Saturday, February 20, 2016

The True Relevance of Scripture for us Today!

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1st Timothy 1: 5   New American Standard Bible
    As I sat down to write this, a discussion I had with a seminary graduate was fresh in my mind.  The graduate's position was that knowing and understanding the cultural and historical context of scripture was vitally important to understanding scripture and that without it, we cannot fully grasp the message God wants to teach us. 
    I held to the belief that contextual knowledge was good, but what was most important was the Holy Spirit's revealing of God's Word to us.  The Bible is after all, a book of books that transcends culture and history and language.  It is either a timeless series of books or it is out of date, which many today believe.  It is either cross culturally relevant to us today, or it is completely irrelevant.
    It therefore must be read, studied, and understood not merely by 'knowledge' but by the Holy Spirit as He leads us and teaches us what He wants us to understand.  It is not for us to study it and come up with our own conclusions, but for us to read and study and ask God to reveal His Word to us by the power of His Holy Spirit.  And then once revealed, to work it out in our lives.  It is a living Word, after all! 
    As I sat considering what I was to write, I began reading in Matthew.  But as I read, the Holy Spirit kept directing me to read 1st Timothy.  And that is where the whole of this discussion must be settled once and for all.  Consider well Paul's writing to Timothy: "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."  Love is the essence of the whole of scripture as God sought to teach and lead His people.  From the very beginning, God wanted His people to love Him and walk in relationship with Him. The 10 Commandments were all about love: love of God and love of others.  If I loved others, I would not steal from them, bear false witness against them, commit adultery or kill them.  I would love them to the point of sacrifice.  Up to the teachings of Jesus and His apostles that the essence of our faith is love.  And the essence of love is Jesus Himself.
    Love cannot be taught by knowledge or by credentialed seminarians.  It is selfless sacrificial love that directed Jesus to the cross to settle once and forever the power of sin over our lives.  Love must be learned and crafted into our lives by God Himself.  We can study and dissect and discuss all we want, but God wants His people to love Him and love others, to be patient and kind, bearing others transgressions and burdens with the same love that Jesus Himself exampled.  It is love that turns the enemy into Christ's friend and makes the stranger in our midst a friend as well.  Love makes anothers interests more important than our own.
    The Bible is a living Word for us today because it speaks to our human hearts and leads us into God's paths of righteousness and love.  Cultural and historical issues are irrelevant to the believer who seeks God's life lived out in theirs.  The message is the same for us today as it was for the Parthians and Medes and Elamites, the residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, of Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, Cretans and Arabs, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes (Acts 2).  Jesus' love for mankind was what sent Him to the cross to cover our sin.
    It is a grand thing when He shows us what love can do.  Love is the only thing that truly lasts.

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.  Grace be with you.  1st Timothy 6: 20, 21  New American Standard Bible

Friday, August 2, 2013

Truth of God's Word to us!

The 'Reflections on Repentance' I sent out today has been a particularly challenging one to me.  On one hand, God is a God of grace and love.  There can be no denying that.
    But for us to dismiss the need and responsibility our Lord has put on us to be about His kingdom work in our lives, and to the lost of this world is a grave omission on our part.  Far too many of us look past the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 24 and 25 and go on believing that God will save us even if we go about living our lives on our own terms.  Yet, as I look at these teachings, we betray our Lord and ourselves by thinking this way.  For the unfaithful and unprepared, there is a notable end, and it is not one we will be happy with!
    This all seems to come down to the age old question so many wrestle with: Is God a God of grace and love and we are saved only by the finished work of Jesus on the cross, or do we have to work to gain our salvation?  As I read scripture for what God is wanting me to learn and understand, I believe the answer is 'Yes' and 'Yes' to both questions.
    'Yes,' we are saved, completely, irrevocably saved by God's love and grace poured out for us on the cross of Jesus Christ!  Without that finished work, there is no hope for salvation for mankind.  None at all!
    'Yes,' we are created for good works.  All the teachings of Jesus and His apostles clearly support this.
    A few years ago, I wrote of a 1953 Corvette, the only one still around of the first 5 made as prototypes.  The Lord showed me a very important lesson in that car while I stood admiring it.  The owner had restored it meticulously with all original parts.  It is a beautiful car, and a very valuable one.  But it has been made into a museum piece, trailer-ed from one car show to another for people's admiration.   It never gets driven.  And that is what it was designed for.
    Like that '53 Corvette, we too are created and designed to be driven, to be used of our Lord for His kingdom work.  We are to be multipliers and disciplers, always working to add to our Lord's kingdom.  Our Lord Jesus makes it clear that He finds great joy when His people, called by His name, join Him in the work of His kingdom. 
    The works we do, do not save us.  Yet, at the same time, we enter into the joy of our Lord when He finds us doing them.  Trust me, there can be no greater feeling in our lives when we know He is pleased!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Lord's Peace!

