Archives For hope

My latest article is up on the Covenant Eyes blog:  When it Feels Like You’ve Been Irreparably Damaged by Porn 

Here’s why I’m analyzing Joel Osteen’s Ministry.

Here’s the Facebook blurb we’ll be analyzing today:

joel osteen prisoners of hope*Is this from the Bible? (If so, where? If not, what part of the Bible contradicts it?)

I never like it when people say “The Scripture tells us…” but they don’t give a reference.  This is a good indicator that they are about to take something out of context.  Something Joel does in spectacular fashion here.  The “prisoners of hope” verse Osteen is referring to is from Zechariah 9:12 (as that phrase isn’t used anywhere else in Scripture), Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.  Technically, this verse isn’t telling us or anyone else to be prisoners of hope, it’s simply identifying an existing group of people as prisoners of hope.  But that’s minor compared to what Joel is actually trying to do with this text.  Continue Reading…

My friend Rodney McNary wrote this–I hope it’s helpful and gives you peace as you go through life’s storms:

Shortsighted and unwise, people call men “happy” when life goes well with them, when they are prosperous, cheerful, or loved by relations and friends, and the sun is shining. People with these kinds of circumstances, however, may not necessarily be blessed.

The word “blessed” implies abiding joy. Outward prosperity cannot give it; nor adversity, pain, affliction or trials. It is like the depths of the ocean where the surface is always changing. Sometimes it is calm and without waves.  At other times, it is tossed back and forth by restless winds, while far and deep below there is a continual, consistent changeless silence, rest, and peace. Blessedness is not an outward ornament of life. It is a gift to mankind, for God gives it to him. What God gives cannot be taken away by the chances and changes of our lives.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

My post yesterday about how Jeremiah 29:11 is not a promise to us and needs to understood within its original context raised some good questions relating to the Old Testament and how we are to navigate which promises in the Bible are for us, and what to do with the ones that aren’t.

I went ahead and added this into yesterday’s post after hearing the questions raised, but I thought it would be better served for more readers to include it in a fresh post as well:

Applying Jeremiah 29:11 like God was promising it to you as an individual would be like if your friend was on the phone with the cable company and you’re upstairs, unaware of the conversation.  Continue Reading…

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

You’ll find Jeremiah 29:11 in many places.  I once wore it on a bracelet as a teenager.  It was on a poster on our children’s ministry door at church.  My wife had it on our fridge for years, written on an index card.  It’s one of the most memorized and cross-stiched verses of all time!

It’s also one of the most taken out of context verses of all time… Continue Reading…