Has God Given You a Hope and a Future?

Jeremiah 29:11 - Out of Context Means it Doesn't Mean What we Think

As followers of Christ, we tend to believe that we should be protected by God from everything evil and blessed with everything good. So, we read the Bible and quote it saying, “God has promised me a hope and a future. He has plans to prosper me.” However, we fail to realize this wasn’t a promise to 21st-century believers.

Has God Given You a Hope and a Future? Does God plan to prosper you?

Here’s why we say that:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Other translations phrase it like this: “plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” And generally, whenever we hear money, I mean prosper, we tend to think money, money, money! Along with that money comes time and freedom that apparently can’t be found elsewhere…

When reading the Bible, there are certain rules of literature we must pay attention to. Historical happenings (what was actually going down at that moment in history) and original intent (what the author meant to say to his original audience) are a couple of things we need to consider when reading a passage from the Bible.

Continue Reading »

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Try to Read The Bible In a Year

An Alternative Approach to the Read Your Bible in a Year Program

Today’s post is from David Ramos. He is a Christian author and teacher passionate about communicating the life-changing truths found in the Old Testament. You can learn more about David and his writing at RamosAuthor.com.

If you’re a Christian, at some point in your life one of your New Year’s Resolutions will be to read through the Bible in a year.

The question is, should we attempt to read the Bible in a year?

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Try to Read the Bible in a Year

Continue Reading »

Is The Door God Opens the Door We Should Go Through?

How to Know if God "Opened a Door"

Often times, we tend to make our decisions as followers of Christ by rationalizing with a phrase similar to this: “God opened a door.”

Is The Door God Opened the Door that We Should Go Through?

In the same way, when things seem to turn for the worst, we begin to rationalize that God is closing a door and there must be something else God wants us to do. We summarize that idea by saying, “When God closes one door, He opens another.”

But is that true? More than that, is it true that when God opens a door, it is the actual door that we are supposed to go through?

Continue Reading »

Did The Devil Make You Think That?

Taking Responsibility for our Battle Against Temptation

As followers of Christ, we’ve developed a little cliche-Christian saying that helps shift the responsibility of our own thoughts. We say so often, “the devil gave me a thought, the devil made me think that.”

Did the Devil Make You Think That?

Did he? Did the devil make you think that? Was a little satan standing on your shoulder? Did he place a sticky note on his little pitchfork and then slam it into your brain at the most inopportune time?

Or are you responsible for all of your own thoughts?

Continue Reading »

Can You Do Anything You Set Your Mind To?

Does God Say You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To?

Can you do anything you set your mind to?

Can You Do Anything You Set Your Mind To?

Usually, the response we’ve learned to say is that yes, you can do whatever you set your mind to. We often teach this idea to our kids, to our nieces and nephews, even to our friends.

Sometimes, after we encourage them, they concentrate a little harder and accomplish what they were trying to do, whether it is taking first steps, coordinating motor skills, completing a complex project or report, or even changing professions.

But is that statement even true? Can you do anything you set your mind to?

Does God say you can do anything you set your mind to?

Continue Reading »

Should You Mind Your Own Business?

What the Bible Says About Keeping to Yourself

How loud of a Christian are you? When someone argues against your ideas and your Christian worldview, do you only yell louder?

Mind Your Own Business - What The Bible Says About Keeping To Yourself

I was that way at one point. I stood up for what is right (and I made sure everyone else knew it). I vocalized my thoughts to co-workers and friends, often without apology. I would even begin to drop my work commitments (show up late, miss deadlines, etc.) because I was out doing the Lord’s work. But then, something happened and God began to change me.

Looking back, I realize some of the ways I handled situations after I first decided to follow the Lord were simply stupid and terrible. Nonetheless, I was growing, and God was leading me. If I could go back to the start of my new life where I decided to follow Jesus, I would probably pay much more attention to this:

 

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your own hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV

Lead a Quiet Life

The word translated “quiet” in this phrase carries the sense of “peace.” It means that followers of Christ should live an undisruptive life. The issue Paul was confronting dealt with individuals who stopped working because they ran around shouting “the Lord is returning!” In essence, they became a nuisance to others. They were fanatic and distracting.

How often are we so focused on proclaiming the return of God and salvation of Christ, that we forget to live in a way that commands respect?

There’s a common teaching heard in leadership circles: Focus on relationships before speaking authoritatively. Don’t try to speak into someone’s life unless you’ve been invited, unless there is a level of respect, a level of trust.

Maybe, instead of flippantly proclaiming, we need to start fiercely professing Christ’s love in a quiet and personal way?

Mind Your Own Business

When we hear the phrase, “mind your own business,” we tend hear someone saying to us: “Back away! Don’t get involved in my life!” There is an aspect along those lines to which Paul was communicating, but not to the rude and snarky extent that the catch phrase is often associated with today.

Let your foot seldom be in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.

Proverbs 25:17 ESV

The idea is this: While we are to be involved in the lives of others, we are not supposed to become a burden, a weight, an annoyance. There is a fine line between people facilitating relational connections and between individuals inviting themselves over (not being welcome).

This phrase, “mind your own business,” is directly connected with, “work with your own hands.” “Mind your own business,” was a correction to those believers who stopped working because Jesus is returning. But for us today, how many times do we try to slide by on someone else’s dime? How often do we try to work our way into getting a discount because we are fellow believers? 

Instead of developing relationships with the hope to get something in return, we need to focus on the love of Christ.

Win Respect in Your Daily Life

Ultimately, we need to live in a way that commands a trust from those who are not following Christ.

When we refuse to pay our debts, or when we depend on others to provide for us, what reflection does that have of Christ? When we run around shouting the Bible in everyone’s face, how does that earn trust? When we don’t care enough to connect with or listen to others, but only put forward our agenda to get people into heaven, how does that command respect?

When we live in a way that earns the respect of outsiders, those not following Christ, we then earn the right to begin speaking into their life. We do this by living a quiet life, by fiercely professing Christ’s love without the hope of getting something in return.