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Christian Living

Should You Be Part of a Spiritual Mastermind Group?

Aligning with Like-Minded Peers Can Propel You Forward on Your Christian Walk

A mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring alliance where members work together to help one another solve problems, overcome roadblocks, and move forward. I’m part of two author mastermind groups. In them we encourage and support each other as writers, propelling us forward in our craft. It’s most beneficial.

I wonder if I should apply this concept to my Christian journey, too, and be part of a Christian mastermind group. Though I’ve experienced this a couple times on a basic level from a church small group or Bible study, they’ve fallen short of what a mastermind group can provide.

Though we might want to call it by something with a less business-sounding name, what can we hope to gain from a spiritual mastermind group?

Iron Sharpens Iron

In Proverbs, King Solomon says that “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV). As we surround ourselves with like-minded followers of Jesus, we will help each other become stronger in our faith. A spiritual mastermind group can do this for us, propelling us forward on our faith journey.

Two Is Better Than One

A parallel passage, also penned by King Solomon, reminds us that “two are better than one.” If either falls, there’s someone present to pick them up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV). We need each other. God didn’t create us to be alone (Genesis 2:22).

A Cord of Three Strands

Later, Solomon writes that a three-stranded cord has great strength (Ecclesiastes 4:12). There is safety and strength in numbers. One way to realize this is through a spiritual mastermind group.

Party of Five

We also find support for this concept from motivational speaker Jim Rohn, who says “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” What better way to accomplish this by spending time with five like-minded disciples of Jesus in a spiritual mastermind group?

Align with five other like-minded Christians to form a spiritual mastermind group. Click To Tweet

Moving Forward with a Spiritual Mastermind Group

What have you done informally to enjoy these benefits that walking through life with two, three, or five can accomplish? What more could you realize if you pursued this idea with greater intention?

We can receive much benefit by partnering with another or forming a group of three. How greater the outcome could be if we align with five other like-minded Christians to form a spiritual mastermind group?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

King Solomon’s Wives: A Subtle Source of Distraction

Consider the Foreign Wives of King Solomon

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wasn’t so wise with his love life. In all he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Even worse, many of King Solomon’s wives were foreigners, something God prohibited because he feared they would distract his people from fully worshiping him (Deuteronomy 7:3).

Unfortunately, just as God feared, King Solomon’s foreign-born wives, who had vastly different views on spiritual practices, did lead him astray. They caused him to turn from God. As a result, Solomon ruined his legacy and consequently his son would lose the kingdom.

When God tells us “no,” there’s a good reason for it. Will we obey him or think we know better? King Solomon thought he knew better and things didn’t work out so well for him.

Finish Strong

Though Solomon started off well, focusing on God and honoring him, he ended poorly, turning from God and pursuing other gods. It doesn’t matter so much how we start life but how we finish (Luke 14:28-30, Galatians 6:9, Philippians 3:14. and Hebrews 12:1).

May we finish strong for God, serving as an example for others, both now and in the future.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Kings 11-13, and today’s post is on 1 Kings 11:1-13.]

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

An Army of Angels To Protect Us

The young girl gazes out into the desert. Something comes towards her. It is Solomon, her lover, traveling by carriage. He is accompanied by a protective band of weapon wielding warriors, tested and poised for whatever threat awaits them. With Solomon—and his army—she will be protected.

In a spiritual sense, this is how it is with God and us. He is coming towards us; with him, we will be protected. (That doesn’t mean there won’t be risks as we journey with him, because there will.) We will also be afforded a band of warriors, ready to battle on our behalf. In the spiritual realm, this is an army of angels.

Centuries later, Jesus tells Satan, “Don’t you know that I could ask my Father, and right away he would send me more than twelve armies of angels?” (Matthew 26:53).

While we might not see angels, we have good reason to believe that they are nearby, ready to protect us from both physical threats and spiritual foes.

