Monday, September 20, 2010

Are We Carrying Unwanted Baggage?

When I read Genesis 12:5, the first thing that comes into
my mind is the phrase, "unnecessary baggage." At the
beginning of Genesis 12, God called Abram to leave
everything - his country, his people, and his father's
household. God was taking him to a new land, and would
make him into a great nation. Abram was going to be
blessed. In fact, all people on earth would be blessed
through Abram.

It is challenging to look at how Abram left. Verse 5 says
that he took his wife, his nephew, all their possessions,
and the persons they had acquired. As we try to picture
this scenario in our heads, it just seems that Abram would
have needed several U-Haul trucks to make this move.

The fact that they didn't have the convenience of U-Haul
makes this journey really appear difficult, to say the

This picture encourages us to consider a couple of key
questions about how we approach our own journeys with God.

What unnecessary baggage am I carrying?

Our lives are full of transition. God is constantly
leading us into new territory as he works on molding us for
His Kingdom. Sometimes, we don't want to go where God is
taking us, while other times, we can't wait to get out of
our present condition.

Every situation we experience has a lasting effect on us.
Some are more obvious. Some are more painful. Some cause
us to close up or put up walls to protect us from future

But those walls don't always do what we designed them to
do. While those barriers may be keeping "things" from
getting to us, they are also restricting our access to
things we may need in the next stage of our lives.

Imagine with me what it would be like to climb a mountain
with a huge, heavy backpack. How much easier would our
climb be if we didn't have to carry anything on our backs?

Let's examine ourselves to see what burdens we may be able
to unload to make our journey through life a little simpler.

Am I really trusting God on my journey?

Abram's caravan also leads us to rethink how we pack for a
trip. Moms are notorious for this, but I'm sure just about
any traveler can relate. Any time we are going to be away
from home for an extended amount of time, we start creating
dozens and dozens of "what if" scenarios to help us
determine what we are going to pack.

Each scenario gets more outrageous, and we find ourselves
packing things that we have the most remote chance of
needing. For example, do we really need 5 or 6 outfits
and/or pairs of shoes for a weekend trip?

The same applies to our life in general. Are we holding on
to things just in case we need them, or are we trusting God
to provide? This can be at home, where we are storing
stuff that we haven't used, yet alone looked at, in years.

This can also be in our finances, where we are holding on
to multiple credit cards for those times when we find
something that we really want but can't afford. Hebrews
13:5 tells us, "Keep your lives free from the love of money
and be content with what you have, because God has said,
'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" (NIV)

If we are unwilling to let go of some of the things we are
holding on to, where will we find room for the new
blessings God has planned for us?

Do we really need to worry about anything with God in our
lives? 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety on Him
because He cares for you." (NIV)

The challenge comes with slowing down enough to allow God
to take control over our lives. If we think about the
earlier reference to carrying the backpack up the mountain,
we need to give that backpack to God. Psalm 46:10
instructs us, "Be still, and know that I am God." (NIV)

We should thank God that He loves us enough to carry our
burdens. Let's pray for a heart of complete obedience
toward a Father who only wants the best for us.

Ozeme J. Bonnette is a financial coach, speaker, and the
author of Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to
Managing Your Finances. After working at Merrill Lynch, she
chose to focus on increasing financial literacy. She
teaches Biblical Economics and speaks to groups and
organizations throughout the U.S. She earned 3 Bachelor's
degrees at Fresno State and an MBA at UCLA's Anderson
School. Find her at .

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Three Reasons Not To Be Angry About Our Financial Struggles

There are so many challenges that we encounter during each
week. Some are personal. Others involve our family. And
there always seem to be hurdles at work. Sometimes we see
them coming, while others hit us unexpectedly.

As we wallow in self pity in the middle of these obstacles,
we often find ourselves asking God why this is happening to
us. Genesis 4:3-5 gives us some insight into the answer to
this question. We will look at 3 questions that we should
ask ourselves in the midst of our troubles.

What are you giving to God?

