Tag Archives: word

Context is Key

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Thibodeaux was driving his car past Boudreaux’s house and saw a sign out 
front that read: “Boat For Sale”.


So Thibodeaux marches up to Boudreaux front porch and raps hard on the 
door. When Boudreaux opens it

 Thibodeaux says, “Boudreaux! How long we ban frands?”


Boudreaux says, “Well………………..All our lives, Thibodeaux.”


Thibodeaux says, “Why don’t you told me you gotta boat?”


Boudreaux says, “I ant gotta boat!”


Thibodeaux says, “Da’sign say ‘Boat for Sale’.”


Boudreaux says, “Oh-No Thibodeaux! See dat old ’72 Ford pickem’up truck 
over dare?”


Thibodeaux says, “Yas, I see dat old pickem’up truck.”


Boudreaux says, “See dat ’76 Cheverlet see-dan?”


Thibodeaux says, “Yas, I see dat see-dan.”


Boudreaux says, “Well, dey boat for sale.”

Context is super important. This joke cracks me up every time because I have spoken to people just like this. I grew up in Louisiana, and my family was from Arkansas. If one of my family members was talking about “abode”, it was either a piece of wood used to build something or a winged creature with feathers that flew through the sky.

How would we know that if we hadn’t taken time to get to know that person? How could we decipher their “code” if we hadn’t looked at the context.

This may seem rather obvious, but lets look at the next example:

“Immediately after the distress of those days
“ ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. ’
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”
Matthew 24:29-30

What is this passage about? I know many people who swear that this is talking about the end of time. There is a whole theology that stems from this chapter about when Jesus returns at the end of time to set up His kingdom.

However, let’s look at the context. This passage comes in a discourse immediately following this passage:

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Matthew 24:1-3

Do you see the context? Jesus and his disciples are talking bout the destruction of the temple. They were talking about buildings being destroyed. This passage is NOT talking about the end of the world after all.

As you study the bible be sure to pay attention to context. Without it you will be easily confused.

If you’d like to study more about this or anything else regarding the salvation Jesus brings freely to you, feel free to contact me at 334-6626 or via email at mrjdobbs@gmail.com. God bless you as you study His Word.

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The Voices Inside My Head

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I’m exhausted. My family and I just got back from a 3,000 mile round-trip excursion to Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, back to Tennessee, then Missouri, back to Arkansas, then finally back to Texas. We got to see family and friends we haven’t gotten to see in a while. We got to visit with a couple of my former students – one of whom got back in January from Afghanistan. I also got to go to a marvelous Youth Ministry Conference while in Louisville. It was a time of refreshing as I gathered with 3,000 other youth ministers from around the country to get refueled for ministry.

As I was there breathing out the stressors and worries of life and breathing in the words of God I recognized just how many voices speak into our lives.

What voices speak to you each day? Someone this weekend said that the four hardest jobs in the world are politicians, coaches, teachers, and ministers. They are the jobs where everyone else thinks they can do a better job than you can, and they frequently tell you so in no uncertain terms. What voices speak to you?

Maybe your voices come from outside influences. Maybe your family tells you something about yourself. Maybe it’s your friends or co-workers. Maybe it’s media that are significant sources of the voices that convince you of certain “truths” about yourself and the world around you.

I heard a news piece just last night talking about how even the continual images of the “perfect” women in all the visible roles in media influence our young women to think that they must also look that way. There was one story of the little girl in the beauty pageant, and when she didn’t win, she asked her mom “does this mean I’m not pretty?”

These outside voices can be brutal. Perhaps they tell you that you aren’t pretty enough or smart enough or that you don’t work hard enough. Maybe they tell you that you don’t fit in.

These voices, however, are not as potent as the voices in our own heads. I’m not talking about the schizophrenic voices where we talk to ourselves out loud. I’m talking about the subtle whispers in our minds that try to define us.

“You’re a failure as a mother or father.” “You may as well give up.” “No one really cares about you.” “You have nothing of value to contribute to society.” “You’ll never be the spouse you need to be.” “It’s ok if you do that; no one will be affected by your actions.”

As we go on in our lives these voices can easily morph from whispers to shouts as we feed in to their influence on our lives. When we start believing these things they cripple our ability for forward momentum.

I’ve seen the skits where a person stands in front of the mirror and says out loud to him or herself “Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” In every skit they say it with enthusiasm, but their eyes reveal the truth that they don’t really believe what they are saying.

