Monday, July 24, 2017


Jesus warned of false prophets. Paul wrote that a time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine.

I heard of a great sermon called, "Error By Overemphasis."

The title of that sermon, itself, teaches us that many beliefs may not be false in themselves - but they can become false by over emphasis. Think of an old wagon wheel. It has a hub, an outer circle and spokes which connect the hub to the outer circle.

The hub must be as close as possible to the exact center of the wheel. The farther off from center it is, the more wobbly the wheel will be. If it is very far off center, the wheel can merely clunk along clumsily and may even break at the worst time.

Jesus must always be the hub in the exact center. There may be many accurate doctrines that make up the spokes, but if they become the center, or hub, instead of taking their place as mere spokes, they immediately become erroneous. At their worst, these alternative hubs can cause the wheel to fall apart to the harm of many!

A couple of examples to illustrate my point:

1. Money!

When a church constantly communicates messages about money, prosperity and blessing, they have gone off track. The blessings of God are certainly in the Bible - but are not, by any stretch of the imagination, the center. Thus a person may be communicating some truth - yet it becomes a lie by making it the hub or the center.

Remember Jesus Christ, His death, resurrection and Godhead are ALWAYS the center of the gospel message - never money! 

The Bible certainly seems to have many more warnings about covetousness, the desire to be rich and making money or things into our treasures, than it does encouragement to accumulate wealth.

There are times when money can be used properly. But there is a also great danger of being pulled away from putting Christ first, center and the hub of our beliefs!

2. Being "connected."

There is also a great emphasis in modern churches on "being connected." Again, the Bible clearly teaches that we should be connected with our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, exalting "connectedness" above all else, again transforms a Bible truth into a lie by overemphasis!

We are to be connected. Yet there often seems to be almost no communication, today, that Bible strongly emphasizes our personal walk and solitude with God. This consists of a walk in solitude with God apart from others - apart from community.

Most church events center around community events. (Remember the hub!) The personal part we play is not greatly emphasized in many churches!

To truly excel as a Christian, we must have our own personal walk with God. We are to study and mediate on the Bible diligently. We are to have strong, individual pray times. We are to press to know God intimately so we can know His will for our lives and discern our individual callings.

This allows the fruit of God's spirit to grow within us, and receive his strength and wisdom to guide us.

When we stress only for connection, and leave out personal growth in Christ, we are eliminating some of the spokes from the wheel. Again, if not corrected, this will lead to a wheel that breaks - resulting in severely diminished Christian lives or a dangerous crash!

Remember to keep Jesus first and in the center:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:5

What are "the sufferings of Christ?"

When we suffer for Christ, we are suffering for Jesus' sake or the sake of His holy name!

We may suffer for His SAKE!

We may be suffering because God has called us to a task or place in which we give up something for something much greater.

For example, God may call you to the mission field, or to work for far less pay locally in the ministry. Your family may call you up and brag about how they just received promotions and  how they are now making huge salaries. They are partaking of all the luxuries of life while you are toiling in a hot climate or living from paycheck to paycheck. But remember - your suffering is for Christ's sake!

We may suffer through PERSECUTION!

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12

Normally, people are not persecuted for wearing a Jesus button or going to church. It is when we "live godly" that we are persecuted.

The level of what we call persecution, in America, is often at a much lower level. This is a generalization, of course, but consider that in many countries, when a person confesses Christ, he or she is doing so at the risk of being tortured or killed!

Suffering is subjective!

We all suffer in some way. Some who think their steak was undercooked consider themselves to be suffering. On the other end of the spectrum, others are imprisoned, being tortured or enduring great trials for Christ's sake. 

All suffering cannot be defined as "the sufferings of Christ." 

We may simply be reaping what we sow in some cases. Suffering comes to those who don't follow Christ as well as the who do. Likewise, blessings come to both.

The Good News About Suffering!

The good news is that when we do endure "the sufferings of Christ," God has our back!

Read the Scripture again:

For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

God will ALWAYS come to comfort us when we are suffering in Him, for Him, or for His name!

If we are suffering outside of Christ, He is calling us to come to Him, and to submit to Him,
ALWAYS ready to bring us into His family, and receive the comfort that His children receive.

But remember - WE MUST COME!