    Yesterday was frustrating for me.  The details are not important.  But what is important is what happened at one point in the afternoon.
    As I was walking out to the car after one of my appointments, I found myself in prayer.  I often pray as I go about my day, but on this occasion, I had an overwhelming sense of peace in the midst of my frustrations.  I wasn't even praying about anything specific, it was just that I was looking to our Lord and wanting to spend time with Him.  Even in the busyness of my day, I wanted His presence.  Despite my circumstances, I had peace.
    Do you spend time with Him even when you are extremely busy?
    It is one of the reasons the Lord led me back in 1999 to begin publishing the 'Daily Chew' devotions, now titled, 'Reflections on Repentance.'  Initially it was to encourage and put scripture in front of friends and family through another media.  It grew over the years quite a bit.
    But it's overarching mission was to encourage others in their own walk with the Lord, even when sometimes the articles were convicting.
    Enough said!  Now go off and spend time with Him.  Hear Him!  He alone is worthy to be praised!
Soli Deo gloria!
Kevin Haislip

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sunday, I experienced a most memorable evening with a fellow believer. In the early 1980's (33 years ago), my wife and I helped to co-lead the high school group at our church.  It was a great group, and most of the students that attended were themselves strong Christians, daily seeking the Lord and His leading in their lives.  Sunday evening, one of the members of that group from some 32 or 33 years ago flew into Dallas on a job, and he and I got together for dinner and spent quite a long time catching up.  To be fair, we have stayed in touch very loosely through the years by email as I sent out the 'Daily Chews' and they send out Christian and other issue related emails.  But we hadn't seen or talked much for probably at least 20 years.
     We talked about our families and careers.  And we spent most of the evening talking about what the Lord had done in each others lives.  Where two or three are gathered...   well the Lord showed up in a big way.
     Four of the youth in that group 32 years ago coupled together and married.  Kyle and his wife Dawn were two of them, and the stories of what God has done in their lives are rich and a great blessing to any who hear them.
     Which leads me to my point. At different times in my life, I have had the opportunity to visit with someone who goes way back in my past.  But it is a huge blessing to see how God has worked in one's life whom you knew way back when.  Fellowship is centered on the testimonies of our Lord.
     John wrote in Revelations 12:11, "And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."
     Lest we ever forget, consider this day the events of your life and what God did in you and taught you.  Tell these testimonies often, for they are the riches of our lives.   KRH

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Yesterday, I was speaking with a brother who is also an excellent writer and evangelist.  He expressed something that I too have been feeling the last 2 or 3 years: a weariness of soul.  He finds he does not have the energy and passion he used to have toward reaching out to others, or writing like he did.  Yet he still acknowledges a driven desire to reach those who do not know Jesus.
   Most of us recognize we live in very dark and uncertain times.  The society around us continues to degrade into a self-centered and even violent character and the things that even a few decades ago were considered good and wholesome are now called evil and are hated. 
   Added to that are fear-mongers who prophesy death to our way of life. They admonish us to follow them, to protect our wealth, to lay aside great quantities of food and purchase weapons to protect ourselves against those who will do us harm. The fear they espouse however is contagious and spreads rapidly. It kills our ability to trust God, to walk in joy and peace, and to tell others of His mercies and love.
   We cannot add even a single breath to our lives beyond that which God has already numbered. Yet if we should find ourselves even alone and naked, Jesus will still tell us to 'Fear Not!' and to 'Trust Him!'
   The mere fact that we can trust Him though all about us fails should give us tremendous hope and joy!  For my family and I, and my brother, though we are weary of all that is happening around us, we are also strengthened by the power of His Word and the Joy of our Salvation.
   It will not be our church that saves us.  It will not be our friends and family, or our wealth and stores laid up. Jesus is our salvation and the only one that gives peace and joy.  KRH

