“But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.
“Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin” Don’t do anything that will cause this to be written on your wall in your home. Two of my sister’s got this on their bedroom walls, same room and same reason. It happens when your caught stealing God’s properties. I decided if God wanted every part of me, I surrendered all to Him I freely gave. It became His, so if it’s stolen, it’s stolen from God. Think about it.
Daniel 5:25-28 NASB
“Now this is the inscription that was written out: ‘MENĒ, MENĒ, TEKĒL, UPHARSIN.’ This is the interpretation of the message:
‘MENĒ’-God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. ‘TEKĒL’-you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. ‘PERĒS’-your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.”
The context of this verse is a King (Belshazzar) of Babylon encountering God through, “The writing on the wall.” A hand appeared and began writing unintelligible words on the wall while the King was using the treasures of God’s temple to throw a party. Here we see a strong warning to us about the worship of idols. Belshazzar was son of Nebuchadnezzar (a former king of Babylon who heard from God through Daniel on multiple occasions), thus was no stranger to the influence and power of God, or the person of Daniel. Don’t ignore God or keep idols. Worship the One who is Worthy.
Verse/Commentary courtesy of ‘Verse-A-Day’ android app.
7 Commandments of a Great Marriage
Ron Edmondson serves as the senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, and has an impressive history of church planting and church growth. A nationally known Christian leader, he was raised in a Christian home and active in his home church, First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Tennessee, serving as a lay leader, deacon, Sunday School director, and teacher. After twenty years in business, including time owning an insurance agency and a small manufacturing company, Ron heard God’s call to ministry.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Ron’s strong theological background guides him to teach faithfully from Scripture. Ron identifies himself as a wisdom seeker and a teacher.
I have an advanced degree in counseling and hundreds of hours experience working with couples. I’ve taught marriage retreats for years. I wouldn’t say I’m an “expert” in marriage—because I’m married—and my wife reads my blog. That would be a stretch. Actually, I know more to do than I have the practice of doing. (Isn’t that true for most of us?)
But I’ve learned a few things. I’ve observed things that work and things that don’t.
I think there are some necessary ingredients for a healthy marriage. That’s the point of this post.
Want a healthier marriage?
Consider these 7 Commandments of Marriage:
Thou shalt serve one another. A good marriage practices mutual submission. Ephesians 5:21 commands us to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. Marriage is not a 50/50 deal. It’s a 100/100 deal—each willing to surrender all to the other person.
How are you at serving your spouse? Would they say you strive to serve them more everyday? Are you more the giver or the taker in the relationship? Be honest.
Thou shalt love unconditionally. Unconditionally means without conditions. (See how deep this blog can be.) I’ll love you if… is not the command. It’s I’ll love you even if not. God commands us to love our enemies. How much more should this commitment be strong within a marriage?
Are you loving your spouse even with the flaws that you can see better than anyone else? Here’s a quick test: Does the way you communicate with your spouse indicate you have the highest regard for them—always?
Thou shalt respect one another. The Golden Rule covers this one. Everyone wants to be respected—so in any good marriage respect is granted to and by both parties. And, by the way, I believe respect too is to be unconditional.
In my experience, this one is sometimes easier for one spouse to give than the other, especially the one who works hardest in the marriage. Respect is mostly given because of actions. But respect is important for both spouses. Most people grant respect only when all conditions are met to be respected. That makes sense, but it doesn’t provide motivation to improve when the other party needs it most. All of us need someone who believes in us even when we don’t believe in ourselves. That’s the grace of respect. When most of us feel respected we will work harder to keep that respect.
Thou shalt put no other earthly relationships before this one. “Let not man put asunder” is not just a good King James Version wedding line. It’s God’s desire for a marriage. Great couples strive to allow no one—even children—even in-laws—to get in the way of building a healthy marriage.
Wow! Isn’t this a hard one? Yet I can’t tell you how many marriages I have seen ruined because the children came first or the in-laws interfered. I’ve seen marriages ruined by friends—sometimes co-workers—who had little regard for the integrity of the marriage, and so they built a wedge between the couple. As hard as it is sometimes, great couples work to protect the marriage from every outside interruption.
Thou shalt commit beyond feelings. The Bible talks a great deal about the renewal of our mind (Romans 12:2, for example). The mind is more reliable than emotions. You may not always feel as in love as you did the day you married. There will be tough seasons in any marriage. Strong marriages last because they have a commitment beyond their emotional response to each other. And when that’s true for both parties, feelings almost always reciprocate and grow over time.
As true and necessary as this is, great marriage partners continue to pursue each other—they date one another—fostering the romantic feelings that everyone craves in a relationship. Sobering question: When’s the last time you pursued your spouse?
