Saturday, September 25, 2021



Photo by Simon East 2005

In this dream, I’m at a “Christian” revival meeting in a large hall, packed out with noisy people. A pregnant woman starts to go into labor, so I offer to help. She is bleeding and “delivers” a plastic baby doll, covered in blood. They take her to the hospital, while the revival continues without interruption, grief, or even anyone commenting on this bizarre occurrence.

The atmosphere reminds me of “Bicker night” in college, when eating clubs that had invited sophomores to become members had loud parties and competed with one another to sign up the most recruits to join their ranks. At the time, I had mixed emotions about it, as it was fun and exciting, and flattering to be pursued as a recruit. But in their attempts to sign up as many invitees as possible, the leaders in the eating clubs also seemed to exude an air of pressure and desperation, which I absorbed as if by osmosis.

A similar spirit prevails at the “revival” in the dream, as there is no sound preaching of the Gospel message, just undue pressure to join the hosting church. Many church members and leaders approach me at different times to sign me up and have me join their church, even though I explain I’m already saved and I’m very happy with my own church family.

I spot a familiar face – a friend of ours who is a pastor -- and am relieved, hoping he’ll tell them I’m already saved and belong to a local church. But another man intercepts him and insists that I need to be born again by joining their church.

As I awaken and contemplate the dream’s meaning, I put it in the context of the End Times in which we now appear to be living. All the signs that Jesus spoke of in His Olivet discourse (Matthew 24) seem to erupt all around us – wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, plague, famine, earthquakes in unusual places, persecution of God’s people, and division even among families. These catastrophic events are troubling, but true Christians can be reassured that they portend the imminent second coming (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18) of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we shall meet Him in the air and live with Him forever!

Jesus also said there would be many false prophets teaching false doctrine in the End Times (Matthew 24), which the dream reflected in a false works-based salvation, namely, that you could be saved by joining a church. None of the speakers expounded on God’s Word, particularly the Gospel truth of salvation only by our faith through God’s grace, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can be saved only if we trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).

When false doctrine is preached, the result is corrupt fruit (Matthew 7:17). The woman who went into labor brought forth not a live infant, which could represent being born again (John 3:3-8), but an inanimate doll. It makes we wonder how many who sign a card, walk the aisle, join a church, or get baptized, thinking these works will please God and earn them entrance to Heaven, have never really trusted Christ or asked Him into their heart to be Lord of their life. Without that faith and a personal relationship with our Savior, that “born again” experience is as phony as being delivered of a plastic mannequin that cannot bear any fruit.

Yet the woman was bleeding, symbolizing the sorrow, pain and loss that may accompany a fake “conversion.” Some Catholic sects used self-flagellation as a means to salvation, but their shed blood and painful scars brought them no closer to Heaven than the self-cuttings of the pagans worshiping Baal (1 Kings 18:24-29).

In a less extreme but no less wrong belief, based on the authority of God’s Word, some false teachers preach the need for repentance before salvation. While it is true that the person being saved realizes through the Holy Spirit that he is a sinner deserving eternal punishment in hell, and hence needing a Savior (Matthew 9:13; Luke 15:7; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9), some false prophets elevate repentance to the status of a work that must be accomplished before God will grant salvation. If the sinner is not sorry enough, or suffering enough over his past mistakes, these false teachers claim he hasn’t truly been saved.

Such a doctrine negates God’s grace, the only way by which we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). Praise the Lord, we don’t need to suffer to be saved, for He did it on our behalf, bearing the crushing weight of all our sins and the associated excruciating judgment (2 Corinthians 5:21). He rose again, proving that He is Son of God and God Himself, so that all who trust in His substitutionary sacrifice (Romans 3:25; 1 John 4:10) can have everlasting life!

Sadly, in the dream, no one mourned the woman’s pain, delivery of a dead thing, or removal from the revival, or was even concerned by it, suggesting that in false churches, sham conversions are the primary goal and the norm rather than the exception. It’s not about souls truly being led to the Lord, but about numbers -- how many members, tithes, professions of faith, baptisms, visitors, even cars in the parking lot!.

In the dream, the pressure to join the church was akin to the pressure to join a social club, with the leaders motivated by filling up their ranks rather than by the spiritual welfare of those being pressured and misled. Like the End Times church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-19), these churches think they are rich because they boast of many filling up the pews and paying tithes, often for the wrong reasons of social networking or worse, thinking they will be saved by these deeds. Yet spiritually, they are poor, misguided, leading others to damnation, and making Jesus Christ sick to His stomach.

