Don’t Just Read It. Consider Its Content

As an author, I am often giving and receiving book recommendations and being asked my opinion about other authors’ books.

I try to be very careful what I recommend particularly to young adults and am often surprised what other people will recommend to me. The content of a book matters a lot to me, I think because as a writer I recognized that stories have the power to teach me things, whether I intended to learn from them or not. For me a good story can’t just be engaging, it also has to have a good message.

However, messages in books come in all shapes and sizes, which is probably why a lot of people don’t really even realize they are there.

Recently, I have been reading a famous series of books. If I mentioned its name, you would recognize it, but my point in this post is not to draw attention to this series but rather to draw attention to what is often missed when people criticize or praise something without fully considering its content. 

I avoided this series of books for years because of Christians warning me about the occult content in these books. The more time I’ve spent talking to readers though, the more often I have also encounter Christians who have read these books and think they are great. 

Personally, I didn’t care if I read these books and probably would have gone on happily having never read them. But the questions and conversations surrounding them were becoming more and more prevalent around me. Left in the dark and unable to respond in contradiction or support, I finally decided to read for myself what some people despised and other people praised. 

What I found astonished me. Yes, they were full of the occult, which honestly should concern any Christian parent, however, as disturbing as the occult aspects of this series are, these aspects are far from the only concerning elements.

Yet amazingly over the years the occult content was the only argument I heard against these books. Christians were either fixated on this issue and determined to hate the books. Or Christians had excused this issue saying the books were dealing with make-believe concepts in a fantasy realm and had embraced and enjoyed these books.

I would say that both sides missed so many other aspects that should have been mentioned about this series.

Remember how I said earlier that messages in books come in all shapes and sizes? Well, in this series, the messages of the occult are the blatant ones (blatant content is much more easily and consciously accepted or rejected), but the more subtle and far more subversive messages in these books are those which imply adults are often just fools, children are the smart ones in the room. Disobeying, breaking the rules, lying, deceiving, etc., are all acceptable and even the right thing to do as long as you’re intending to save the day. And if you do get caught, no worries, it’s just a slap on the wrist, never anything too serious. So go ahead and keep at it, because you’re the heroes and heroes are good, even when they aren’t. These were some of the messages I found.

Now, I’m not telling you the title of this series (though, I’m sure some of you have some strong hunches) because, again, my point in this post is not about this particular series but the fact that we as Christians need to notice and evaluate the big picture elements of a story AND the small content elements that are often actually far more insidious.

Challenge: No matter what it is you are reading, don’t just read it. Consider its content, so that you don’t excuse or condemn a big issue while completely over looking dozens of small ones. And always keep in mind that a non-Christian’s blatantly religious content isn’t the only thing that teaches the principles of their worldview.

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Are We Giving the Best of Ourselves to God?

Have you every noticed how lots of people call themselves Christians (Christ-Followers), and yet looking at their lives, it’s very hard to see anything or any part of themselves that they’ve actually giving to God?

For some people being a “Christian” is just a title that depicts a culture. They grew up stepping through the door of a church and probably prayed the Sinner’s Prayer, but when it comes down to what they have given to the LORD, the answer is little to nothing.

For others the title “Christian” has a bit more weight. They are attending church regularly because they are dedicated to being a “Christian,” but as soon as they step outside the church doors no one would be able to tell them apart from the non-Christians around them. They are choosing to make a sacrifice to God, but it’s not the sacrifice He is asking them to make nor is it the best sacrifice they could make. 

In the last book of the Old Testament, God addresses the issue of the people’s mindset toward sacrifice and tells them what He thinks of them giving the things they don’t want and no one else wants.

“You offer defiled food on My altar, . . . And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? . . . ” Malachi 1:7-8

They were seeing their sacrifices like something they were simply checking off a to-do list, not as something they were giving to an all-powerful God. They were not valuing the requests of God nor showing respect to Him.

As Christians sometimes I think we do the same thing. We do the acts of Christianity with minimal effort or even disregard because we have forgotten exactly Who it is we serve.

I think in a lot of ways we view sacrifice as a loss. Thus when we go to give something as a sacrifice to God we try to find something that will cost us the least amount to give. But what would it be like if all Christians were giving their best to God? What if instead of seeing sacrifice as a loss, we instead saw it as an expression of love on both sides? What if instead of giving one hour a week to God, all Christians were giving their whole lives? And I’m not talking in the sense of becoming a pastor or a missionary, what I am talking about is the way we act throughout the week by Who we serve, not just one hour on Sunday but, during every hour of our week.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

What if we stopped seeing sacrifice as simply dead animals consumed by heavenly flames and started seeing them instead from the perspective of giving what we have to an all-powerful God who is worthy of our best gifts because He gave us His best gift? What if we saw sacrifice like the two fish of a lad who gave them to the Teacher who reached out and touched them with a heavenly power?

