Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What is your soul-appetite?

Whatever one eats reveals the internal appetite of his/her stomach. It reveals what the person was thinking about in terms of food, what the person was desiring to satisfy their hunger cravings.

It seems that the same could be said of the soul -- the immaterial part of humanity where the will, mind, and emotions reside. Whatever one feeds into his/her soul reveals the desires of one's mind and heart. Then, it begins a cycle -- the more we feed it that "thing", usually the "more" we desire that "thing".

And, certainly, there is an internal battle going on for the Christian. We've been "born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead". We've been "quickened" by the Spirit of God from being "spiritually dead". And, yet there is still a "tendency" for our souls to crave the "passions of our former ignorance", that is our life without God and apart from God's supernatural intervention. God, in his great work, gives us a "new heart" with God-directed desires and impulses through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Yet again, there is a battle for the feeding of our soul -- that which is "soul-nourishing" vs. "soul-desensitizing" and ultimately "soul-destroying".

Think about the chemical reactions in the brain when we eat sugar -- think Krispy Kreme donuts. Yeah, when the "hot donuts now" sign is lit. When you eat just one...there is a chemical reaction in your brain that says, "give me more, give me more!" If you keep eating the donuts, what happens...you have to eat more to get your "sugar fix" -- it's the exact same thing for a drug addict...same part of the brain, same chemical reaction. Continuing to eat "sugar" foods in this manner will begin to destroy one's appetite for things that are healthy and good for one's physical body.

If we feed our souls "spiritual junk food", our soul will begin to "crave" more and more of that "spiritual junk food" -- like a sugar craving in the brain. We might still "live", but we are desensitizing and destroying our soul and it's desire for the spiritual food that our soul truly needs -- the food of God's Word.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Stable Faith

I was listening to John MacArthur preach the other day. He was preaching on spiritual stability and the elements of a spiritually stable Christian. In part 5 of his series, he preaching on "Godly Thinking". Here is something he said that hit home:

"Bill Hull, in a book entitled Right Thinking written in 1985, writes, “What scares me is the anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking philosophy that has spilled over into the church.  This philosophy tends to romanticize the faith, making the local church into an experience center.  Their concept of church is that they are spiritual consumers and that the church’s job is to meet their felt needs,” end quote.  And what is happening in the church is that people are going to church not to think, not to reason about the truth, not like the noble Bereans to search the Scriptures to see what is true, but they’re going there to get a weekly spiritual fix, a weekly spiritual high, so they can feel that God is still with them.  They are spiritually unstable because they live on feeling rather than on thinking. 

The Christian must not be a victim of his feelings.  He must not get caught in a pragmatic trap of does-it-work/is-it-successful.  John Stott has written in his helpful little book, Your Mind Matters, this:  “Indeed, sin has more dangerous effects on our faculty of feeling than on our faculty of thinking because our opinions are more easily checked and regulated by revealed truth than are experiences,” end quote.  Very wise statement."

A stable faith can be attained as our minds are renewed in the truth (Romans 12:1-2) of God's Word. It's not that "feelings" are unimportant, but they are so fickle and unstable that we must not let them drive the care of our lives.

Just something to think about...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Spiritual Warfare: Behind the Scenes

I was listening to Alistair Begg this afternoon, and he was talking about spiritual warfare. He was cautioning his listeners about sensationalizing demonic activity and such. And, it got me to thinking about the forces of darkness and evil that are at play in the world today.

The Christian has 3 enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Satan, who has sway over this world system, the age in which we live, (1 John 5:19), promotes the things that belong to the spirit of this age (one that is antagonistic to God & his rule) in order to entice the flesh to take the bait of temptation.

Then, I thought about Galatians 5 and the works of the flesh versus the fruit of the Spirit. Paul writes, "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

So, I have come to a working conclusion: whenever and wherever any of these "works of the flesh" are promoted or manifested, it is the work of the enemy, directly or indirectly, working subtly behind the scenes to destroy the soul of the individual, to lure the believer away from usefulness in the kingdom, and/or hinder the forward progress of the church in advancing the kingdom of God through the Great Commission. If these things are present in one's life, it is certain that, on some level in those moments, that person is being influenced more by Satanic and worldly values than godly ones. If the pattern of a person's life is characterized by these "works of the flesh", it, at the very least, calls into question that person's profession of faith.

Now, the interesting part - applying this to daily living.

More to come...

Monday, January 2, 2017


In the Christian world, there is no shortage of "devotionals". The intended purpose of devotionals is to supplement one's time in the scriptures. They are never intended to be a substitute for one's direct contact with God's Word through some kind of daily reading & studying. Some people use devotionals like the old adage that says, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"----we change it a bit----"a verse a day keeps the devil away". Yeah, it really doesn't work that way.

Now, having said that, some devotionals are better than others. Most devotionals take one or two verses of scripture, and then, tell a story or attempt to give some application of that verse to real-life. Some devotionals do a good job of this; some of them do not. The devotionals that give the meaning of the verse in it's proper biblical context and then give an application point for the verse are best, in my opinion. Having the whole biblical context of the verse or verses is best. The reason: if you miss the meaning of the verse in it's proper biblical context, you will miss the right application of the verse to real-life. You see, many devotional writers do not do the work of interpretation before writing their "devotional thought"-------however, some do (please hear me say that).

So, use devotionals, but use them discerningly. And, if the devotional only uses one or two verses, take a few extra minutes, look up the verse in your Bible and read the surrounding verses to get a better understanding of what the author of the devotion is doing. 

Here are a few authors that not only help apply the Bible to real-life, but also have the solid ground behind their application of the verses: John MacArthur's Truth for Today or Alone with God; John Piper's Solid Joys or A Godward Life; DA Carson's For the Love of God (this one is part of a year-long Bible reading plan); Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest.

There are others out there. Find a good one, use it; but, remember, they should not be a substitute for direct contact with God's Word...let them supplement your time in God's Word.