Many megachurches today may appear to the outside world to be in a state of revival. For those spreading God’s Word, this may indeed be true. But for other churches that seem to be thriving in secular terms, often with magnificent auditoriums, huge congregations, worldly entertainment, and emphasis on prosperity and self-fulfillment, the “revival” is nothing more than successful marketing devoid of spiritual ministry.

Nowadays even atheists have churches, in which they don’t pray or worship God, but listen to feel-good messages, and sing together. The newly appointed chief chaplain of Harvard University is a self-proclaimed atheist, which truly reflects the sorry spiritual state of these End Times.

My husband and I are blessed to belong to a Bible-preaching church pastored by a great man of God whose true desire is to see souls saved. Despite being a relatively small church, it has God’s heart for missions and supports more than 50 missionaries. But many are not as blessed, and fall prey to preachers seeking to fill their wallets rather than to win souls for Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

May we do our part to support the true church, or called-out assembly of believers in Jesus Christ, and to lead others to understand and accept the true Gospel message, even more as we see the day of His return approaching! 


© 2021 Laurie Collett

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Joys of Parenting: Triplets of Blessing


As we have seen in earlier posts, God’s Word offers parenting advice and prayers for our children in patterns of three. Not surprisingly, God’s promises to parents who follow His instructions and raise their children according to His Word follow this same pattern, reflecting His Triune nature.

God gives us children as an inheritance, a reward, and a source of joy, as described in Psalm 127, which contains advice from David to his son Solomon regarding three important goals for his life: building the Lord’s house, ruling over His city Jerusalem, and raising children to continue in the royal blood line ultimately culminating in Jesus Himself (v. 1).  Although parenthood is not usually associated with sound sleep, at least not in our children’s early years, the psalmist notes God’s promise to give His beloved sleep, so that he does not need to awaken early, to stay up late, or to be sorrowful (v. 2).

This Psalm compares children to arrows – a symbol of a man’s power, happiness, and good reputation (v. 4,5). In Bible times, arrows had to be reused, so to have many arrows in the quiver was a sign of status; of protection, as the bow and arrow were a weapon against enemies; and of provision, as the bow and arrow were a way to hunt for food. If we take care of our children when they are young, according to Biblical principles, they will take care of us when we are old, offering the prestige, security, and sustenance we may no longer have on our own.

If parents train their children in God’s Word and to follow His general and specific will, the Bible promises that they will return to God’s path, even if they rebel for a time (Proverbs 22:6).This chapter of Proverbs describes three virtues we should instill in our children, all of which are worth more than material wealth: a good reputation, treating others with love, and being prudent to avoid evil (v. 1-3). If we raise our children to be humble, fear and respect the Lord, using discipline when necessary (v. 15), He will give them riches, honor, and life (v. 4).

The Bible extols the Proverbs 31 woman as the ideal woman, wife, and parent who is wise, kind, and industrious in caring for her household (v. 26, 27). As her children grow up, they will realize, appreciate and return their mother’s love, which will bless not only the mother, but also her husband and children (Proverbs 31:28-29).

Just as children are blessed by learning from Godly parents, these parents can be blessed by following their children’s example of wonder, faith and trust. Even the most worldly and jaded adult may see the world anew through the eyes of their children, as they discover the beauty in God’s creation (Psalm 19:1) pointing so clearly to the Creator. The creation reveals to us the invisible things of God, His eternal power and Godhead, or the Trinity reflected in the Triune nature of all that God designed (Romans 1:19-20).

Jesus Himself said that we need to receive His kingdom as a child would. Children do not rely on their own strength, wisdom and pride as much as adults do, so it is easier in some ways for them to be saved. Adults have much to learn from having childlike faith, trusting Him completely and honoring Him as Our Father (Luke 18:15-17; Matthew 18:2-6). In contrast, adults tend to question God, to think their own wisdom is greater than Bible truth (Proverbs 3:5-6), and to rely on their own flesh instead of His power (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In our church, and I’m sure in others also, unsaved parents may bring children to Vacation Bible School or other church activities as an inexpensive outing for the children that frees up the parents’ time. The children may be saved by hearing the Gospel, by realizing they are sinners and trusting in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only Way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 14:1-6). Unsaved relatives who come to see them baptized may also hear the Gospel and trust in Christ!