“Then [Jesus] took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.” Luke 9:16

It doesn’t say here that the fragments were of leftover fish (in fact in Mark it only mentions the leftover bread). So it’s possible this lad completely sacrificed his fish. Do you think he went home feeling like he’d suffered a loss by giving his fish to Jesus?

Challenge: Be the kind of Christian who gives the best of yourself to God, and see what happens. : ) 

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Failing at Taming the Tongue?

Have you ever struggled with trying to control your tongue? Are you currently struggling with taming your tongue?  I know I have and still am.  Writing this post both challenged and encouraged me in this regard. I hope it will do the same for you.

I think sometimes we read James 3:8 “ . . . no man can tame the tongue” and instead of reading further and receiving the encouraging instruction this comment is meant to lead us to, we instead just take this statement as an explanation/excuse for the unkind, unruly, and evil words coming out of our mouths and being typed out by our fingers. What else does James say though about the tongue?

“[The tongue] is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the [likeness] of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” James 3:8-12

What is James getting at here? Well, first off, he’s shifting the conversation from what is being produced (the good or bad words) to the source behind what is being produced by our tongues.

 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:13-18

I think what James is saying is that we think in our human wisdom that we can live in envy, evil, and self-seeking and not have that impact what comes out of our mouths. But that which is sourcing us will become evident in our words. Therefore, in order to bear good fruit (speak in a way that is good) we need to be sourced by Him who is good.

We aren’t going to be successful taming our tongues. But by changing the source behind our tongues from our own earthly wisdom to the wisdom of God, we will be allowing Him to change our heart and consequently what comes out of our mouths.

Challenge: When next you find your tongue or fingers about to say something you shouldn’t say, pause and ask yourself if you are sourcing your words from your own wisdom (the wisdom of the world) or God’s wisdom. When we are continually seeking God’s righteous wisdom as our source it will bear the fruit of peace in our words.

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Being Part of Community

Suspension Bridge Manhattan

More and more I have begun to realize how much the loss of community has impacted me and those around me. Don’t get me wrong, I have not been isolated. I shop, go to church, etc. So what I’m talking about is not the loss of people. Rather what I mean is the loss of the healthy interactions of people who share a similar setting.

We’ve been taught in the last year and a half to be so afraid of others that we have lost even the simple pleasure of polite social interaction.

It’s become exceedingly difficult to be perceived as polite or kind, because what one person would consider acts of kindness, like smiling at someone, helping them reach an item on a high store shelf, handing back to them something they’ve dropped, inviting them over for dinner, etc. might very possibly be considered by someone else to be acts that violate their personal safety.

Basically, all the guidelines of community that used to help us navigate this realm in a good and healthy way have been redefined or completely stripped away by rules that imply we just shouldn’t be in community at all. This reality is very discouraging to me, particularly since the truth is that health is so much more than just not catching a virus. 

We all want “health” but that is a difficult reality to quantify, because what does it really look like to be healthy? Currently our world wants to define health as us not being sick with a virus that might kill us. But what about all the other things that make up our health? What about mental health? Spiritual health? Emotional health? Physical health? And social health?

This is from under the heading Social Health.

“Formal consideration of social healthwas stimulated in 1947 by its inclusion in the World Health Organization’s definition of health, and by the resulting emphasis on treating patients as social beings who live in a complex social context. Social health has also become relevant with the increasing evidence that those who are well integrated into their communities tend to live longer and recover faster from disease. Conversely, social isolation has been shown to be a risk factor for illness. Hence, social health may be defined in terms of social adjustment and social support—or the ability to perform normal roles in society.”  (Emphasis added)  ~Ian McDowell~ Encyclopedia of Public Health, Social Health

Notice the last comments above about social health being defined by social support? As human beings we need community, and not just in the sense of being around people but in the sense of being with people who are our social support. People who are able and willing to help bear the weight with us.

When something is built, there are many elements to its support system. Alone each of those pieces would fail to hold up, but by supporting each other and working together they carry the weight of all kinds of amazing and diverse structures.

However, I feel like when I look around today, what I am seeing are huge amounts of structural damage happening on a daily if not hourly basis, but honestly I don’t think it’s the political decisions or current weather that is actually doing this damage. I think it is the choices that individuals are making to disband support systems and/or remove themselves from the support systems around them. 

We need community. This is a reality that secular health systems acknowledge and that God spoke to from the very beginning of humanity. 