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The book 'Promises Kept' is now available.  It can be purchased for $14.95.  You will find it online at and can pay for it and have it shipped through Paypal with my email address .  I hope to get an excerpt of the book up online today.
    The book is entirely about what the Lord has done in our lives as He led us to adopt so many children and chronicles many of the miracles and lessons.    I wrote once that our testimonies are for ourselves, that as the Lord told Israel to remember His delivering them from Israel, so He reminds us to remember.  The book took several years of researching and writing, and even as I have been pouring through the pages to prep it for printing, I have been greatly blessed to remember all that He led us in and brought us through.  I trust you too will be blessed to read of His great works and how He leads people.

    On another note, I would appreciate any comments and thoughts about an issue I have struggled with a fair amount these past few years and seems to rear it's ugly head often here in Texas.  Please respond via email at and I will post these comments in a Daily Chew.
    The issue revolves around the issue of prosperity in the Christian life.  Many churches and pastors here in Texas proclaim the Christian life as revealing God's love for us through great prosperity, and of course the opposite of that is if one isn't particularly prosperous or not prosperous at all, it shows either that sin is present in a person's life, or great spiritual immaturity.
    I of course do not believe this at all.  While God did bless His people in the Old Testament with prosperity, I see the teachings of the New Testament to be entirely different in this matter.  As I read scripture, I see Christ teaching His disciples to follow Him, and that a disciple tends after living as Christ lived and doing what He did.  Often throughout the New Testament, the call is to deny ourselves, take up our Cross and follow Jesus as the call to the Christian.  Perhaps the best way I can say it is that the disciple of Christ is not at all concerned with what he must eat or what he must wear, what kind of house he must live in or what kind of success he must have, but rather to be entirely about the work of God, taking the gospel into the world and making disciples.  His relationship to God creates a desire and a drive to this expediency.
    Does that mean that we cannot be prosperous, or conversely that if we are not prosperous, we are sinful or immature?  There can be little absolute said except to say that God knows the hearts of saint and sinner alike.  The man/woman who is prosperous stands naked before God just as the poor.  It is their heart and deeds that God will judge, rich or poor.  I have personally met very wealthy 'Christians' who in all their efforts and conversations appeared to be entirely carnal minded.  But I have met poor 'Christians' with the same attitude.  And I have met wealthy 'Christians' who really had a heart for reaching to lost with the Good News that saved them; and the same for poor as well.  The person God blesses with great prosperity and uses it to advance Christ's kingdom to others is a blessing to Christ and His church.  He does not seek attention to himself for this deed, for he knows that Christ alone has blessed him that he can be a blessing to others.
    The issue I believe is denying yourself and taking up your cross and following Jesus.  Like John said before his execution, "He must increase and I must decrease."
    What has the Lord shown you?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Our testimonies are for ourselves!

A few years back, I felt led of the Lord to begin writing down the miracles and testimonies that have happened in my life as a gift to my children. In June of this year, I finally completed it and sent it off to my editor for proofing and further refining. The books title is 'Promises Kept' and tells of many of the great things God has done in my life as well as many of the failures and pain. But through it all, God is seen and glorified
As I wrote it, I tried to be as honest and transparent as possible, even to the point at times of being downright critical of my shortcomings and failings. Indeed, all of us, when we stop to look at our lives through an objective lens, will find fault and ill conceived choices we've made.
The editor I chose for this book is a woman who is an accomplished doctor of education and has been a dear friend of ours for as long as we have adopted. She personally knows many of the stories I write of because she helped us work through them. So it was that I asked her to write the Foreward to the book. It was short and to the point. And I have learned a great lesson from it.
As she relates, there are many stories in these pages that tell of 'rubble' in our lives. Adopting as many children as we did is not easy, nor is it advisable for most families because it often brings turmoil. But the lesson she reminded me of is as good a lesson for me as it is for any of our detractors and critics.
Don't judge before it's time. This is a scriptural lesson found in 1st Corinthians 4. God always has the last word on everything. He takes what looks bad or out of control and turns it around for His glory.
There have been many victories and many defeats and failures through the years, but in all of them, God has shown Himself faithful to us at the time and in the years that follow.
It's not about me. It's about Him!
It was good to be reminded of that.
Kevin Haislip