A Biblical example of childlike faith resulting in salvation for the parents is found in Rahab (Hebrews 11:31), a pagan prostitute who believed in Joshua’s God and hid him and his men from their enemies. As a result, Joshua saved not only Rahab, but her father's household, and all that she had. Among those saved were her father, her mother, and her brethren (Joshua 6:23-25),

All of us should follow Jesus’ example of loving, blessing and honoring children with the gift of our time, presence, and treasure, and He will reward us as if we bestowed this kindness on Him personally. On the other hand, God’s wrath, anger and judgment will pour out on those who deceive, abandon or abuse children (Matthew 18:5-6).

If we raise our children according to God’s plan, they are more likely to follow His commandments for how they treat us, how they relate to God, and how they live (Proverbs 13:1; 3:1-4; Deuteronomy 5:16; Ephesians 6:2).

Being a parent is one of God’s greatest blessings, yet one of the most awesome responsibilities He entrusts to us. There is no more important, rewarding and fruitful ministry than to raise a child according to God’s plan, rejoice as they are saved, and be blessed as they return our loving care in our later years.

May God bless all parents with His wisdom, love, and grace!

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

© 2014 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives
children's ministry blogs

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Family Trio: Triplets of Parenting


Today more than ever before, our children are under attack of their physical health because of the COVID-19 pandemic as they return to school, and their spiritual health because of wickedness in high places, as we would expect in these End Times. Thankfully, God's Word provides much valuable instruction for parents to protect their children from these onslaughts.
In its simplest form, the family as God designed it is a trio consisting of mother, father, and child, reflecting His Triune nature. Not surprisingly, advice in His Word about parenting also occurs in patterns of three.

God urges parents to remind themselves, their children, and their grandchildren of His faithfulness by remembering all His wonderful works. Hearing God’s Word leads us to fear Him, to live long and abundantly, and to teach our children to do the same (Deuteronomy 4:9-10).

The fear His Word instills in us and in our offspring is respect for His power, which is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). That fear of the Lord is a treasure giving us stability in changing and challenging times and the strength of our salvation (Isaiah 33:6). When we and our children fear the Lord, His Spirit will rest upon us, giving us the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, [and] the spirit of knowledge (Isaiah 11:2).

Parents are to love God with our whole being -- with all our heart, soul and strength – and to teach our child to love God and His Word as part of our daily routine. We are to teach our child diligently, no matter whether we are at home or away from home, and at all times, whether getting up in the morning or going to bed at night. Our whole body should keep His Word, including our heart, hands, and eyes (Deuteronomy 6:5-7; 11:18), to help keep us from sin (Psalm 119:11).

Teaching our children about God and His Word is primarily the responsibility of the parents, not that of the school or even the church. However, families that attend a Bible-believing church that begins teaching Scripture at an early age will have their own teaching reinforced. As the saying goes, “Teach your child to love God, or the world will teach him not to.” God commands the father to make His truth known to the children (Isaiah 38:19).

If parents use God’s Word to illuminate our path (Psalm 119:105), it will lead us to follow His commandments, statutes, and judgments (Deuteronomy 7:11). We are not only to hear His Word, but to study it and do what it says (Deuteronomy 7:12; James 1:22). If we do this, He will love, bless and multiply us, blessing our children, our harvest, and our livestock. He will provide bountifully for all of us with corn, wine and oil (Deuteronomy 7:13).

If we trust Christ, our children are more likely to follow our example and be saved. Parents who are born again (John 3:3-8) by realizing we are sinners in need of a Savior, and by our belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) are living proof of faith.

Timothy’s faith was a legacy passed down through three generations, from his grandmother Lois to his mother Eunice, and then to Timothy. Even though Timothy had to trust God through his own faith, the Godly atmosphere in which he grew up made that more likely by leading and strengthening him and encouraging him to grow spiritually (2 Timothy 3:15).

If we are saved, we set a good example for our children to follow. In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter promised salvation to whomever the Lord would call -- his listeners, their children, and even those far away (Acts 2:39).

Zacchaeus, the dishonest tax collector sought out by Jesus, hurried to comply with Jesus’ wish to visit him, came down from his perch high in the tree (swallowed his pride), and received Jesus joyfully. As a result, Jesus said that salvation had come to his house (Luke 19:5-10).