“And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” Genesis 2:18

All people need community, even normal healthy good people. God gave us community to help us be healthy and stay healthy.

Even Moses while leading the people of Israel recognized that he needed the support of a community.

“‘I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.’ . . .So the LORD said to Moses: ‘Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you.  . . . they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.’” Numbers 11:14-17

When Jesus sends out His disciples, He did so by twos. They could have covered more ground alone, but Jesus sends them out with the support of a community member.

“And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two . . .”  Mark 6:7

“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.” Luke 10:1

We are not meant to live, lead, or minister alone. We are meant to be part of a community. So the question I have of myself and of you is: how are we doing in this regard? Are we being part of a support system? Are we seeking support ourselves? It’s hard both to be support for others and to seek support of others. But when community functions as it should, it does not display weakness but rather the strength of mutual support and encouragement.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25

Challenge: Take the steps to bring about social health for yourself and others. Seek support and help support others this week, then do the same the following week, and the week after that . . . because community matters!

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What Does the Lord Ask of Us?

Many of the smaller books in the Bible written by prophets are addressing the sinful behavior of people and how God is asking them to repent (turn back to Him). These are often words that make clear where the people stand and where they are headed if they do not change their ways. 

What is interesting is that these people were usually still doing religious things, but instead of pursuing God, they were trying to “deal with” their sin in their own way. We read a lot in the Old Testament about sacrifices, but often we miss the point of what those sacrifices to God actually represent.

When we think of the sacrifices themselves as what the LORD is asking of us, we could end up very confused by passages like those we find in Micah 6.

“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” Micah 6:6-7

Weren’t sacrifices for sin something God asked the people to do? Yes. Was this the list of sacrifices asked for? No. Then why is Micah bringing up this list? Well, because it seems like the people are more concerned with what they are offering than why they are doing the sacrifice in the first place. In what context were they to be making sacrifices?

Sacrifices were about an acknowledgment of sin and an expression of knowing that their sin was wrong, that there is a cost to sin, and that they were in need of seeking God’s forgiveness and payment for that sin in order to receive cleansing from their sin. Sacrifice was a symbol of the death they knew they deserved and the life giving on their behalf, which would eventually be Jesus Christ on the cross. But this was not how the people were treating sacrifices. We see how they were treating sacrifice by reading just a little further in Micah.

Shall I [the LORD] count pure those with the wicked scales, and with the bag of deceitful weights? For her rich men are full of violence, her inhabitants have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.” Micah 6:11

The people wanted the sacrifices they’re making to God to mean that they didn’t need to change their ways but would have insurance against judgement. This is vary similar to how a lot of people these days view the “Sinner’s Prayer” (Claiming Jesus as the sacrifice for sin). People want their insurance against Hell, but meanwhile they don’t have any desire to chance the way they are living. They want to be considered pure even though they are not. This reminds me of the passage in Romans 6 where Paul talks about what it means to be offered and to live out the Salvation we have received through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:1-4

Micah challenged the people’s “hell insurance” type of thinking in the Old Testament time as well with these words:

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

God has shown us what is good. We are not in a position where it is impossible for us to know good and bad. In fact our position is that we have been shown what is good. We know what we should be doing.

To do justly. In order to “do justly” we have to first understand justice, which means knowing right and wrong, which is what God has already shown us. When we look to God, we will then be able to clearly see our sin and the world’s sin, we will then have to know what actually will happen in regard to that sin. Which means knowing that before God we are all deserving of death. It also means dealing with all true and false situations via knowing and acknowledging the truth and dealing rightly with those situations were there is falsehood and wrong happening.

To love mercy. In order to “love mercy” we have to understand what mercy is. We have to know what it means to be deserving of punishment and yet receive the compassion and forgiveness of our God. We have to have accepted this act of God in our lives in a way that produces that same desire within ourselves toward others.

To walk humbly with your God. In order to walk with God “humbly” we have to desire to be in submission to God. In other words we are choosing to be in a position lower than Him where we are yielding to His authority, His rules, His leadership, His justice, His mercy, His desires, etc. Because the moment we step outside of who God is and start to decide things for ourselves, we are going to get off track. Because by ourselves, we do not know good, we will not be able to produce justice, we will not love mercy, nor will we be interested in humbly seeking any of these things from God.

New life is ours to walk out, but only through dying to ourselves and living in Christ.

In the same way in the Old Testament sacrifices were a symbol of what needed to take place in a spiritual sense inside us and in a very real sense with the payment of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, so too is the “Sinner’s Prayer” a symbol of what needs to take place in a spiritual sense inside us and in a very real sense with us accepting what it means to live out Christ’s death on the cross in our lives. 

