Man sitting on ground looking at mountains and lake

‘In his right mind’

“And they came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the ‘legion;’ and they became frightened” (Mark 5:15).

Sometimes you just can’t win. The demoniac from Gerasea (or Genneserat, see Matthew 14:34) had lived for some time in the tombs, isolated from normal society because of his bizarre behavior (Mark 5:2-5). He was rejected and feared by the villagers about him. But when Jesus cast the demons out of the man, restoring him to his right mind, the people were even more frightened. Actually their fright at this time was directed towards Jesus rather than the former demoniac, but it was this man’s now normal behavior, at least in part, that caused their reaction. Continue reading “‘In his right mind’”

Discipline in the midst of disaster

But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7, 8 NASB).

While teaching preaching students, Edwin Jones would say, “Your life is always full, choose carefully how you fill it.” We fill every moment with something. We may be productive or fruitless, contemplative or ignorant, but our time is never empty.

An interesting consequence of social distancing is that the amount of “free time” many people have has risen considerably. What do we do with that time we have? We will fill each available minute. With what will we fill it? Continue reading “Discipline in the midst of disaster”

Solutions to our distraction addiction

Are you addicted to distraction?

When was the last time you looked at your phone? How many times have you unlocked your phone this hour? This day? This week?

If you are like a large portion of society, you are addicted to distraction. Studies differ in precise numbers, but they paint a similar picture: we 1) consume too much media, 2) are on our phones too often and for too long, and 3) fail to realize the extent of our addiction.

According to Nielsen, the average American adult spends over 11 hours per day consuming media. If the amount of time lost doesn’t shock you, a study from Ofcom shows the average person in the UK checks their cell phone every 12 minutes. Continue reading “Solutions to our distraction addiction”

I know better, but . . .

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32 NJKV).

How often have we heard someone say, “I know I should not do this, but I am going to do it anyway?” Or, “I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but …” The fact is that most of us have probably done those things ourselves. Few, if any, live and act as well as they know how. Continue reading “I know better, but . . .”

Time to Execute

Plans are wonderful, but there comes a time when people must execute their plans. God blesses the effectual doers not the hearers who delude themselves (James 1:22-25). Getting the job done takes self-control. If you wish to lose weight, you must do the things that call for weight loss — watching what you eat and exercising. Talking about it won’t make much difference. Self-control is one of the elements of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). Paul told the Christians in Galatia, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” … Continue reading Time to Execute