Ways you can live simpler to ease your life .

Downsize

It seems that as we get older, we begin to accumulate things. These things begin to eat up our time. One example is a man I know who has a Harley, a boat, and two cars. He spends so much of his time providing maintenance on these possessions that his possessions end up possessing him and his time. He admits he has too much on his plate, but he still isn’t willing to simplify his life by cutting back on his possessions.

Unplug

Why not have a media fast? What I mean is to just unplug from the world and get away from all the electronic devices. A pastor I know took one day a week to completely unplug from the world. The only thing he would have to do with electronics was to answer a phone call, but this was only during emergencies. The next week he tried three days with no media, phone, Internet, TV, or anything that needs electricity. What he discovered was he suddenly had more time on his hands to just sit back and read a good book or sit on the front porch and drink his coffee.

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Delegate

If your plate is so full during the week that you are frantically trying to catch up on the weekends, you don’t need a bigger plate; you need to delegate some of what you have. A man I know who is currently caring for his mother gets frustrated because his brothers and sister won’t help him. He finally spoke to them at a holiday gathering and told them he needs help. It was only then that some of his other family members offered to take some of the load off of him. He wouldn’t have reached this point if he didn’t ask.

Declutter

I finally started decluttering my home office and garage. If I saw something I hadn’t used in over a year’s time, I either gave it away, sold it, or trashed it. Why did I still need a broken-down lawnmower, a recliner that was well worn, and a host of other things? When I finally starting tossing things, I discovered I had a lot more room to park the car. Now it’s a lot easier for me to find things in my garage when I need them. I did the same thing in my closet. If I hadn’t worn something in over a year’s time, then I wasn’t ever going to wear it; so thrift store, here I come.

Eliminate Impulse Buying

I don’t buy things unless it is absolutely necessary. However, there are times when I buy something only on impulse and then later ask myself,  “Why did I buy that when I don’t even use it or need it?” When you are tempted to buy on impulse, ask yourself if it is necessary. Can you get by without it? Is this something that will help others or only you?

Limit Commitments

I have finally learned to say no. What I mean is that when I get asked to do something, I have to count the cost and see if I have time to commit to whatever it is I am asked to do. There really is wisdom in saying no to those things that are not productive but also those things that create such a busy schedule that I do a poor job at some things just because I have to rush to the next commitment. I have learned to say no, and it feels great.

Conclusion

Maybe you can suggest some ways we can declutter or simplify our lives. I need all the help I can get, but I discovered that I needed to downsize, unplug from the world once in a while, begin to delegate to others, get rid of things I don’t use, stop buying things on impulse, and begin to say no to some things that I know will eat up my time.

Ways God Can Speak to His Heople.

Through the Bible

The most obvious way God speaks to us is through His holy Word, the Bible. When people ask about finding the will of God for their lives, I point them to the Scriptures. If we want to know the mind of God so we can know the will of God, we can read the Word of God because God speaks to us through His written Word. Even though it seems obvious, we can’t overlook the fact that the Word of God is the very breath of God and Him speaking to us.

Through Other People

There are times when in my dullness of hearing or understanding, someone will come up to me and say something that I hadn’t even considered. I want to remain humble and listen to others because there are times when people are moved by God’s Spirit to tell me something. And when it aligns with Scripture, I had better listen. I am mentoring a young man, but I also have a mentor, a retired senior pastor, who tells me the truth. Even if it wounds me, I know that “faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6).

Through Our Hearts

When God whispers something to me, deep within the recesses of my heart, and I am convicted by it, I am often moved to act. God does speak to us through His written Word and through others. He also He speaks to us in our hearts. God can discern every thought, intent, and motive of our hearts, and nothing is hidden from Him (Hebrews 4:13). When God speaks to my heart and it is not contrary to Scripture, then I know it must be from God.

Through Prayer

God does hear and answer our prayers, so we know God does speak through answered prayer, whether it be “no, not yet” or “I have something better for you.” God knows what we need before we even ask, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ask. God can use people, circumstances, His Spirit, and His Word (maybe all four!) to speak to us. But prayer is us speaking to God, which allows Him to speak to us in various ways, ways that must match what is written in Scripture.