Challenge: Don’t admire and invest in the symbol when it is what the symbol represents that is what really matters. 

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

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How Do You Make the Journey?

Maybe you noticed and maybe you haven’t, but it’s been almost a month since I last posted. Considering my history of posting weekly this was a bit of a shift for me. I thought about letting you all know that I would be absent for a while, but I realized basically I would have just been posting to tell you that I wasn’t going to be posting. I decided instead to just explain when I showed back up, particularly since I wasn’t sure when that would be.

As most of you know, I am not just a blogger, I am also a Christian young adult fiction writer. Last year 2020, I launched my 2nd published fiction book entitled The Tournament’s Price. It’s the first book in a series, and I definitely left the reader at a cliff hanger. So over the last year and a half, I have been working hard writing the second book The Rebel’s Mark.

The plan was to have The Rebel’s Mark, done, published, and in hand by the 2021 conference season, which for me starts in June this year. Unfortunately the best laid plans don’t always work out the way we want. Have you ever been frustrated that your plans weren’t working? Have you ever put in all the effort on all the days and still not reached your goal? Have you ever been tempted at that point to quit? Over the last several months, I certainly have been.

I’ve come to the conclusion more and more that writing is a lot like inventing. You have this thing in your head you want to create, but it’s never been done before. There is no label telling you it will require this set of skills, this many tools, and this many hours. Instead it’s a blank page, an imagined story, and a word count you are hoping to reach at the right point.

A lot of things God asks us to do in life don’t have a box with a clear picture of the results, a label telling us exactly how to do it, or a displayed timeframe of exactly how long it will take us. It can feel frightening and overwhelming when we don’t know what it will cost us or how much. But the question is, do we trust the He who has given us the assignment will be faithful to help us?

Trial and error in writing is a big part of the process, and it eats up a lot of hours. I often joke in frustration about feeling like Edison during his light bulb experiments. “Well, today I found one more way not to write this scene.”

Edison didn’t count his experiments that didn’t produce a working light bulb as failures. I find this fascinating, because it’s really easy for us to think of time spent without reaching a desired result as “wasted time” and those experiments that didn’t reach our desired results as “failures.” Maybe the results we encounter aren’t the exact ones we wanted. But are we allowing God to direct our steps and teach us along the way so that we get to the results that He wants, or do we quit because we don’t have the results we wanted when we want them? 

At times I can be a bit of an efficiency freak. So you can imagine I like the concept of the shortest path between two points being a straight line. However, what if the shortest path isn’t actually the best path? Mountain roads come to mind. These seem so inefficient, however, going straight up a mountain is not just extremely difficult, it also means that your only focus along the way is on the top of the mountain. Which means you miss all the incredible vistas that you could have been enjoying along the way, and when we miss the beauty of the climb, we tend to have trouble sharing that beauty with other people. Some people call these the confessions of faith. The moments we paused and get to speak about what God has done. 

I honestly think this is a big part of why God commanded us to take a Sabbath. I think Sabbath is like the overlooks on those mountain roads. A moment to pause and remember who you serve and to tell people why you are making the journey.

“Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD.”  Exodus 31:15

“And [Jesus] said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’” Mark 2:27

I wanted to get my second book done, since by my calculations I was way behind schedule, but every time I tried to work faster, I would get stalled out. Extremely frustrated I asked God what in the world was going on. Over the next several days He began pointing out all these things that I had been overlooking. Slowing down meant that I had to take a second look and see things in a new light. Have you ever had times where God has brought you to a stand still in order to show you things you have been missing?

Long story short. I shifted my focus from the top of the mountain and from scrambling to get everything done, to instead looking at the journey and figuring out what God wanted me doing. I spent the last month finishing up The Rebel’s Mark, and I was able to send it out to beta readers last Monday.

It has been a very long journey, at least by my standards. And it’s not over yet. The project won’t be published when I hoped it would. It doesn’t look like I wanted it to look. And there is still a lot of work yet to be done, but I didn’t quit. I am confident God has and will continue to help me along the way. And I think I have learned better how to see God in the moments of delays and to pause and look to the vista of what God has already done and bring that beauty into my life and work. 

Challenge: Pause and remember to see what God has done and is doing. The time He takes and is encouraging you to take at the overlook is not “wasted” time!

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The Word Resurrection

I did a Blue Letter Bible search of the word resurrection because I was interested to know where else it is used. What I found is that the word resurrection is used only in the New Testament. Did you know that the word Resurrection only occurred in the NT? This surprised me and got me thinking if this word is only in the NT where and how then in the Old Testament do we get the background to the word resurrection?

