Sunday, July 30, 2017


Whether we talk negatively about a person or simply keep our mouth shut has little to no impact on the other person. 

But it does impact us.

While one could make the case that our negative talk runs the risk of ruining someone else’s reputation or lowering their esteem in someone else’s eyes, ultimately, the consequences fall on us alone.

More than likely, when we talk negatively about someone behind their back, the person receiving our information sees it for what it is, and takes it with a grain of salt. In other words, they take it as the gossip that it is. 

So while we were hoping to "get in good" with one person at another's expense, in reality, we may only be denigrating our self.

And seeing as how almost everyone seems to drool at gossip, rarely does anyone ever hold anyone else accountable for gossiping, because most people want to ensure more gossip will be forthcoming. Thus, we are enabled in a very bad habit that is only bound to grow worse the more we are allowed to get away with it.

Now, if it gets to the point that we gossip too much—to the point of excess at which other people actually grow uncomfortable—we may notice people beginning to distance themselves from us. In that way, we may passively be held accountable. But it most likely will not be enough to stop the gossip, and we will simply find new ears that will hear us.

Ironic that gossip, intended to raise our selves up over other people, actually does the opposite. 

Even though it is, in truth, sinning against someone else to gossip about them, it is also a sin against God. 

And, don't get me wrong, people are hurt by our gossip. But we who are in the wrong will, in the end, be hurt by it even more. God will hold us accountable, because, unlike human beings who crave gossip, God condemns it.

Gossip is lustful, luring, mischievous, teasing, sportive and serpentine, and we are artful, cagey and clever in our justification of it.

In the coming days I’ll examine why we go there, and how to stop.

copyright Barb Harwood

“He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.” Proverbs 20:19

“He who despises his neighbor lacks sense,
But a man of understanding keeps silent.
He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.” Proverbs 11:12-13

“A perverse man spreads strife,
And a slanderer separates intimate friends.” Proverbs 16:28

“A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels,
And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.” Proverbs 18:7-8

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Google Headline "Ancient DNA Counters Biblical Account of the Mysterious Canaanites" is Wrong

Several publications within the science media are reporting today that discoveries of ancient Canaanite DNA prove the Bible false. 

These reports claim that the Israelites did not wipe out the Canaanites as the Bible records. 

What the researchers and correspondents who report that research don't seem to comprehend is that the Bible, in fact, does not record that the Israelites wiped out the Canaanites. 

Therefore, the discovery of Canaanite DNA actually supports Scripture.

Now that these folks are done digging in the sand, perhaps they will find time to read the actual Biblical account. 

Read the truth about the Canaanites here:

"But examine everything carefully;" 1 Thessalonians 5:21a

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

God's Protection, Not Pride's

The process of spiritual, emotional, mental and intellectual maturity begins the moment we become disciples of Jesus Christ.

Everything that came before must be analyzed and evaluated before God, properly channeled under His guidance, and more likely than not, shed entirely.

The biggest hurdle—just as it was in our non-Christian life—will be pride.

We may be tempted to think that, since we are now on board with Christ, we have miraculously been made humble. I wish that it were so. But since our Christian faith is not “wishful thinking,” we must be real and honest about the pride that lives on in us, even after being redeemed by Christ.

We must be on guard about our innermost pride, and work with God to root it out. And one of the ways we do that is go to Scripture and read God’s take on pride and the warnings against it. This is difficult work. It is not for the faint of heart.

Thomas A. Tarrants, vice president of ministry at the C.S. Lewis Institute says,

“Truly, humility is our greatest friend. It increases our hunger for God’s word and opens our hearts to his Spirit. It leads to intimacy with God, who knows the proud from afar, but dwells with him “who is of a contrite and lowly spirit” (Isa. 57:15). It imparts the aroma of Christ to all whom we encounter. It is a sign of greatness in the kingdom of God (Luke 22:24–27).
Developing the identity, attitude, and conduct of a humble servant does not happen over night. It is rather like peeling an onion: you cut away one layer only to find another beneath it. But it does happen. As we forsake pride and seek to humble ourselves by daily deliberate choices in dependence on the Holy Spirit, humility grows in our souls. Fenelon said it well, “Humility is not a grace that can be acquired in a few months: it is the work of a lifetime.” And it is a grace that is precious in the sight of God, who in due course will exalt all who embrace it."

Pride springs from a taproot that seems to have no end. But it does have an end, and one end only: Jesus Christ.

He is the path to humility that the above quote by Tarrants talks about.

We can look at our Christian life and wonder why some of the same-old same-old emotions plague us. 

We can kick ourselves that so-and-so got under our skin yet again. 

We can find ourselves venting in an un-Christian manner, and wonder why a person or situation brings out the worst in us.

Additionally, we can ambitiously succeed in an accomplishment and run with it to the point that, weeks later, we realize we never gave God credit, and in the interim have formed a very lofty regard for ourselves that is threatening to derail our faith.

What I’ve discovered from all of this is that when pride refuses to let go of me, it’s because I’ve refused to let go of pride.

If pride is still directing traffic in my life it may be because I am still an offensive driver, promoting myself in pride, or a defensive driver, protecting myself in pride.