Our God, who loves us, will make sure we are protected.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Song of Songs 1-4, and today’s post is on Song of Songs 3:6-8.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

More Proverbs from King Solomon

We can learn from the many wise sayings in the Bible

We consider the book of Proverbs as being a collection of wise sayings from King Solomon. This is mostly correct. However, it also includes proverbs from other people. The book opens with Solomon giving instructions to his son.

Then the king adds some more wise sayings. After that we see proverbs from other people, either compiled by Solomon or added by someone else later.

More Proverbs

Beginning in chapter 25, we encounter a section where we read more proverbs from King Solomon. However, these additional proverbs were compiled and added to Solomon’s initial writings several centuries later.

This addendum occurs under the guidance of King Hezekiah, a direct descendent of Solomon. If I count correctly, King Hezekiah is the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandson of King Solomon.

Not only does Hezekiah add Solomon’s wisdom to the book of Proverbs, he also honors his wise ancestor by doing so.

As I read through this additional compilation of Solomon’s sage advice, one passage jumps out as more familiar than the others. Solomon gives counterintuitive instructions about how to treat those who oppose us, our enemies.

He says if our enemy is hungry, feed them. If they’re thirsty, offer them water. This will benefit them, and we will receive rewards from God when we do so.

This thought-provoking instruction seems unwise. Yet at the same time it seems aligned with what Jesus might’ve said centuries later.

Paul’s Letter to the Church in Rome

If this concept seems a bit familiar, that’s because Paul quotes this proverb in his letter to the church in Rome. Paul cites this passage just after he tells the Romans to not take revenge but to turn the wrongs afflicted on them over to God.

Paul wraps up this teaching by saying that we should not be overcome by evil. Instead we should overcome evil by doing what is good (Romans 12:19-21).

Because Paul shares this verse in his letter, he elevates the importance of this proverb. This also serves as a reminder to not overlook the words of the Old Testament, including this section with more proverbs from Solomon.

The whole Bible—not just the New Testament—can help us in our walk with Jesus.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Proverbs 25-28, and today’s post is on Proverbs 25:21-22.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

God Gives Us Parents to Teach and Instruct Us

We Will Do Well to Listen to the Advice of Those God Sends to Guide Us

King Solomon opens the book of Proverbs extolling the value of wisdom and the importance of receiving wise instruction, which starts with a reverence for God.

After establishing this opening premise, Solomon begins his instruction to his son—and to us. Toward this end, God gives us parents.

Solomon tells his boy to pay attention to what his father says. Beyond that Solomon advises his son to accept what the lad’s mom teaches. The direct application is that God gives us parents to guide us. We will do well to listen to both father and mother, doing as they instruct.

We must trust God with them, believing that they—like him—want what’s best for us.

However, not everyone comes from a two-parent household. Some children live with only one parent and others, none. Beyond that, as adults, we may no longer have our parents—or parental figures—in our lives to share their wisdom and guide us through the ups and downs of living.

Trust God with Our Parents

In this respect, we can trust God to send people into our lives who can instruct and teach us. These may be our biological parents, adoptive parents, or parental figures. Beyond that consider schoolteachers, wise employers, and mentors.

Regardless of our situation, it’s up to us to listen and accept the wisdom of those who God puts in our lives. God gives us parents, along with others, to help us navigate life.

God gives us parents, along with others, to help us navigate life. Click To Tweet

Though their advice won’t be without error, we should respectfully receive it and carefully consider it. We should apply the best parts to our fullest abilities.

God gives us parents, along with others, to help us navigate life. By listening and doing what they say, we honor them—and we honor God.

Thank you, Papa, for sending people into our lives for our benefit. May we trust you with their advice, following it diligently out of respect to them and to you.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Proverbs 1-4, and today’s post is on Proverbs 1:8.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Who Was Supposed to Build God’s Temple?