Conclusion

I have concerns when people say, “God spoke to me and told me you’re supposed to do this or that.” My question is why would God not choose to speak to me first and instead use someone else to do it for me? Why would God use a third party to reach me? Isn’t God capable of communicating to me by His Spirit and in His Word? That’s why I am very suspicious of someone telling me I should do this when I haven’t even heard it from God? It’s like someone showing up at your door and giving you a message from someone you already know. I would ask why they didn’t call me themselves.


Ways that we might unknowingly push our children and people under us away from God.

Duplicity

There may be no greater way that parents push their children away from God than by professing Christ but not living it. I am reminded of a time when a child was told to answer the phone and tell the person that mom was not there. What does this tell the child? It seems to give them permission to lie, and children learn early on that lying is okay in some circumstances. When parents behave one way at church and then live totally different lives at home, children can see through that hypocrisy or duplicity a mile away. This drives them away from “religion” but also away from God.

Pushing Them Toward God

It’s ironic that when we push our children toward God and into a relationship with Him, we can push them away from Him. Jesus never forced Himself on anyone but only said, “Follow Me” (Matthew 16:24), not “You had better follow Me.” When parents are trying to put pressure on their children to be saved, they might cause a false conversion by their caving into their pressure just so the parents will get off their backs, or they might say they’re saved just to please their parents. But parents make a poor imitation of the Holy Spirit and can do more harm than good when they try to force their children into being saved. Let the Spirit of God convict them of their sins. It’s not a parent’s job to save them but only to point them to Christ.

The Hand Off

When parents abdicate or give up their role as their children’s primary spiritual teacher and hand off all that responsibility to a Sunday school teacher or a youth leader, they are giving up the greatest influence their children will ever have, which is his or her parents. What happens is that the Sunday school teacher’s or youth leader’s opinions are held in greater esteem than the parents’ opinions in spiritual or biblical matters.

Unfair Comparisons

When parents try to compare their own child with other children, the child might feel inadequate in the eyes of his parents. If parents say, “Look how good Jacob is at church, and see how well he behaves,” then they are sending their child the message that he is to be more like Jacob and not more like God. Also, when he sees the parents brag on another child and not him, then he’ll feel like a failure, which might even make them give up on trying since “when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Conclusion

A great way that I was told to help children stay in the faith or come to Christ and be saved is to remind them of the great things God has done in the past so they can trust God with their future. The Old Testament command for parents remains the same today, as parents and grandparents are told, “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth” (Deuteronomy 11:19-21).

four Psalms that can give comfort to those who are anxious.

Psalm 94:18-19 “When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”

Speaking for myself, I’ve slipped many, many times but God had His hand under me so I wouldn’t fall. He is our consolation and He alone can “cheer my soul” and yours. When you have slipped or started to fall or even fallen hard, trust God for you can say, “O Lord [You] held me up.”

Psalm 103:13-14 “As a father shows compassion to his children so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”

What a tender Psalm is Psalm 103. It shows the compassion and heart of God and reveals His deep care and concern for “those who fear him.” He ought to know our frame better than anyone since He created us and He realizes “that we are dust.”

Psalm 34:17-18 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

It’s not a matter of “if” the righteous cry for help” but as the psalmist said, “when.” The Lord will hear when we cry out to Him and He promises to deliver us out of all of our troubles; He just doesn’t say when. He is nearer to the brokenhearted and crushed is spirit because they are humbled and God resists the proud and will give His grace only to the humble (James 4:6). Psalm 34 is where you’ll find much comfort if you’re experiencing a season of anxiety but God declares through the psalmist that “The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned” (Psalm 34:22). That should give the anxious comfort.

Psalm 32:7 “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; You surround me with shouts of deliverance.”

Can you imagine being surrounded by enemies? David ran for his life for almost 12 years and he knew full well about being preserved from trouble and finding a hiding place in God. Think of David’s deliverance when you are experiencing times of anxiety.

Conclusion

Think of David’s deliverance when you are experiencing times of anxiety.God is so faithful to His Word and almost all of the psalms are places we can turn to when we feel like things are crashing down around us. Trust God, open His Word, and take comfort in Him for He alone can deliver.


Ways You Can Support A Friend During Hard Times.

Here are five ways that you can support a friend during hard times.