Thou shalt consider the other person’s interest ahead of thine own. Again, we are commanded to to do this in all relationships. How much more should we in marriage?
Over the years, as couples get comfortable with one another, I’ve observed couples who become very selfish with their individual time. Sometimes, for example, one spouse pursues a hobby that excludes the other one, and more and more time is committed to that hobby. The other spouse begins to feel neglected. It may be allocation of time, in actions or the words used to communicate, but sometimes a spouse can make the other spouse feel they are no longer valuable to them. Are you considering how you are being perceived by your spouse?
Thou shalt complete one another. The Biblical command is one flesh (Ephesians 5). I’m not sure that’s anymore possible than the command that our individual flesh be molded into the image of Christ. It’s a command we obey in process. We are saints still under construction. We still sin. And that process isn’t completed here on earth in my opinion. So it is in a marriage. We never completely “get there,” but we set such a high standard for our marriage that we continue to press towards the goal.
There is no better place where “iron sharpens iron” than in a marriage. Cheryl makes me a better person. And, if I can be so bold—I think I do the same for her. There are qualities in her I need and qualities in me she needs to become one flesh. But that’s a process. That takes time, humility, and intentionality. I must allow her to make me better—and likewise for her. But when we do, we are both the benefactors. One question I always ask couples: Are you becoming closer as a couple—or are you drifting further apart? That’s a great question to ask frequently throughout the marriage.
These are obviously not the “10 Commandments.” They aren’t even necessarily God’s commandments—although I do believe they are based on the commands of God. The point is to take Biblical principles and apply them to our marriage.
And, what marriage wouldn’t benefit from that?
Would you pause and consider—are you breaking any of these commands?
Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about
8) Be nice, it’s better than a nasty headache on a good day.
9) Listen…you might hear your spouse or sweetheart flirt with you.
10) Flirt like it’s your last chance
HAVE A NICE DAY!
Words are some of the most powerful tools available to us. The power of a word can build or destroy in an instant and every word builds upon itself empowering its subject or tearing it apart. But what’s most fascinating about words is that it’s intention and perception can be completely opposite. How we use and understand words is what separates us and no matter the intention, it is on the individual on how they perceive it, digest it, and let it manifest in their spirit. Every word, comment, and conversation can be used for motivation or inspiration. Your detractors may be many, but that same ridicule can be used as an ignition to fuel the fire within and push you to reach deeper. Compliments sometimes are few and far in between, but when we receive them, it can be an inspiration to carry us, affirmation to let us know we’re on the right path, and a needed boost to get us over the hump and let us know that what we are doing makes a difference to someone. Choose your words wisely and remember their power and influence. It’s easier to demolish a building than it is to resurrect and the same is true with a person’s psyche. It is so hard to give someone their confidence back, their self-esteem, and so easy to damage it. Today, and every opportunity you can, speak life, speak strength, speak courage, speak happiness, speak thankfulness, speak gratitude, speak possibility, and even when we have to give criticism, discipline, unsettling opinions, speak that too in love. Let your words uplift the hearts and minds of the listener and plant a garden that shall grow truth, wisdom, and love.
BrotherWord – Motivational Monday
Nails In the Fence
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”
The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said, “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.” “Of course I can,” said the father.
Think, before speaking!
The Potter saw a vessel, that was broken by the wind and rain
and he sought with so much compassion
To make it over again.
O I was that vessel, that no one thought was good
I cried Lord, You’re the potter and I am the clay
Make me over again today.
Then God picked up the pieces of my broken life that day
And He made me a new vessel, and revived my soul again.
My friend if your broken
And scattered by the storms of life
And You’ve looked in vain for the answers
For all your turmoil and strife.
Just look to the Savior
Who’ll save your soul from sin
And cry Lord you the potter and I am the clay
make me over again today
Then God will pick up the pieces
Of your broken life that day
Then he’ll make you a new vessel
And restore you soul again.
I don’t remember who wrote this song, but I’ve heard it off and on through the years. Today it just fits how I feel at times, but I will do this because someone else might need a boost too.
I was a Police Officer
Today, I will not answer the radio call that your boyfriend has come
home drunk and is beating you again.
Today I will not answer the radio call that your 16 year old daughter,
who is very responsible, is four hours late coming home from school.
Today I will not answer the radio call that your store has been robbed
or your house has been burglarized.
Today I will not stop a drunk driver from killing someone. I will not
catch a rapist or a murderer or a car thief.