Many of these voices keep the dark places of our lives close by so that we don’t allow God to take over those places and eradicate the darkness. The voices keep us captive. They cripple us in our potential.

God is desperately desiring to speak a different message into your life. He wants to remind you that you are His MASTERPIECE (Ephesians 2:10). He wants you to know that when you listen to Him he will help you have the best life possible (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28). He wants you to know that you are totally worth it.

Worth what? Worth His sacrifice on the cross. God thought and still thinks that you are totally worth sacrificing Himself so that you can live eternally with Him.

We listen to these voices because we desperately want to be accepted and liked by society around us. We are constantly trying to impress the world – the created world – while the whole time the God who created that world, the Master of all existence, is trying to tell us that we are His favorite, and he already likes us. He even loves us. I once heard Jon Acuff say that “God follows our Facebook, and he likes, likes, likes!”

That’s pretty good news isn’t it? Let me challenge you. Spend more time listening to what God says about you in His word than what society said about you or even than what Satan whispers in your head. If you do this it will be much easier to combat those voices. I propose that you will even have a much brighter outlook on life. “You are more than a conqueror through Christ.” “You have been given a spirit of power, love, and self discipline.” “God will never leave you nor forsake you.” These and so many other promises are found in scripture. And when we read these promises, we also need to remember that God cannot lie.

You are awesome! God made you the way you are, and he doesn’t make junk. Satan has been trying to remold you into his likeness since you were born. It’s time to allow God to reshape you back into the masterpiece he created you to be. That reshaping can only happen when we let the voice of God be more influential than the voices of this world.

I’m on this journey with you. External voices are constantly trying to tear me down. Join with me in becoming more dependent on the voice of God than the voices of all the “haters” – even the ones inside our heads. And may our lives change for the greater because of it.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to call me at 245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you!


And You Were Wondering Why?

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I have three children, and as they grow up it is fascinating to watch them learn about the world around them. Sometimes it’s downright hilarious. So many of the things they do as they learn could easily be avoided, but for the sake of learning I allow them to experience certain things.

For example, my son might want to open a certain door in a funny way – again, he’s experimenting with his hands and his body. I warn him that if he does it THAT way he’ll hurt himself. Guess what he does. He does it anyway, and he gets hurt. That part isn’t funny.

The part that is funny is that when he gets hurt, he looks up at me with this bewildered look as if it were my fault that he got hurt. It wasn’t my fault. I tried to warn him. I tried to provide him with the skills he needed to make the right decision and avoid the pain, but he didn’t listen, so he suffered the consequences.

While I may snicker at the experiences of my son or daughter, I have to remember that we are not much better than they are. We still struggle with the same desires and temptations. Or temptations may be bigger and hold greater consequences, but underneath we suffer from the same selfishness.

I know I do it. I want to be in control of my own life. Don’t tell me what to do…I’ll figure it out.

It’s because of this natural reaction in me that I respond to God the way I do.

Do you realize that God has offered the knowledge of how to live in such a way that you have the best life possible? It’s all right there in the bible. We claim to be followers of Christ, but our lives are a mess, and we blame God or question Him about it. We do the same thing my son does to me. We refuse to listen, and then we wonder why God let the bad stuff happen.

The other day, I was listening to Don McLaughlin. He is a great speaker with many wonderful insights into the Christian life. His topic was the section of Ephesians 6 that talks about the armor of God. What he said was totally relevant to all of us.

Basically, he showed us that God has given us this armor in Ephesians 6, but so many times we want to try to live our life our way without putting on the armor. Then, things don’t work out, and we look to God for someone else to blame, when it was our fault all along.

Look at the armor: salvation, righteousness, truth, the good news of peace, faith, the Spirit through the word of God, and prayer. If we have all these things – if we pursue them, then the other things that happen in our lives will work so much better.

We cannot control how other people act, but we can control how we live our lives among those who live theirs.

I want to live with the armor on, because, truly, if you don’t have on the armor, you’ve already been taken a prisoner of war by God’s enemy.

So may you join with me in suiting up. May we begin the fight in our lives, and may the light of God’s presence be evident in us as we vanquish all the flaming arrows of the evil one through the power of God.

If you want to talk more about this armor beginning even with that helmet of salvation, then please contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at my office at 245-1611. If you’d like to simply comment on this article, you can do so at www.mrdobbs.org.

God bless you, and may we see victory as we allow God to work in and through us!


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