Pray for Them

One of the best things you can do for a friend who is going through hard times is to pray for them. The fact is, we are commanded to pray for one another, and how much more so for our friends and family! James writes, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). Try doing this: Tell them “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Eph 1:15), and do it often. Give thanks for them to God and let them know it.

Encourage Them

You don’t have to look hard for a Bible verse that tells us we should be encouraging one another, and this is just what the Apostle Paul wrote; “encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”(1st Thess 5:11). Our lives should be about building others up, because the world and its problems to are beating them down; just like it does us at times. This is a critical time for you to be there for your friend. Don’t say “Wow, you really got yourself in a mess” but rather, “What can I do to help? I am praying for you already.” The essential definition of the word “encourage” in the Greek (“parakaleō”) means “to call to one’s side” or to be “side by side,” so let’s come alongside them in times of sorrows as well as joys.

Give time to Them

We all are pretty busy. If I took a survey, I’d guess that the majority would raise their hand if I ask them, “Are you busy?” Welcome to my world too! The point is; time is valuable to us so, why not give the gift of time to your friend who’s going through a very hard time right now. You can bring them supper, you can send them cards/flowers, mow their lawn, baby sit their children, or any number of things you can think of that are probably better than my ideas. We all have these three to give; Our time, talents, and treasures, but there are times when the thing your friend needs the most is you!

Be understanding of Them

The Apostle Peter gives a good example about understanding the differences in others by writing “husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman” (1st Pet 3:7). Even though this verse is about the marital relationship, it can make us think that every one of us are different and have weaknesses and probably do things that irritate people, and we’d want people to be understanding of how we are. The point is, when you understand more about what your spouse, your friend, your family member, or your co-workers are going through, you can have a relationship that is more understanding of their circumstances. When your friend is going through some hard times, they need a friend that would more understanding than anyone else. That would be you (and me), right?

A Familiar Comfort

If we see our friend in a hard place, we need only remember our own “dark night of the soul.” We’ve likely gone through some of the same things our friend is going through and that’s as it should be. God is at work. He has sovereignly placed our friends in our life. They’re no accident! God appointed them for us and us for them. As for comfort, the Bible says it is God “who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2nd Cor 1:4). Can we remember the times God comforted us, perhaps even using a friend? That’s real comfort, and since we should be familiar with it ourselves, we can give the very same kind of comfort to our friend. How great is that!

Conclusion

There are other things that you can probably think of to help a friend going through some very hard times. I know that it’s often difficult to know what to say and sometimes, like Jobs friends, they just sat there with him for a time. I don’t know the answer; just pray for them and tell them you are; encourage them as best as you can without overdoing it; giving of “you” and your time is very important; you know them so you can understand them better than others; and comfort them in the way God comforted us.

May help us all.


Why would a good God allow His children and others to suffer?

The Problem of Suffering

A man who was very aggressive about his atheistic beliefs once asked me, “Why does God allow all this suffering in the world if He is God?” For one thing, God gave us the freewill to choose what to do, and if He stopped evil, He would be destroying freewill in most cases. Remember, mankind rejected God’s rule over them, and they decided to choose for themselves the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3), so God is not the reason for suffering in the world. I say to my atheist friend, “Okay, you believe there is no God. Since there is no God, then it is humans who are responsible for suffering in the world, right?” Who else is there to blame but mankind, and in fact, mankind is the very reason there is suffering in the world, so even though mankind is responsible for all of the suffering in the world, God can use evil for good (Gen 50:20), so even suffering can bring about much good.

God’s Will to Suffer

There is suffering that comes as a result of our own causes, but then there is suffering we and others go through that is no fault of our own. And then there is suffering for being a Christ-follower as the Apostle Peter wrote, “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1st Pet 3:17). Even more, Peter writes, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1st Pet 1:6-7). Suffering allows us to give comfort to others the very comfort we received from God. It is God “who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (.2nd Cor 1:4). Isn’t that a good reason to suffer? We can “pass on” this same comfort to those around us. In this way, suffering is never wasted and always has a purpose, just as the Apostle Paul wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). All things means everything that happens, suffering included, works out for the purposes of God, and that always means it is what is best for us.

