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Sunday, June 29, 2014

When Adults Act Like Toddlers

Photo by: artur84

Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan footballer, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. He bit a fellow player. The sanctions mean he won’t be able to play any more in the World Cup. This isn’t the first time he’s bitten someone. He’s done it twice before in football games, once with an even harder sanction than this time.

I watched the video. It looked clear to me. He opened his mouth, clamped down on the other man’s shoulder and left bite marks. (Then, he dropped to the ground—diving?—and grabbed his teeth like they were injured! The other man dove, too, holding his jersey out so everyone could see his injury.)

This post isn’t really about Luis Suarez. It’s about adults acting like babies.

It’s about you and me.

As an adult, have you ever:
  • Thrown a temper tantrum?
  • Cried over something not worth crying about?
  • Picked something up and thrown it in anger?
  • Punched the wall?
  • Yelled unkind words?
  • Pulled someone’s hair, hit, slapped, bitten, or poked?

When children are under three years of age and do these things, we correct them. We tell them it’s not appropriate conduct. We stop them. We give them time-outs and discipline to help them learn what’s acceptable and not.

When an adult does the same things, we feel like he must have some underlying problem, and he can’t help it.


No!!!! When an adult does these things—you know it’s true—it shows a lack of maturity and self-control.

When an adult reacts violently in anger, whether he hurts someone else or not, he is being a Big Baby. It’s as simple as that.

If he has already committed the fault, been corrected and still hasn’t learned, he’s being rebellious against authority. (The jails are full of repeat offenders.)

When an adult man bites another man, while playing a soccer match, for the third time!!!! don’t you think he deserves a time-out?

Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). Temperance means self-control. Meekness here means taking negatives in a sweet spirit.

When we’re not walking in the Holy Spirit, we can get out of control.

How can we walk in the Spirit? 
  1. We obey the Holy Spirit’s leading. New Testament examples are Philip and Paul. They did what God told them to do.
  2. Reject following our own flesh. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. . . . That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1, 4).
  3. Be conscious that we belong to God. We don’t want to displease our Father. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:15-16).
  4. When we don’t know how to act, remember the Holy Spirit actually prays for us. He will help us to know God’s will. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:27). How humbling is that!
  5. Be completely controlled by the Spirit. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
  6. Be on the offense, and use the sword of the Spirit. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Notice that the sword of the Spirit is the Bible! God’s Word can be used against evil forces.
  7. Behave like a Christian. Only let your conversation (way of life) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). 

The Bible tells us to represent Christ in the way we live. If you have a tendency to lash out, yell, throw tantrums, or punch walls, you are not living Holy Spirit-controlled. It’s as simple as that. Whatever your issue, you need to get alone with God, memorize verses about it, and pray for the Lord to help you. He will!

It is possible to glorify God. If it were not so, God wouldn’t have commanded:
  • For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20).
  • Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Let’s walk in the Spirit!

When I was a child, I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man,
I put away childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13:11)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Just Sayin' . . . Observations from Blogging

Photo by: twobee

I enjoy looking at my blog statistics. They tell me all kinds of things: 
  • They let me know how you read my blog. Some access through Google, Facebook, Bloglovin, other people’s blogs, and some find it through search engines.
  • They tell me what country you live in.
  • They tell me how many views each post gets.
  • They even tell me if you access it on a mobile device!

You know what I see?

People are more interested in fingernails than in spirituality. No kidding! To date, I’ve gotten 1,417 views on a post (here) about painting fingernails. I wrote that post because I was curious about why so many pictures of manicures showed the fourth fingernail in a different color from the rest. It was an innocent Google search that resulted in my most popular post ever. I don’t understand. Seriously.

When I write something that has to do with God or the Bible in the title, it gets fewer views. It’s a fact. I can see it in my stats.

If I have a more mysterious title, people might view to see what it’s about. 

Therefore, my dilemma.

They say you should write for your audience. Should I blog for the great majority who paint their fingernails a different color and want to know why, or should I blog because I already have a concrete purpose for blogging? (Check out my purpose statement here.)

I know why I blog. “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” (Thank you, Shakespeare!)

So, you, my faithful readers, will continue to see a variety of posts. (I hope you’re smiling.) You’ll continue to get my one-offs about fashion trends and art and single women and child rearing and marriage. You’ll also get devotional thoughts, Bible character studies, and little messages from the Word of God. You’ll get book and Bible study reviews, too. You’ll get the odd comment about popular culture and current events.