Today I will not answer the radio call that a man has a gun or tried
to abduct a child or that someone has been stabbed or has been in a
Today I will not save your child that you locked in a car or the child
you were to busy to watch who went outside and fell into the swimming pool, but that I revived. No, today I will not do that.
Today, I was suspended from duty for doing my job, because the media, liberals, a community organizer, a lawyer who formally represented terrorists and is the US attorney general and a mayor who ran on an anti-police agenda, who are all advised by a drug dealer, liar and income tax cheat. AND, all who know nothing about Policing, have vilified my profession.
Today I was killed by a drunk driver while I was helping push a
disabled car off the highway.
Today I was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop to simply tell
someone that they had a taillight out.
Today I was killed in a traffic accident rushing to help a citizen.
Today I was shot and killed serving a warrant on a known drug dealer.
Today I was killed by a man when I came by to do a welfare check
because his family was too busy.
Today I was killed trying to stop a bank robbery or a grocery store robbery.
Today I was killed doing my job.
A chaplain and an officer will go to a house and tell a mom and dad or
a wife or husband or a child that their son or daughter or husband or
wife or Father or mother won’t be coming home today.
The flags at many police Stations were flown at half-mast today but most people won’t know why. There will be a funeral and my fellow officers will come, a twenty-one-gun salute will be given, and taps will be played as I am laid to rest. My name will be put on a plaque, on a wall, in a building, in a city somewhere. A folded flag will be placed on a mantel or a bookcase in a home somewhere and a family will mourn.
There will be no cries for justice. There will be no riots in the streets. There will be no officers marching, screaming no justice, no peace. No Citizens will scream that something must be done.
No windows will be smashed, no cars burned, no stones thrown, no names called.
Only some folks crying themselves to sleep tonight will be the only
sign that I was cared about.
I was a police officer
O Holy Night! CANTIQUE DE NOEL
John S. Dwight, 1813-1893
Adolphe Adam, 1803-1856
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth; Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn; Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand; So led by light of a star so sweetly gleaming, Here came the wise men from Orient land. The King of kings thus lay in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our Friend; He knows our need, To’our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King, before Him lowly bend! Behold your King, before Him Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace; Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name; Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever! His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim! His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
None of reasons mentioned are the reason I haven’t attended regularly and to be honest I’m not real sure except for the fact that Lord said “No” about one specific one. Now more than ever since cutting my ties with that one, do I really want to know what was going on there that Jesus Christ, Himself objected! Trust me, this subject is loaded.
Based on Jeff’s blog…My guess is it’s not a isolated situation. Was it too many Haters of God, or haters of the law? Or both?
Founders Ministries Blog
by Jeff Robinson
It is the conversation with church members every pastor dreads but inevitably comes to every man who has shepherded a local flock: “Pastor, we need to meet with you and discuss our future at the church. We have been praying about transferring our membership to another church.” Naturally, you ask the inevitable question, “Why?” The answers are as varied as the variety found in wayfaring members, ranging from “The church up the street has more to offer my youth/children” to “We just don’t find things exciting here anymore,” or most troubling, “We love you and your preaching, pastor, but we don’t really like this church.”
There are certainly legitimate reasons to leave a church and sadly, it sometimes become necessary or even a duty to find a more biblically faithful body. Sometimes churches become theologically or morally bankrupt, leaving a sound believer no choice. But it seems in our self-intoxicated, consumer-driven evangelical culture, what is often referred to as “church hopping” seems to have reached a virtual epidemic. There are a number of reasons for this reality with biblical illiteracy, a loss of a robust ecclesiology, a distaste for authority, the disappearance of church discipline and the decay of meaningful church membership ranking high among them.
When should you leave a church? I think it is helpful to first think through a number of reasons why not to leave a church. Here are a few illegitimate reasons for leaving a church, reasons I have heard over the years:
Because our children want to go to another church. The most spiritually immature (presumably) members of the family should not single-handedly make the most important decision facing a family. This is perhaps the most common reason I have heard for people leaving a church, and I find it deeply troubling.
Because there aren’t many people here my age. The body of Christ is supposed to reflect the culture which is made up of a diversity of ages and backgrounds. The church is not a social club, but the gathering of sinners saved by grace. The world should be at odds to explain the church. It should wonder, “What is it that brings together such a diverse collection of people in such a tight bond of love?”
Because I don’t like the music. The contemporary/traditional question is usually wrongheaded, in my opinion. Of greater importance is the question: What is the content of the songs being sung? Is the church singing good theology? Tune and text must fit one another, but I find that this debate usually falls out along generational lines.
Because the pastor’s sermons are too long. Preaching is the central act of Christian worship and should receive the lion’s share of the time.