It's funny how we tend to get upset with God for giving us
a bunch of mess to deal with when that's exactly what we
give Him. Let's ask ourselves:

Are we praying as often as we should? ("Pray continually."
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV)

Are we seeking His counsel daily? ("Give us each day our
daily bread." Luke 11:3 NIV)

Do we only seek Him when we need help, or are we praising
Him and thanking Him in the good times? ("I will extol the
LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips."
Psalm 34:1 NIV)

Are we being obedient? ("If you do what is right, will you
not be accepted?" Genesis 4:7 NIV)

When we look at our resources - our time, talent, and
treasure - what portion does God get? In looking at
Genesis 4:3-5, we see that Cain brought some of his fruits
as an offering. Abel brought fat portions as his offering.
Are we really giving God the best that we've got?

When do you give to God?

We can also refer to Cain and Abel in looking at our
timeliness with giving to God. Back in Genesis 4:3-5, we
see that Cain brought his offering in the course of time.
To me, this sounds like Cain got to God when it was

Although the Bible doesn't give us much detail, we can just
think about Cain's gift in terms of how we might take care
of some things in our lives. We all have those projects
that we just really don't want to do.

So, we might do a little bit now, and then put it off for
awhile. We only pick it back up because someone mentions
it or because we feel guilty that it is still unfinished.
But we're just not all that excited about working on it or
getting it done. These are the projects that we work on
when all the good, fun stuff is finished.

Abel's fat portions were from the firstborn of his flock.
For Abel, God was not an afterthought. Abel was blessed by
God, and he gave back to God right away.

Is God at the front of our minds? Is He our first thought
when we realize that our eyes have opened and that we've
been given another day? When opportunities arise to help
others, do we offer to help, or do we make people wait
until it is convenient for us? When we are blessed
financially, are we tithing off of the top? Matthew 6:33
tells us to "seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness."

How can the clay get upset with the potter?

Many studies reference the concept of the potter and the
clay in terms of our relationship with God. It is very
appropriate here, as well. Isaiah 29:16 says, "Shall what
is formed say to Him who formed it, 'He did not make me'?
Can the pot say of the potter, 'He knows nothing'?" (NIV)

Let's remember our place. We are God's creation. We were
designed by Him to bring Him glory. The things of this
world that we enjoy are gifts from God. They are gifts,
not obligations. God owes us nothing. Why would we
question our creator when things are less pleasurable than
we are comfortable with?

In fact, Jesus warned us that we would have trouble in this
world. John 16:33 says, "In this world you will have
trouble." (NIV) We will face these hurdles at home, in our
relationships, on our jobs. But Jesus didn't stop there.
John 16:33 continues, "But take heart! I have overcome the
world." (NIV)

Hallelujah! With this in mind, let's all approach life
differently than we have in the past.

Ozeme J. Bonnette is a financial coach, speaker, and the
author of Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to
Managing Your Finances. After working for a top financial
services firm, she shifted her focus to teaching and
speaking to groups and organizations working to increase
financial literacy in the U.S. She earned 3 Bachelor's
degrees at Fresno State and an MBA at UCLA's Anderson
School. Find her at .

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Body of Resurrection

Paul anticipates a question on the minds of some
Corinthians, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of
body do they come?" (1 Corinthians 15:35). The Greek word
translated "body" here is "soma," not "sarx," which
suggests that the question is not simply about individual
flesh, but concerns a range of meanings related to the word

"Body: the body both of men or animals, 1. a dead body or
corpse, 2. the living body, a. of animals; 2. the bodies of
planets and of stars (heavenly bodies); 3. is used of a
(large or small) number of men closely united into one
society, or family as it were; a social, ethical, mystical
body, a. so in the NT of the church; 4. that which casts a
shadow as distinguished from the shadow itself" (from The
New Testament Greek Lexicon).

Paul then answered the question in 1 Corinthians 15:44,
"there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."
He treats the issue of bodily resurrection in the same
general way that he treated the issue of the body of Christ
in 1 Corinthians 10 & 12.

"The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a
participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we
break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1
Corinthians 10:16).

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all
the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it
is with Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12).

"God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as
he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body
be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body" (1
Corinthians 12:18-20).

"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of
it" (1 Corinthians12:27).

