The Bible is filled with practical application to living, but let’s just start with three, and today, we’ll focus on number one — literally, number one — the most important commandment of all: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) In the Bible, when something is repeated on a regular basis, it’s generally because it’s important, and this statement is made by Jesus, who adds “with all your mind,” in...

by School Of Life on 24 September 2017

Words are powerful, but not in the way prosperity preachers or New Age advocates claim. While words themselves do not convey any ability to create reality, simply because we utter them (e.g., “I CLAIM this blessing!”), they affect those around us because they soothe and heal, or they hurt and damage. Every day, regardless of what our job is, and whether or not we are involved in an official “ministry,” Christians have an opportunity to touch people’s souls by, literally and figuratively,...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

Many Christians, especially in church settings, focus — obsess — about finding their ministry, and they pore through 1 Corinthians 12 searching for suggestions: “Do I have faith? or a message of wisdom? I’m pretty sure I don’t have the ability to manifest miraculous powers. What, God, do you want me to DO?” It’s a profound question, and one that we ourselves can answer without buying yet another how-to book from a Celebrity Christian. Rather, let’s look at Scripture, pray, and...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

Too many of us are acquainted with the word, backsliding, which, in its purest form, means to lose one’s resolve to follow a chosen path. A recovering alcoholic who re-enters the bar circuit is an example — surrounding oneself by temptation, and resuming behavior that one is trying to overcome, isn’t a particularly successful business plan. Within Christianity, backsliding applies, theoretically, to believers who no longer walk the narrow path of following Christ, reading His word, listening...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

Sixteen years ago, my husband the Norwegian Artist and I had an improbable dream: we wanted to find a place in the country and raise our kids there. I say improbable because 1) we had four kids and 2) we lived on one extremely moderate income. Most people we knew had half the amount of progeny and twice the number of jobs, and they were barely making it: lower middle class families with too many children need not apply for improbable dreams. But the dream wouldn’t go away. Early in our search,...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being told, at every store I enter or order from online, that I am receiving the lowest prices — ever! The statement is made so much and so sweepingly, that I don’t remotely believe it, and when at Store B — with the lowest prices in town — I found three items that were priced higher than Store A — also with the lowest prices in town, I was hardly surprised. But that’s okay, because three of Store A’s lowest prices in town were higher than...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

Fear is one of Satan’s best weapons, because it’s relatively inexpensive. For a minimal outlay, Satan — who generally works through the assorted people on this planet who love him, worship him, or have sold themselves to him for whatever it costs to buy them — wields control over good people who fear the things that might happen, or could happen, but don’t necessarily have to happen. That’s the beauty of it: in a small town or big city, the sheriff’s deputies or city police can burst...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

If you read the Gospels at all, at some point you’ll run into the temptation of Jesus, by Satan, in the desert, since the story is in three out of four of the books (Matthew 4: 1-11; Mark 1: 12, 13; and Luke 4: 1-13). Like many accounts in the Bible, it’s easy to read through these quickly and say, “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen that before,” and not slow down to focus on what the passage is saying. What it’s saying, however, is pretty important to us, because it shows us the three major ways...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

How to get to heaven is a piece of information that from the beginning of time, humanity has wanted to know. The rich young ruler of Matthew 19:16 – 29 (Mark 10: 17 – 30, Luke 18: 18 – 30) asked Jesus, “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Nicodemus, a religious leader, visited Jesus secretly at night and circumspectly touched upon the topic, something that should comfort the rest of us ordinary, non-leadership type people, because as Jesus observed, “You are Israel’s...

by School Of Life on 22 September 2017

We serve a God who does impossible things. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, had a baby when she was 90 years old (Genesis 18, 21). The Israelites escaped the Egyptians by walking through the parted Red Sea — with the pursuing Egyptians drowning when the waters crashed back together (Exodus 13, 14). The walls of Jericho fell on the seventh day, after the Hebrews walked around the city seven times, blew a trumpet, and shouted (Joshua 6). We haven’t even mentioned Jesus and all the many miracles He performed. God,...

by School Of Life on 22 September 2017