If you’re looking for fluff-only blogs, there are lots of those.

I hope and pray I’m not one of them.

Just sayin’.

And, I really, truly hope you'll continue to read "In the Way." I'm glad you stopped by today!

(By the way, please DO let me know what you like and don't like. I love hearing from you.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Out of Context? How to Ensure Accurate Use of Bible Verses

Photo by: Arvind Balaraman

Here are some well-known and often quoted verses: 
  1. The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another (Genesis 31:49b).
  2. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).
  3. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:22).
  4. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)
  5. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).

Let’s take each verse and look for its context: 
  • To whom is it written/spoken?
  • What is the historical setting?
  • Where does this particular verse fit in the context of the whole picture?
  • Are there other Scriptures that shed light on this one?

We’ll examine the verses at the top of this post.

The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another (Genesis 31:49b). Laban said this to Jacob, his son-in-law, when Jacob had taken his wives, servants, and herds away from Laban. Laban followed, and then they made an agreement to go their separate ways—and that Jacob would take no other wives. This lovely statement was Laban’s farewell response. No other Scriptures apply to this one, but we know that God’s blessing was indeed on Jacob as they were absent one from the other.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). This was a letter written by Jeremiah to the Israelites in captivity. Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon (Jeremiah 29:1). So, the historical setting is a message from God to Israel at that time. Can we claim this lovely blessing today? What other Scriptures might shed some light on this one? Psalm 139:17-18, How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. Psalm 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. Lots of verses speak of God giving people peace. Here’s one of them: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). Can we claim this verse for ourselves? Yes, because God never changes. He desires peace and a wonderful end for every believer. He thinks of us constantly. What a blessing!

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:22). Jesus spoke this verse to His disciples. Does this verse mean that whatever we ask God for, we’ll receive? Anything? How about a new Maserati sports car? A mansion? A Chanel dress? What is the context of this verse? It comes after Jesus cursed the fig tree and the disciples noticed it had completely withered away. Jesus told His disciples they would do greater things than that, and that anything they asked they would receive. Another few verses clarify this one: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1 John 5:14-15). If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7). The lesson is that God will honor prayers that are according to His will.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). These words were part of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome. The context is Jesus interceding for believers’ prayers and that believers will be conformed to the image of God. I found several verses that go along with this one. 2 Timothy 3:17 is about the Bible’s purpose; That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. James 1:2-4 says, My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. God works all circumstances together for our good, and He works in us as we’re instructed by the Bible. This is a verse to cling to.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13). This is a “Superman verse” at first glance, but let’s look further. Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from prison. Clearly, Paul would have been limited in what he could do—merely by his circumstances. The context is key to understanding this verse. Let’s read it in its context. Paul has received a care package from the believers. He is thanking them. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction (Philippians 4:11-14). This verse is about being content in the midst of suffering. It’s about going through the hard times in joy. (Read the first part of chapter 4. It’s incredible!) This verse might be better translated “in Christ” instead of “through Christ.” Paul’s position in Christ enables him to be joyful in prison, to be content even though he has needs, and to be grateful to believers for the little things they did to help him be more comfortable. What a lesson and a challenge for us today! A companion verse is: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19, the same chapter!).


I wonder how often we pull Bible verses out and use them inaccurately? I know I have. I’m learning to look up details, to see the verse in its context, and to look up key words to see what they mean in Greek or Hebrew. I’m also looking for other verses that shed light on the verse I’m studying. These simple steps can save us from wrong interpretations.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Monday, June 23, 2014

Serve the Lord with Gladness

Photo by: tiverylucky

 Psalm 100, A Psalm of Praise
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.

I memorized this Psalm as a child. It’s a wonderful Psalm of praise to God, of joy in His presence, and of thanksgiving. It speaks of being in God’s house and serving Him.

Are you busy for God? Are you involved in your church?

It’s always interesting to observe the percentage of people doing the work in the average church. Estimates are between five and ten percent, which means that most of the people in the average church aren’t serving at all. They warm pews—or nice, new auditorium seats—and take in, soak up, and leave.

I’m a pastor’s wife, and I see the problem up close and personal. And, it’s not only that some are lazy about Christian service. Our church people need to be taught and prepared for the work of the ministry—as well as willing to do it. Some people are simply oblivious to the needs of a church.