We must remember that Paul has been speaking about the
unity of the body of Christ and the fact that we are parts
of Christ's body. We must not limit our understanding to be
narrowly focused on individual human bodies of flesh and
bond, but must encompass the fullness and wholeness -- the
unity -- of the body that is the subject to which Paul has
been speaking. We must understand ourselves to be members
or parts of a greater whole, a greater body, the body of
Christ. This, I believe, is the gist of Paul's argument

Paul argues for two kinds of bodies -- natural and
spiritual. However, Paul does not argue from the
perspective of dualism. Rather, his argument issues from
Trinitarianism. Consequently, it is shrouded in mystery in
that we cannot understand it completely, though we can --
through the grace of regeneration -- understand it

The question that Paul deals with here pertains to the
nature or character of the resurrection body. What kind of
body is it? How does resurrection work? Some of the
Corinthians thought that they might be better able to
believe in resurrection if they understood how it worked,
if they understood the nature or character of resurrection
existence. People today testify to a similar concern by
suggesting that they would believe in Jesus Christ or
become a Christian if only Christ would appear to them
personally, or if Christ would just perform a bona fide
miracle in their presence. They say something like, "Show
me the truth and reality of Christ's miracles and I'll

But that is not the way that it works. Salvation is not the
result of or the culmination of an argument. People are not
argued into the kingdom of God. People do not decide to
become Christians because they finally understand the
truth. People do not decide to become Christians because
they finally understand reality or God or Jesus Christ from
a Christian perspective.

Rather, arsy varsy, people are able to see the truth or to
see reality from a Christian perspective only because God
has first changed their hearts and minds. People begin to
see or understand truth and reality from a Christian
perspective only after God has given them ears to hear and
eyes to see, only after regeneration. Only by actually
standing on the promises of God can people see that God's
promises are absolutely reliable. Prior to actually
stepping out on the promises of God, all personal knowledge
of God is mere speculation and hearsay. Such knowledge
(speculation and hearsay) is unreliable because it issues
from faithlessness and unbelief.

Phillip A. Ross has been a pastor for over 25 years and is
the author of many Christian books. Loaded with information
about historic Christianity, Ross founded in 1998. In 2008 he wrote a
book that demonstrates the Apostle Paul's opposition to
worldly Christianity. It is titled Arsy Varsy -- Reclaiming
the Gospel in First Corinthians.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Inspirational Bible Verses about Perseverance

The Bible has a wide variety of inspiration verses, on a
number of different topics, many of which are perfect for
our current set of economic and social difficulties. When
I need something to pick me up, I always turn to the Bible
and read what it has to say about perseverance to help get
me out of my current slump. In America today, perseverance
is something that's definitely under-appreciated by
society. That's too bad, since we've seen time and again
that having a persevering mentality and spirit can really
be the difference in finding your dreams and not finding
them. I know of many people with gifted talents and
abilities who, somewhere along the line, gave up
persevering toward their dreams. That makes me afraid,
knowing how easy it is to give up.

The following are a few excerpts of Bible verses about
perseverance that have greatly inspired me in the past to
keep my nose to the grindstone and follow my dreams. My
favorite comes from 1 Corinthians 9:24.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run but
only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to win the

The phrase that comes to mind here is Carpe Diem, or Seize
the Day. All of us are running the same race, but only one
runner wins the prize. When the day is done, it doesn't
make much difference whether you actually won the prize or
not. Running with all your might is really where success
is found. That's perseverance.

Another verse on perseverance that I've always really loved
comes in Galatians 6:9.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper
time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

That's a good verse for anyone who diligently goes about
doing the right thing without getting recognized. There
are many positions of authority, many jobs in the spotlight
that people love because they get recognized for the good
that they do, and are respected for it. According to the
Bible, they've already gotten their reward. But those of
us who aren't in the spotlight, who keep doing what the
Lord would have us do even when it doesn't look like it's
doing any good, this is the perfect verse. Don't give up.

I really enjoy both of these verses because neither of them
directly uses the word perseverance. It's easy to do a
word study and find out everything the Bible has to say
about a certain word like perseverance. But it's also easy
to miss those inspirational verses that carry the same
spirit but don't actually use the same terminology.