Because there are many sinners in the church. As Luther put it, followers of Christ are simul iustis et peccator, simultaneously a saint and a sinner. The local church is a hospital for the sick. Obviously, there is a serious sickness where open, wanton, unconfessed sin is tolerated, but that is not what I have in view here.
Because the pastor doesn’t do things the way we did back in 19__ (add your favorite year). Tradition can be helpful, but traditionalism is where churches go to die a thousand deaths.
Because they don’t have a good youth/children’s program here. Parents are the spiritual caretakers for the children. The church should merely reinforce the biblical truths taught in the home. No church program will adequately shepherd our children; that is the calling of parents, particularly fathers.
Because the worship/preaching is boring. The aim of worship is God’s glory, not our amusement.
Because they have/don’t have Sunday school. I realize many adherents of family integration will disagree with me here, but I want to argue respectfully that the Gospel and theological truth—not secondary convictions—are the proper unifying point for a local church.
Those are invalid reasons for leaving a church and there are dozens more besides. But there does come a time when seeking a new church home is a legitimate consideration. So, when should one leave a church? John MacArthur is helpful on this point. He advises (and provides biblical rationale) that you should consider leaving a church if:
Heresy on some fundamental truth is being taught from the pulpit (Gal. 1:7–9).
The leaders of the church tolerate seriously errant doctrine from any who are given teaching authority in the fellowship (Rom. 16:17).
The church is characterized by a wanton disregard for Scripture, such as a refusal to discipline members who are sinning blatantly (1 Cor. 5:1–7).
Unholy living is tolerated in the church (1 Cor. 5:9–11).
The church is seriously out of step with the biblical pattern for the church (2 Thess. 3:6, 14).
The church is marked by gross hypocrisy, giving lip service to biblical Christianity but refusing to acknowledge its true power (2 Tim. 3:5).
When members or friends have discussed leaving a church with me through the years, I have typically advised them to stick around and be a gracious, reforming presence and avoid exacerbating the problems in their local body. Both joining a church and leaving a church are serious business, business for which those involved will give an account before God. Even if it does become clear that leaving is best for us or our family, our attitude must be chastened and humble on the way out. In part II, I hope to look at what our attitude should be when we decide to change churches.
Founders Ministries Blog
by Jeff Robinson
A few weeks back, I asked the question, “When Do You Leave a Church?” here on the Founders Blog and promised to continue dealing with this issue in a second post. With this post, I want to examine the issue of how to leave a church. When it becomes necessary to find another congregation we must keep a close watch over our hearts and our motives and we must be careful what we say and how we act “out the door.”
Both as a pastor and a church member, I have seen many people leave the church, and once they have done so, they have continued to heap untold damage upon their former congregation through slander, gossip and complaining about leadership and other members. Curtis Thomas, in his excellent volume Life in the Body of Christ (Founders Press, 2006), delivers a good dose of wise pastoral counsel on the manner in which one might leave a church without leaving the bridges in flames behind them. Thomas advises that:
1. We must check our motives very carefully.
2. Our reasons must be well grounded and clearly articulated.
3. We must be in regular, earnest prayer about the matter.
4. We must guard our tongues very carefully.
5. We must be extremely careful that we do not unnecessarily create unrest in other members.
6. Our discussions with the leadership must be characterized by love.
7. Our attempts to correct matters must be with great respect, care, and patience.
8. If our concern is over personal preferences, rather than biblical matters, we must consider others’ interests more important than ours.
9. Great care should be taken that we submit to the leadership of the church, unless we determine with proper counsel that there is a serious biblical issue at stake.
10. If the leadership will listen, we need to give them plenty of time to consider the matter.
11. If the leadership will not listen to us, or will not take proper action to correct the matter and we are thoroughly convinced that there is a serious biblical issue, we should ask for a meeting of the church in which to express our concerns.
12. We should ask ourselves what we have personally done to correct any wrong or deficiency in the church with which we are concerned.
13. We should evaluate if our leaving would do harm to an otherwise good church.
14. We should never leave, nor encourage others to leave, unless we are thoroughly convinced that one or both of the following conditions exist: 1) that the church has become an apostate church (where serious unbiblical teaching or practices are allowed), or 2) that we are convinced that, over the long haul, we cannot find a place to serve in the church or that our families will not be spiritually fed in that body.
Church membership is a solemn matter, one of God’s great gifts to His people. We will give an account for how we dealt with Christ’s body, and we will give an account for every single word we have spoken in this life (Matt. 12:36). Therefore, if we must find another congregation for ourselves and our families, let us do so in a manner that honors the Lord of church.