There are actually many places, but one that stuck out most of all to me, particularly in regard to Easter, is this verse in Psalms in which David talks about himself and the Messiah.

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” ~ Psalm 16:9~

Many more verses in the Old Testament build the background to the word Resurrection. We find passages that talk about Heaven like Psa 103:19 and passages that talk about people being sent to Sheol and other people who will be delivered from Sheol (the pit)(Hell) like those passages below.

“Let death seize them; let them go down alive into hell, for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them. As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me.” ~Psalm 55:15~

“For great is Your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.” ~Psalm 86:13~

We also have stories in the OT of people who were dead but who were brought back to life again. (2 Kings 4:35, 2 Kings 13:21).

All the concepts and background of resurrection are there, they just aren’t referred to by the word  resurrection.

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Palm Sunday and All of Jesus

As Christians when we interact with others are we being Jesus to them or are we being just a moment in Jesus’s life? Because in the same way we need to be careful to not use one verse in the Bible to base our theology on, we also need to be careful to take all of Jesus’s life into account when we consider what it means to be a Christian.

After Jesus’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, Jesus goes into the temple and finds buyers and sellers in the temple. His response is to do something that is completely righteous but this action could be considered by some to be harsh and judgmental particularly if this was all we saw of this moment in Jesus’s life.

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” ~Matthew  21:12-13~

If we put this into the proper context of the temple being a place of worship and that none of these people, who are corrupting the purpose of the temple and the sacrificial system, weren’t supposed to be selling inside the temple at all, we see this as a righteous actions on Jesus’s part to remove wrongful occupants of the temple.

However, if we looked at it from the perspective of one of those vendors (who clearly does not desire knowledge of God), who is trying to make their living and who has possibly been selling in the temple for months, maybe even years, and suddenly this person who again from the vendor’s perspective has no authority to come in and drive them out of their place of business, then this whole interaction might seem completely unloving and outrageous. 

A similar problem occurs when people look at Christian’s response to sin. Without the proper context a completely righteous action can come off looking very outrageous to those who are unable to see from the knowledge of God. They also at times are missing the rest of the picture, because what does Jesus do next? Does He just keep everyone out of the temple because no one should be in it? No, He doesn’t. In the very next verse, who do we find coming into the temple now that the sellers have been driven out?

Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” ~Matthew  21:14~

Jesus’s next action after judgement is an invitation to those in need. He drove out those trying to corrupt the meaning of the temple, and He invited in those who were in need of what the temple has to offer: a way to God’s grace and mercy.

Similarly when Christians interact with others this expression of righteousness should never be made so that all are found wanting, but rather so that there is space for the invitation that comes next to be made and received. Too often though as Christians we forget to clean our own house, and we forget to make the invitation to those in need. Instead we’re too busy telling people that their ways don’t belong in the church. It’s an expression of “righteousness” without anything else, no invitation, no offer of salvation. 

But on the flip-side, we as Christians can also end up being all about love and forget that without first taking the time to drive out the falseness, lies, and corruption within the spiritual system, there is no room or ability to truly or rightly welcome in those who are in need of and desiring what the temple is supposed to be there to offer them. These are the Christians who spend their time accepting the buyer’s and sells while welcoming the blind and the lame too, but because these Christians have no grasp of righteousness there is no capacity to actually point them to true healing, because the “acceptance” they have offered everyone and everything has filled the temple with falsehood, lies, and spiritual corruption.

Righteousness says: This is the standard. (Tells people they are broken)

Love says: You are cared about. (Tells people they are loved in their brokenness)

Grace says: You can’t meet the standard and because I care about you and the truth, I am here to introduce you to Jesus, who can make you whole.

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” ~Matthew 9:13~

In the same way the temple needed Jesus in it and sin removed in order for true help and healing to occur, we as Christians need Jesus in us and sin removed from our lives in order for true help and healing to occur within us and to then to be able to be offered to others because of our right expression of Jesus to them.

“For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” ~Hos 6:6~

Do you have the knowledge of God? Are you loving and accepting others but neglecting knowing God? Are you so busy being righteous or telling others about righteousness that you have neglected understanding what God desires? Knowing God look like Jesus. Not just a moment of judgement and not just a moment of welcome, but all of Jesus which includes (but is not limited to) righteous, love, and mercy.

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Biblical Truths Woven Into Fiction (Part 2)

This week I thought I’d share another version of represented truth through fiction. Here is an excerpt from my young adult suspense novel, The Eighth Ransom.

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Biblical Truths Woven Into Fiction (Part 1)

Having talked last week about represented truth through fiction, I wanted to share this excerpt from my YA action/adventure novel, The Tournament’s Price. 

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