My last verse about perseverance is found in Hebrews 12:1.

"Therefore, since we have been surrounded by such a great
cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that
hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us
run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Again, the same word picture of a race. I like this
particular verse because it gives the reason why we can
persevere. "Since we have been surrounded by such a great
cloud of witnesses." If you find yourself unable to
persevere, maybe you're around the wrong company. Maybe
you need to find some like-minded people who will encourage
you in a better direction.

I hope you found some inspiration through these Bible

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Live Christ's Abundant Life and Receive Life-Changing Personal Growth and Spiritual Power

Gospel Tips by Roger Himes, The Gospel Coach

The gospel of the New Testament is the greatest
life-changing, personal development and personal growth
system ever seen. It is the gospel that Jesus came
preaching. The time everyone had been waiting for was
fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God was at hand. Thus, the
first sermon of Jesus was, "Repent and believe the gospel"
(Mark 1:14-15).


This was a monumental statement Jesus made. Every preacher,
prophet and Pharisee preached, "Repent from sin." This was
still the message of John the Baptist, the predecessor to
Jesus (see Mark 1:4). But Jesus totally changed the focus
from repenting from sin — to repenting from wrong

Everything begins with belief. If you want to experience
true spiritual growth, you will begin with gospel belief.
Throw everything else out. This is what 'repent' means:
totally change your mind. The gospel is all about God. Paul
refers to it as 'The testimony of God.' It's all about
positive believing. Paul calls it "being transformed by
the renewing of your mind" (Rom 12:2).


The Old Testament was a behavior code, but not the New. NO
one could live by the impossible dictates of the Old (Acts
15:10). God gave those dictates and laws so that we would
learn that we could NOT live by them. Instead, we should
turn to the power of living life in the gospel that Jesus
was to bring — the abundant life of Christ (John
10:10). Religion, in the form of the Old Testament, demands
that we live life right, but the gospel is the power of God
that enables us to live life right (Rom 1:16).

This is why Jesus came preaching it. The gospel produces
and abundant, empowered life. Haven't you ever wondered why
Jesus says, "My way is easy"? (Matt 11:28). And it's a life
of being victors, not victims — of being overcomers
not overcome. I have been living a gospel-charged life
since 1990. I'm celebrating my 20th anniversary this year,
so I know it works.

The Old Testament was dominated by The Tree of Knowledge of
Good and Bad — followed by the law of God that wiped
everyone out, thus producing an IMPOSSIBLE life. People
could not possibly do all the good they should, and refrain
from all the bad they should. The gospel changed all
things. This is why Hebrews calls this total 'Reformation.'
Paul says, "Old things have passed away; behold, ALL things
are new" (II Cor 5:17).

This is why he calls us NCICs (I pronounce it 'Nick')
— new creations in Christ. It as being a GodMan
— a mixture of God and man. The gospel makes us into
a whole new SPECIES.


Jesus says it: "Many will say the Old is better." Today,
too many Christians still try to live by the Old Testament,
or by mixing the New with the Old. This spells total
wipe-out. Jesus also warns us: "Don't pour New wine into
Old bottles." But the mind and heart of man does it anyway.
What can I say? We call it 'theology' — man's ideas
about God. When you finish reading this. . . click here to
DIG DEEPER into all of this, and see what happens inside of

Religion focuses on behavior. The gospel focuses on belief:
"Repent of all other beliefs, and believe the
gospel"(that's my paraphrase). Religious people never learn
that good behavior will never produce correct belief,
— but correct belief will eventually produce good

If you will keep reading these Gospel Snapshots, you will
discover that the power of gospel belief will totally
transform your life in every way for the better. It
produces good roots in us that in turn produce good fruit
(good behavior) in everyday life (Col 1:5-6).


Minister, Counselor, Lawyer, Life Coach.
By gospel coaching, you can live life at least 50% in less
than a year -- because of God's enabling power in the
finished work of the cross!

Send email to:
Recent GOSPEL TIPS are available on the website.

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