Nathan’s Prophetic Words May Carry a Double Meaning

Once King David has his kingdom established, he wants to build the temple for God and tells the prophet Nathan. Nathan gives him his blessing to proceed, but later God gives Nathan a different message.

Nathan returns to David and says, “You are not the one to build a house for God. Instead your offspring will build God’s temple.” Then Nathan shares a prophecy about David’s legacy and his offspring who will build God’s house (1 Chronicles 17:11-14).

Solomon Builds a Physical Temple

In expectation that David’s son Solomon will erect the temple, David amasses resources for its construction. After Solomon assumes the kingship, he proceeds to build God’s temple in Jerusalem.

The finished temple is a stunning tribute to the Lord God. It’s a grand edifice that will serve as a center of Hebrew worship for centuries. It’s completion fulfills Nathan’s prophecy.

Or does it?

Jesus Establishes a Spiritual Temple

Read Nathan’s prophecy again—carefully. Consider every word. Is the prophet speaking of Solomon or about Jesus?

Nathan prophetically says that after David dies, God will raise up one of David’s offspring to succeed him, one of his own sons (Solomon succeeds him, but this happens before David dies, not after).

This king will build God’s temple (Solomon does), and God will establish his rule forever (Solomon’s rule ends, but Jesus rules forever). God promises to be this future ruler’s father, who will be his son (Jesus, the Son of God, fits this perfectly).

Furthermore, God promises to never take his love away from this future ruler (though God strips the kingdom away from Solomon’s son, God’s love for Jesus is without question).

Last, God will establish this future king’s rule forever. His kingdom and his reign will never end (Solomon dies. Jesus rules eternal).

When Jesus becomes our perfect sacrifice in payment for all the wrong things we have done, he fulfills the Old Testament. This includes the practice of worship. There is now no more need to go to a physical place to worship God.

We become living stones used to build God’s temple, a spiritual house for him. We become his priests and offer spiritual sacrifices to him (1 Peter 2:5; also see Ephesians 2:22).

Both Solomon and Jesus emerge as fulfilling Nathan’s prophecy to build God’s temple. Click To Tweet

Who Fulfills Nathan’s Prophecy?

Who builds God’s temple, Solomon or Jesus? Who best fulfills Nathan’s foretelling? David certainly understood this prophecy to be speaking of his son, Solomon. Solomon acts accordingly and constructs the temple for God.

But I don’t think this is what God intended with Nathan’s prophecy. God was looking much farther into the future. He wasn’t speaking in literal terms about Solomon as much as speaking in figurative terms about Jesus, his son.

Though both Solomon and Jesus emerge as fulfilling Nathan’s prophecy to build God’s temple—albeit in different ways—Jesus accomplishes it more fully than Solomon.

Many prophecies are like this, carrying a double meaning. But we can best see Jesus as fulfilling this prophecy.

Thank you, Jesus!

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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If You Could Ask God for One Thing, What Would It Be?

Solomon Asks God for Wisdom to Lead Well and God Grants It

God appears to Solomon and offers to grant him a request. This isn’t a genie-in-a-bottle situation; it’s the all-powerful God showing his love and appreciation. Solomon makes a wise decision. He asks for wisdom and knowledge to lead the people well.

Not Money

Solomon doesn’t ask for wealth or possessions. He could have, but he doesn’t. In our materialistic society today, money is the goal for many. They don’t see it as a means to an end—such as to be a blessing to others—but as the end goal itself. But we can never have enough money or enough things. Pursuing money will leave us empty

Not Honor

Other people pursue prestige. They seek acclaim from others. Solomon doesn’t ask for honor either. Though receiving respect may be gratifying and ego stroking, it accomplishes little else.

Not Power

Along with money and honor, a third often-valued pursuit is power. An extreme display of power is overcoming our enemies by bringing about their death. Solomon doesn’t ask for this either.

Not a Long Life

Most people hope for a long life, one filled with worthwhile activities and pursuits. And the older we get, the more fragile life seems and the more important it becomes. Yet Solomon doesn’t ask to live long either.