I think we all understand the self-promotional aspect of pride, but how is it self-protecting?

The answer is when it becomes our way of enabling feelings and behaviors that we are not yet ready to release to God because we are fearful that to do so will make us even more vulnerable than we already feel ourselves to be.

Self-protective pride nurses wounds to where we never get past them.

It warps our sense of justice, applying it only to our selves.

This sort of pride is one dimensional, frequently making mountains out of molehills, because in our swiftness to be offended we never think to ask for clarification or the meaning behind another person’s actions or statements.

The result is jumping to conclusions, presumptions and assumptions. All because we ourselves want to, because it feeds our habit of self-righteousness.

In areas of life where I could not seem to overcome issues, frustrations, feelings of inferiority and being misunderstood, it was because I was not letting God heal, transform, regenerate and redeem past experiences and relationships. 

I was not allowing myself to become the all-new creation He intends for me to become.

It has taken all of my Christian walk so far for God to grow a right spirit in me to the point that I have been able to begin to discharge the false security of self-righteousness in favor of a sincere trust in God’s righteousness.

Going forward, I’m sure to still be misunderstood, falsely accused and despised.

But now I will stop seeing it where it does not exist, and understand that God sees it too, where and when it does exist.

I no longer need to protect myself, because God, my portion, is the only perspective and affirmation that is necessary (and, I might add, beneficial). He alone is my portal through which I am able to live out Proverbs 4:23-27:

“Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.” 

Ultimate freedom in Christ means we no longer rely on our pride to protect us. We rely solely on Him, whose perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

copyright Barb Harwood

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” Psalm 46:1-3

“’Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.” Psalm 46:10-11

“Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.” Psalm 54:4

“When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

“From my distress I called upon the LORD;
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me? Psalm 118:5-6

“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:6-10

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Romance, Influence, Job and Missions

Got a spouse? There’s your romance.

Got kids? There’s your influence.

Got extended family? There’s your mission field.

Got a job? Fulfillment and purpose are within reach in your current situation, regardless.

Yet, in spite of this, many people go about their day pining for—what?—romance, missions, purpose and fulfillment!

They miss the treasure, as the Uri Shulevitz story goes, right under their nose.

And the treasure is this:

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24

Jesus Christ makes life real simple, and abundantly fulfilling, when we finally comprehend that:

Our romance, if married, is with our spouse.

Our influence, if we have children, is our children (nieces, nephews and grandchildren all count). 
Our kids belong to God, not us, and are our ministry, entrusted by God to us to raiseHis way, not our way, and for His glory, not ours.

Kind of enhances the level of respect and regard we hold for parenting in general and stay-at-home moms and dads specifically, doesn’t it?

In addition, our fulfillment and purpose, to be found in all of our Christian life, does not exclude work and place of employment. We live out Scripture there just as we do everywhere. And if we want to make a career change, we seek the Lord, testing our every motivation against His wisdom.

As for outreach, our mission, if we so choose to accept it—not impossibly, I might add—is to jump in right where God already has us.

Marriage. Family. Career. Mission.

We distract ourselves from all of it with nebulous—perhaps even stubbornly rebellious—self-defined “greater expectations.”

And in that, we distract ourselves from the Lord.

Take missions, for example.

It is disheartening to see Christians feeling “less than” simply because they are not “getting out of their comfort zone” and traveling to under-developed locales, or are not fundraising to evangelize the “98% unreached” people in exotic Spain or Italy.

I will never forget a Moody Bible professor who, when asked by a student to financially support their summer-break Australian beach Bible pamphlet ministry, responded with,

“Are you sharing the Gospel on the beaches of Chicago, where you already live?”

“No” said the student.

“Well,” he kindly and wisely responded, “After you have spent a summer sharing the Gospel here, perhaps I will support you sharing it over there.”

He’s right: our missionary journey begins right here at home, whether or not we ever leave its periphery.

And just as missionaries physically labor, listen quietly to people in pain, show up with food, or weed gardens—all without perhaps ever speaking the Gospel per se—we, too, can live the Word out locally.

In the same way, we no longer have to drive, bike or walk to work thinking:

“Is this all there is?”

“Another rote day at the office (sigh)”

“I despise this job”


“I can put up with such and such because I’m sure to get a promotion, at which point I know I’ll love my job.”

Instead, we can go to work every day with the single-minded purpose of serving the Lord.

Finally, honoring and respecting our marriages as a joy and children as a privilege (again, entrusted by God, not created by us) changes everything. 

We see those changes, even if only in our own countenance, patience and attitude, as soon as we begin to build on a Biblical, not worldly, foundation and when we operate from a place of God’s strength, not human weakness.  

This may be new for us; a spiritual paradigm shift.

But to ignore that shift and choose to merely continue on in the way we have been is to ask the question, 

“How’s that working for us?”

With Christ, we can experience a 180-epiphany, squeal to a stop and see, there in our headlights, an amazing gift: His equipping and positioning that allows us to willingly do everything as for Him, not man.

What a high calling that makes of all of life!

copyright Barb Harwood

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;” Proverbs 3:5-7a

Jesus said,

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:9-10