Suffering Causes Reflection

A person who is broken by suffering is a heart that is open to God. In our prison ministry, many of these men are crushed by the consequences of their actions. They have come to the end of themselves. Their backs are now against the wall, but that’s good, because that is when God can finally step in and penetrate the stony heart, and by His Spirit, create in them a new heart and desire for God (2nd Cor 5:17-20). Feeling crushed lately? Consider this; “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18), so if that’s you, you’re nearer to God than most of us are, and isn’t that a good thing? What if suffering brought us closer to God in order to become more holy like God? It seems that afflictions can humble us to the point that we’re open to the gospel and have a renewed desire to live in obedience to God. By the way, how can we compare the gift of eternal life to a few years in prison? What is that against eternity (Rom 8:18)? What is the price of a human soul compared to the world’s possessions? It is infinitely more valuable than anything. You can use your suffering experience as an evangelistic tool to help other people see their need for the Savior. God will use your sins and consequences to help others see that God gives His grace only to the humble (James 4:6), so in this way, that’s why God allowed you to suffer.

Praise Him in the Storm

I remember the account of Jesus sending out His disciples in a boat, and that was with Jesus likely knowing that they were heading into a storm. Jesus not only sent them into the storm, He met them in the storm. He even rebuked the storm, because He is the Creator of the storm, and everything else (John 1:1-3). Jesus sent them into the storm but He sovereignly brought them out of it. He may not bring you around a storm, over one, or even under a storm, but He will be with you in the storm, whether you feel like He’s there or not. During great times of suffering, many of the greatest ministries are birthed. Great pain causes great passion, and this often translates into great things for the kingdom. God cannot use a man greatly until He has first wounded him deeply. Of course, the same thing applies to a woman of God. Amazingly, George Mueller built a series of orphanages and never once asked for money to help provide for the children. He trusted God, even on one night, when at supper time, there was nothing there on the table…until that knock on the door, and someone who felt moved to bring them some food said, “they had more than enough.” That phrase kept being repeated; “more than enough,” meaning there was always more than enough for the children. It was like George Mueller’s cup was running over (Psalm 23:5) being poured out by God’s sovereign hand. And He uses others as a means to do that. God is most pleased when we praise Him in the storm or seasons of doubt. Perhaps we could ask Him in our suffering: “God, how can I most glorify You in this suffering I’m going through, because You are most worthy to be glorified in all things, good and bad.” The pastor who missed church from a flat tire would have never had the chance to witness to the police officer that pulled over to assist him. That momentary suffering, although not that bad, was still used by God, as He used the pastor as a means to share the gospel to the Highway Patrol officer. Isn’t the potential of a new child of God worth that momentary affliction like a flat tire? Of course it is!

Conclusion

When someone asks you, “Where was God when all of this suffering took place in that earthquake” (or whatever else it was), say, He was in the same place when His One and only Son, Jesus Christ, took upon Himself the sins of the world, and died for the guilty (Rom 5:6-7), although He was perfectly innocent and sinless. There He suffered the most excruciatingly painful and most humiliating death there was, and that was the shame of the death on the cross. Jesus suffered and died for you. This was the greatest example of why God allows suffering.

common tactics of Satan or demons that can help us know our enemy.

What are four

Discouragement

If someone becomes discouraged, they quit trying. That brings them no closer to the finish line and it stops their personal spiritual growth. That is not God’s will (2nd Pet 3:18). That’s not an option. Plants and vegetation can tell us a lot about ourselves. Whatever is not growing, is dying. Discouragement is a tactic of Satan or demons to get you to pull the plug on life or on your faith. Don’t fall for it. Know your enemy.

Deception

ven a half-truth is a whole lie and who is better at lying than Satan? Jesus said “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Ouch, Satan. You are a liar, but when we lie, we’re being more like Satan than God because God is truth (John 14:6) and cannot lie (Num 23:19; Titus 1:2).

Division

Division in a marriage can end in divorce. It gives the devil a foothold, so when you start sensing division within the church and friction between members, be aware that this is exactly what Satan wants. His tactic is to divide and conquer, and like a wise enemy, he seeks to destroy us from within. Since we know that God seeks us to be completely unified, division is at the opposite of what God wants but what Satan loves.

Did God Really Say?

