm system that warns us of oncoming danger or consequences. Its primary purpose is protection and guidance.
Perhaps you’ve seen a TV show in which a distracted person is about to step in front of a moving vehicle. Then suddenly another character races onto the scene, tackling him to prevent a catastrophe. Stunned and indignant, the near-victim fumes and swats at his rescuer—that is, until realizing he has just been saved from a far worse outcome. What at first seemed like a bad thing turns out to be very good.
The believer’s path toward a hardened heart can start innocently enough—it’s easy for us to become preoccupied with things that have little or no spiritual value. Once our focus is diverted from God, it doesn’t take much for the preoccupation to take up greater amounts of time. The diversion can become so consuming that we end up ignoring matters of importance to the Lord.
Everyone experiences difficulty in life. During painful times, we may feel as though God is not blessing us. But even then, we are experiencing many of His amazing gifts, despite the fact that they might be escaping our notice.
What would it take for you to consider yourself rich? Would it require a healthy bank account? A fancy new car in the garage? The freedom to go online, click a few buttons, and have anything you want delivered right to your door?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Today’s passage instructs us, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). That directive might seem easy when life is going well. But if painful situations arise, expressing gratitude can become difficult.
One of the earliest truths a child learns in Sunday school is that God is good. The simplicity of these three words masks the depth of such a remarkable attribute of the Lord. He is absolutely perfect and holy, which means that He alone is the standard of all righteousness. And since the expression of the Father’s goodness is revealed in His actions, all that He does is just and right, because He cannot violat... Read more
1 John 1:9
At times people are bound by guilt long after the feeling should have been resolved. For some, this is appropriate because they refuse to give up the sin that brought it on. Others suffer the weight of false guilt because they harbor shame that doesn’t belong to them. Whatever the root cause of your self-condemnation, the battle plan remains the same.
Guilt over doing something that violates the conscience is a normal emotion. However, living under a cloud of remorse for no discernible reason is not. The Lord designed feelings of culpability and regret to serve as a reminder that a person has done wrong and needs to repent. But Satan twists those emotions to imprison men and women: Those living in shame often lack self-confidence and feel uncertain of God’... Read more
The gospel’s effectiveness is greatly hindered by Christians who act differently at church than they do elsewhere. The way we live for God should permeate all areas of life. The workplace is no exception.
Have you ever considered what a wonderful gift speech is? When God created us, He gave us a voice and a language so we could communicate. With our tongues we can praise and glorify God, teach His Word, pray, and express encouragement and loving devotion to one another.
However, our voices also have the power to hurt.
How tempting it is to think we need very little improvement. Ask around, and you’ll hear many people concede they could probably use a little bit of “maintenance” on one or two problem areas, but preferably without being caused any discomfort. Yet most will add, “But I’m a good person.” Don’t be fooled—the Father refuses to settle for humanity’s meager vision of “good enough.”
Immediately after teaching His followers to pray, Jesus gave a warning about allowing unforgiveness to reside in the heart. He said that those who refuse to forgive others won’t be forgiven by the Father.
Victory is God’s will for the life of a believer. But sometimes we can find ourselves repeatedly falling into the same sin. As a result, our prayer life is marked by broken promises to end wrongdoing. We tell the Lord that we yearn to do what is right, but often our desire wanes when virtue is no longer convenient, pleasurable, or profitable. Many believers become angry with God for withholding the victory... Read more
Loneliness will creep into every life at some point. But believers are never truly alone because God has given us a permanent companion—the Holy Spirit. He is the Helper who is with us forever.
The idea of applying biblical principles is often misunderstood. It’s not simply a process of hear, believe, apply—as if one were putting on a new doctrine like a borrowed overcoat. Two steps are missing between believe and apply: explore and discover. To explore a biblical principle means studying Scripture to understand what the surrounding context is, what the principle means for us, and what it revea... Read more
I bought my grandchildren a new toy. After a brief glance at the directions, I set the booklet aside and got busy building. A few frustrating hours later, I humbly opened the instructions again and followed the steps to put the toy together. Soon I was done, and the grandkids were playing happily.
If you are not involved in a discipleship relationship, then you are missing out on one of life's greatest gifts. Scripture often gives examples of this relationship: Jesus is accountable to the Father (John 8:28-29), the church is subject to Christ (Eph. 5:24), and Paul felt answerable to the church at Antioch (Acts 14:27). When we have someone with whom we can share our failures, weaknesses, successes, and deep longings, we b... Read more