If you would like to be more involved in your church and you don’t have any idea where you can fit in or what needs to be done:
  • Ask.—Your pastor or pastor’s wife will have some suggestions for ways you can help.
  • Volunteer.—When the pastor asks for volunteers to bring cookies, visit a sick person, do soulwinning, pass out tracts, wash cars, move chairs and set up for a function, clean, work in Bible school, etc. answer the call. Do something to help in your church.
  • Open your eyes, and pray, asking God to help you to notice needs.—Look for the people who are on the sidelines: those who are shy, left out of conversations, dressed differently, zoned out. Go over to them and chat. Make friends. Consistently look for opportunities to be friendly. If others are cleaning up, chances are they’d appreciate help. Pitch in and be helpful. Do you see a weed in the outside planter? Pull it and dispose of it. Do you see extra toilet paper on the floor in the bathroom? Pick it up and throw it away. Have you noticed a Sunday school table needs deep cleaning? Go get a non-scratch product and clean it.

When I read this Psalm of praise, I notice it is God-centric and not me-centric. All of the adoration is for the Lord. The thanks and the singing are for God.

In this Psalm, all the praise is because He created us, we belong to Him, God is good, and God is true.

Have you noticed that many of the modern praise songs reverse this? They put the emphasis on what we do: “I lift up my hands and praise You.” “I wait for You.” “I love the way You love me.” “I am free.” “You’re worthy of my praise.” “Here I am to worship.” The emphasis is on what pleases me or what I am doing. Now, a lot of what the songs say is fine, but it’s the emphasis on our own actions that seems to miss the point.

The old traditional hymns leave us out of them: “Holy, Holy, Holy;” “Crown Him with Many Crowns;” “Amazing Grace;” “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing Our Great Redeemer’s Praise;” “Blessed Assurance.” They’re about God and what He does, just like Psalm 100.

Did you notice that service is only one part of this Psalm? It speaks more about the heart attitude of the worshiper and the greatness of God.
  • Make a joyful noise
  • Serve the Lord with gladness (the only time service is mentioned)
  • Come before His presence with singing
  • Recognize the Lord as God
  • Acknowledge that He created us
  • We belong to Him and are His sheep
  • Enter into His house with thanksgiving and praise
  • Be thankful (again)
  • Bless His Name
  • The Lord is good
  • His mercy is everlasting
  • His truth is forever

God is interested in your service, yes.

But He’s more interested in your worship. Genuine praise is all about God.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Illustration by: FrameAngel

Malasian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared without a trace with 239 people on board. No one has any good idea where it is. (I still don’t understand how they can find an overturned yacht in the Atlantic in a matter of days and can’t find a huge plane, but that’s for the experts to ponder. I have my own private theory of where it is—and has been—but it’s an armchair grandma’s theory, nothing more.)

I remember the Bermuda Triangle stories many years ago. Were they true? Did ships and planes simply disappear?

Aviator Amelia Earhart disappeared, and no one really knows what happened.

In the Bible, there were other strange disappearances:
  • Melchizedek (Melchisedec)—The mysterious king of Salem, a priest of God, to whom Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils of battle, Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually (Hebrews 7:3).*
  • EnochAnd Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24).
  • MosesSo Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated (Deuteronomy 34:5-7).
  • ElijahAnd it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Kings 2:11).

It’s not only at the end of lives that people (or beings) disappeared. Consider these:
  • Angels—On many occasions, angels appeared for delivering one message or doing one task. (Angels are God’s messengers.) Later, they disappeared. Angels appeared and disappeared to: Hagar, Balaam, Moses, Lot, Gideon, Manoah and his wife, Elijah, David, Ornan, the lions in the den (Daniel)**, Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, Zacharias, Philip, Cornelius, Peter, Jesus, the ladies at the empty tomb, the disciples at Jesus’ ascension, and probably some I missed. 
  • Jesus—Of course, Jesus is God, and He can do anything He wants. He could appear in a room and disappear. When he was with the disciples in Emmaus, he disappeared at the table.

I am amazed and intrigued by the variety of ways that God works. If He wants people not to die, He takes them straight up to heaven. One got to go in a chariot of fire in a whirlwind! If God wants a messenger to do a job, an angel can assume any form he wishes . . . and then vanish! If God wants lions not to eat His servant, he sends an angel with to shut their mouths. Sword-wielding angels appeared to Adam and Eve and guarded the Garden of Eden. Jesus appeared to His disciples, and he went away in the same manner.

God can do anything any way He chooses. I praise Him!

*More about the mystery man, Melchizedek here
**The story of Daniel in the lions’ den is here.