We cannot trust our own feelings. Human doubt is among the most shallow, unreliable things when it comes to deciding what is true or not. Rather, believe what God says of His word through the Apostle Paul, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”(2nd Tim 3:16-17). I checked the Greek for “all” as in “All Scripture” and it means, no surprise, “all!” Don’t fall for the same tactic he used with Eve in the Garden by saying, “Did God actually say…” (Gen 3:1).

Conclusion

Try to think what Satan most desires; discouragement, which will take away the effectiveness of personal witnessing; deception, where even a half-truth becomes a whole lie; division, which turns the church in on itself; and doubt, when we start doubting God’s Word. Try to remember that what Satan loves, God hates, and you’ll know your enemy well enough to not be deceived. By all means, armor up (Eph 6).



Warning Signs of a Wicked and hardening Heart.

The eight warning signs of a wicked and hardening heart.

No Conviction

When a person begins to feel no conviction from sinning, the Spirit may not be as easily recognized next time. When we resist the conviction of the Spirit, it’s like a little tiny callous starts forming over our heart….and the more we grieve the Holy Spirit, the less we’ll feel His telling us to stop and repent of this and then confess it to God. This is very dangerous for someone who’s not a Christian but does believe in God, since, if they fall away “it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2nd Pet 2:21).

No Contentment

Whenever we start growing discontented with things in life, we are starting to harden our hearts a bit. It’s not that contentment comes naturally, because even the Apostle Paul had to learn contentment and despite beatings, stoning’s, lashes, and imprisonment, he says “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil 4:11). If anyone had a reason to be discontented in life it was Paul but he says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil 4:12). He learned it. He made a choice. When discontentment erupts into anger (which in time it will), that’s wickedness in a person’s heart.

No Affliction

How can we have been redeemed from the pit of hell and then withhold the good news from others is a mystery but some will settle into their pews and not be interested in leaving the church to bring others into the kingdom. The psalmist wrote that “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes”(Psalm 119:71). When we are no longer afflicted by this world’s evil we may be hardening our hearts. For the Psalmist, affliction was for the purpose of his learning God’s statutes because “Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word” (Psalm 119:67).

No Tears

In many Christian’s lives we have; prayers without tears, giving without sacrifice, living without fasting, profession without persecution, and prosperity without being poor in spirit. All of this while the world goes to hell. If we can’t cry for those who are perishing with tears asking God to save them, then we care more about ourselves than others. Notice I said “we” since I am not immune either.

No Brokenness

God says that He is close to those who are brokenhearted and the contrite of heart. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” God cannot fix what is first not broken and cannot fill us if we are full of ourselves.

No Humility

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, so says James (4:6) but the Greek word for opposed is “to range in battle with” or to “be at war with” so if you read James 4:6 for the way it reads in the Greek, it says “God is at war with the proud” and who wants to be at war with God? Not me! Yes, if we are full of pride, we are more like Satan than God because Satan’s pride caused him to rebel against God and our hearts are wicked if we live a life of pride.

Bonus Content

No Affection

Jesus spoke about many of the signs of His return in Matthew 24 and one of the signs would be when the love of many would grow cold (Matt 24:12). Rather than loving others, “people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud” (2nd Tim 3:2), and “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2nd Tim 3:4). Instead of having a natural affection for others, they love possessions over people. That’s why the Bible teaches that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1st Tim 6:10). Money’s not evil…loving it over God is!

Dishonoring Parents

When God gave the Israelites the command to honor their father and mother, this commandment wasn’t written exclusively to them. God expects us to honor our parents, whether they’re living or not. Someone who degrades their parents, especially after they’ve died, is breaking this commandment, and there is no promise of God for a long life on the earth (Ex 20:12). It is so important that God makes it the first of the “horizontal six” commandments, as the first four are directed to God (vertical), but the remaining six relate to our neighbors, like not stealing from them, not lying to them, and not coveting what they have. Yes, your parents and my parents made mistakes, but I’ve had more than my fair share, but the command to honor our father and mother is not conditional on their performance. It’s not based upon on how good or how bad our parents were and are, so one sign of a wicked and hardening heart is not treating your parents with honor and respect, especially in front of others.

