What to do when God leaves out the instructions

Believers sometimes look around for specific instructions from God, and find nothing we like. Sometimes it seems that God has forgotten to give us enough instruction, so we end up taking the wrong steps or even refusing to take any steps to follow Christ.

But are we as direction-less as we suppose?

A curious thing happens when Joshua is finally able to lead the people into the promised land. We’re probably familiar with Joshua 1:8 (ESV):

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

This passage is cited frequently as an encouragement to pay diligent, consistent attention to the word of God. It’s used to encourage Bible reading, memorization, and meditation. And, less legitimately, to lay claim to a broad promise of “prosperity” and “success” for every believer, no matter the endeavor, leading the hapless five footer to claim the ability to dunk a basketball while muttering I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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4 Signs that Your Money has become Filthy Lucre

One of my former law partners relayed the story of once accepting chickens and cabbages as remuneration for legal services rendered. He was trying to encourage me early in my career about the meager income I was making.

I appreciated the gesture, but remember being much more thankful, in view of the prospect of being paid in poultry given my complete lack of familiarity with fowl, that we no longer live in a barter economy.

Whether we are paid in chickens, or cabbages, or U.S. dollars (I seem to recall “cabbage” being a slang term for money), it all represents wealth.

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Doing the Right Thing is Also the Best Thing

James 4:17

If failing to do the right thing is sin, then we’d best have some idea what the “right thing” is.

The problem is that our attitudes toward sin are, well, sinful. We suppose that since we don’t habitually murder, rob, and steal, we don’t have much of a sin problem. But God has a much broader view of sin. He is holy, after all.

The Christian life is not simply a matter of avoiding the “wrong thing,” especially the “big” wrong thing, such as murder or robbery or theft, but of doing the “right thing,” and we’re told, in James 4:17

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

James is concerned that the believer’s faith result in good works, because all living faith works. Only a dead faith produces no works, no good deeds, and James wants believers to know that living a life pleasing to God, and delightful to us, requires that we not only refrain from bad deeds (sins of “commission,” those we commit), but that we not refrain from doing good deeds (sins of omission, duties or expectations or commands that we omit).

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Church Discipline and Baptist Love

Repost from the archives...

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20

We hear this quoted all the time. The church uses it to solemnize weddings, to invoke worship, to encourage groups of all sorts. It’s even used to validate business meetings where the most spiritual item on the agenda is replacing the air conditioner.

Thus it is no small surprise to most people that Jesus uttered these words in a discourse on church discipline.

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Four Things Required to Join Jesus on the Road to Calvary

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Tucked between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Day, the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and his Triumphal Exit from the grave, is the event that put him there: the Crucifixion.

And, as we know, it wasn’t a mere event that put Jesus on the cross, but sin, and that not his own, but of the people he came to save. And, because all of this was part of God’s redemptive plan, we might say that God put Jesus on the cross because of the sin of man.

Jesus had, before Palm Sunday arrived, told his disciples enough to know that palm branches and hosannas would not spell the end of his mission, but that suffering and death would accompany events in Jerusalem.

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When the Birth of Jesus is Troubling

Many people object to the Christmas story because it is too fantastic, resembling something more like a child’s fantasy than a fundamental tenet of a world religion.

After all, in the story of Jesus’ birth you find angelic revelations to both men and women that occurring in waking moments and in dreams, supernatural speech loss, virgin birth, astronomical signs, and international intrigue.

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