If we lack wisdom all we need to do is ask God for it. Click To Tweet

But Wisdom

What Solomon does ask for is wisdom and knowledge. And this isn’t for a selfish, intellectual pursuit, but so that he can govern the people with excellence.

God grants Solomon’s request for wisdom. Because Solomon chooses wisely, God also gives him the things he didn’t ask for: wealth, honor, power, and a long life.

God gives wisdom to Solomon because he asks for it. And he will give it to us when we ask for it too (James 1:5).

Whether we lead a country, a group, our family, or ourselves, may we lead well with wisdom and knowledge. And if we lack wisdom all we need to do is ask God for it.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 2 Chronicles 1-3, and today’s post is on 2 Chronicles 1:10-12.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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God Deserves Our First, Our Best, and Our Most

How much time we spend on our activities reveals our priorities

King David longs to build a temple for God, but God says this is not to be. Another, a descendant of David, will attend to its construction. Instead David must content himself with the temple’s planning and in accumulating its building materials.

Then he dies, having never seen the temple he desired to build.

Solomon succeeds his father, David, as king of Israel. Solomon oversees the construction of the temple. A grand edifice, it takes seven years to build, a fitting effort for God’s earthly dwelling and the center of Jewish worship and life.

However, in a telling aside, the Bible indicates that Solomon spends almost twice as much time building his own residence. This seems out of balance: seven years for the house of God and thirteen years for a house for Solomon. What does that say about Solomon’s priorities?

The temple is for all the people, as well as for God; the palace is for Solomon. Yes, the palace must be a structure worthy of a king, but spending over a decade on its building may be a bit much, especially given that it consumes almost one third of Solomon’s forty-year reign.

We must truly make God our priority. Click To Tweet

Yet I wonder how often we effectively do the same thing, placing greater emphasis on the things we do for ourselves than the things we do for God, the time we spend with him, and the offerings we give. We need to not only put him first, but he also deserves our best and our most.

I fear we too often fall short in those areas.

We must truly make God our priority.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Kings 5-7, and today’s post is on 1 Kings 6:38-7:1.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Have You Ever Been Overwhelmed by the Glory of God?

When Solomon dedicated the temple, the people praised God with much fanfare and then something strange happened.

Have you ever been that overwhelmed with the glory of God? Click To Tweet

A cloud formed—inside the building. But there’s more. “The Glory of the Lord filled the temple.” It became so intense that the priests couldn’t even work; God’s presence was that strong. It was extreme.

They became overwhelmed with God’s presence and his glory. But what exactly does that mean?

  • It could be the awe of God engulfed them to such an extent that nothing else mattered.
  • It could be that fear of being so close to God effectively paralyzed them.
  • It could be the cloud was so thick—that is, God’s presence was so heavy—that they literally couldn’t see what they were doing, or
  • It could be that with God in the house nothing else mattered.

Regardless of the explanation, we can conclude that God’s presence was so significant that all activity ceased.

Can you imagine worshiping God and collectively feeling his presence to such an extent that all the singers stop singing and all the musicians stop playing? Silence fills the room and nothing else matters. Then the highest form of worship becomes to simply do nothing and bask in his presence.

Have you ever been that overwhelmed with the glory of God?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Is It Fair to Get What We Don’t Earn?

In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon does a lot of whining.

(Don’t get bogged down by his negativity, for he eventually provides some reliable insight in the book’s concluding verses.)

Overall I find it easy to dismiss Solomon’s complaining, but one of his laments does make sense to me. He grumbles about leaving an inheritance to someone who didn’t earn it and doesn’t deserve it.

That’s not fair! And we all want what’s fair, don’t we?

Perhaps not.

Through Jesus, we receive something we didn’t earn and don’t deserve: eternal life.

That’s not fair either, but I’m not complaining.

[Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Ecclesiastes 2:21, Romans 6:23]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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