Conclusion

God says through Jeremiah the Prophet that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it” (Jer 17:9) but God can give us a heart of flesh and take out the heart of stone. A fleshly heart is more pliable and easier to penetrate, which is just what God wants to do, but if you or someone you know starts losing the conviction of the Spirit, grows in discontentment, never afflicts themselves over their sin, never sheds a tear in prayer or for others to be saved, no brokenness, and a lack of humility, it’s time to get on your (and my) knees and repent, ask for forgiveness, and find your satisfaction in Christ. If Jesus is all you have…you have all you need.

4 Key Steps to Overcoming a Repeated Sin Habit .

Here are four key steps in overcoming a habitual or repeated sin.

Fasting

Isaiah the Prophet writes as God speaking about one of the purposes of fasting in the form of a question: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke”(Isaiah 58:6)? Fasting is a great way to see ourselves as we really are: fully dependent on God for everything, including overcoming sin and especially a repeating, habitual sin that we can’t seem to shake on our own.

Memorizing Scripture

David wrote, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you”(Psalm 119:11), which put another way is “I have memorized Scripture so that I might not sin against You.” When we are tempted to sin that same old habitual sin, recall a verse from memory, like “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14) and other such verses.

Accountability Partner

When I counsel some men who are trying to overcome pornography, I urge them to find an accountability partner with whom they will have to keep in touch weekly or several times a week and tell them how they did that week. I suggest that they find a male accountability partner who can put a password-protected filter on their computer so they can’t access graphic material from the Internet. The Bible says we need one another, we should pray for one another, and we should help one another.

Confessing our Faults

James wrote, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). When we confess our sins to others, we open up the door for them to pray for us to overcome sin; but also we are humbled when we confess our sins to others. By being openly transparent and honest and telling someone that we are battling sin, we are humbled by admitting our shortcomings; and humility is a great way to receive God’s grace since “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Conclusion

The conclusion about overcoming sin is given in Revelation 12:11 where the Apostle John writes, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” The battle is not ours, nor is the victory ours, as Solomon wisely wrote, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31), even if it’s the daily battle against sin.

Tthe eye of a needle.

What did Jesus mean when He said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven?

Question: “What did Jesus mean when He said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven?”

Answer: 
There are several different schools of thought on what Jesus was referring to in saying it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to gain eternal life (Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25). The Persians expressed the concept of the impossible by saying it would be easier to put an elephant through the eye of a needle. The camel was a Jewish adaptation (the largest animal in Israel was a camel). 

Some theorize that the needle Jesus was speaking of was the Needle Gate, supposedly a low and narrow after-hours entrance found in the wall surrounding Jerusalem. It was purposely small for security reasons, and a camel could only go through it by stripping off any saddles or packs and crawling through on its knees. The problem with this theory is there is no evidence such a gate ever existed. Beyond that, what sane camel driver would go through such contortions when larger gates were easily accessible?

Others claim that the word translated “camel” (Greek: kamelos) should actually be “cable” (Greek: kamilos). Then the verse would read that it is easier for a cable (or rope) to go through the eye of a needle. To believe this, however, brings up more problems than it solves, namely casting doubt on the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. 

The most likely explanation is that Jesus was using hyperbole, a figure of speech that exaggerates for emphasis. Jesus used this technique at other times, referring to a “plank” in one’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5) and swallowing a camel (Matthew 23:24). 

Jesus’ message is clear—it is impossible for anyone to be saved on his own merits. Since wealth was seen as proof of God’s approval, it was commonly taught by the rabbis that rich people were blessed by God and were, therefore, the most likely candidates for heaven. Jesus destroyed that notion, and along with it, the idea that anyone can earn eternal life. The disciples had the appropriate response to this startling statement. They were utterly amazed and asked, “Who then can be saved?” in the next verse. If the wealthy among them, which included the super-spiritual Pharisees and scribes, were unworthy of heaven, what hope was there for a poor man?

Jesus’ answer is the basis of the gospel: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Matthew 19:26). Men are saved through God’s gifts of grace, mercy, and faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nothing we do earns salvation for us. It is the poor in spirit who inherit the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3), those who recognize their spiritual poverty and their utter inability to do anything to justify themselves to a holy God. The rich man so often is blind to his spiritual poverty because he is proud of his accomplishments and has contented himself with his wealth. He is as likely to humble himself before God as a camel is to crawl through the eye of a needle.