Once the father is saved, his children are more likely to observe, emulate and internalize that faith, although it is no guarantee they will be saved. Each child must come to his own repentance of sin, need of a Savior, and spiritual rebirth. God is the perfect Parent, and yet Adam and Eve disobeyed Him (Genesis 3:6). (In this case, the family trio was not two parents and one child, but One Father and two children).

God had clearly told them what they could do (eat the fruit of every tree but one), what they must not do (eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil), and what would happen if they disobeyed (they would die). (Genesis 2:16-17). This is the perfect example of stating expectations, setting limits, and warning about expected outcomes that we should follow with our children.

In today’s society, there seems to be a trend for parents to want to be their child’s peer, buddy, or playmate, rather than the one in authority. This is clearly not Biblical. Children are to honor (respect and obey) their father and mother, because God has commanded it; because it will lengthen their life; and because they will fare better in life (Deuteronomy 5:16; Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2-3, etc.).

So let us be parents, and not chums, by disciplining our children in love when needed, just as our Heavenly Father does (Hebrews 12:6). It is not loving to avoid physical discipline when it is needed to protect them (Proverbs 13:24). Discipline should never be done in anger, but to encourage children in the nurture (loving care) and admonition (warning against evil) of the Lord (Colossians 3:20-21; Ephesians 6:4).

May we pray for our children as Jesus Himself prayed for us (John 17). He identifies us as God’s children because we receive the words which Jesus (through His Word and His Spirit) gave us, we know that Jesus came from the Father, and we believe that God the Father sent Jesus the Son to this earth to save us (v. 8). We belong to the Father, and we belong to Jesus, and He is glorified in us (v. 9-10). Jesus prayed that we would be kept in the Father’s Name, that the Father would keep us from the evil in the world, and that the Father would sanctify us through His truth (v. 11,15,17).

May we pray this prayer for ourselves, for our children, and for generations to follow, anticipating great blessings, as we shall see next week!

© 2014 Laurie Collett
Revised and reposted from the archives
children's ministry blogs

Saturday, September 4, 2021

God Notices Your Labor!


Photo by Fulton St_4039 2013

As we in the United States celebrate Labor Day this weekend, many may be in less than a joyful mood due to financial worries. For those looking for work, the long weekend may be no different from other days, and just a painful reminder that they are unemployed. Those affected by the terrible storm may have not been able to go to their workplace, yet may have been laboring intensely to clean up and repair their homes and businesses. 
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how and where we work, and even how we serve God, has changed dramatically for many. Yet those who are still working are blessed by God's provision, for many are out of work altogether.

Many are working to make ends meet at a job that does not meet their expectations or qualifications. Others find that their job responsibilities have grown because fewer people are hired, but their pay stays the same or even decreases. Even worse, it often seems that our employers, coworkers or clients don’t notice our hard work or appreciate the good job we do.

But God always notices! He knows our hearts (Psalm 139:23), and He can tell whether we’re working in joyful service because of how He has blessed us beyond measure (Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19), or whether we’re going through the motions grudgingly, doing the minimum we need to do to get by.

By forgiving our sin debt (Romans 4:7; Ephesians 1:7), by giving His only begotten Son to die for our sins, and by giving eternal life to all those who repent and believe that Jesus rose from the dead (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4), God has blessed us far beyond what we could ever imagine.

And yet, He delights in heaping blessings on us even beyond that, and in great abundance (John 10:10; Luke 12:32; James 1:17). This gives us reason to find joy in all circumstances (Philippians 4:4) and to give thanks for everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), even if our sin nature feels we have reason to complain rather than to be thankful (Deuteronomy 28:47-48).

For every task we do at work or at home, no matter how menial or insignificant it seems, there is a reason to find joy in it and give thanks for it. If we are washing our dirty dishes, we can be thankful for the good meal we ate, the family who shared it, and for running water.

If we’re losing patience because of customers’ endless complaints, we can be thankful that there are customers so that we have a job, and we can rejoice in the opportunity to bring them satisfaction and peace rather than anger (Matthew 5:9). In whatever situation we find ourselves, we can thank God by putting our whole heart, soul and might into glorifying Him, making each moment of our life a living prayer to Him. He will always remember and reward us for our service and worship even when no one else notices (Matthew 25:21-23).

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.… 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

As Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), Christians should give a good testimony at work and wherever a job needs to be done because we are willing to go the extra mile and with the right attitude. As the apostle Paul wrote to Titus, servants are to please their masters, or in today’s world, employees are to serve their employers with the same humility of spirit with which we serve Christ. He is our true Master, and in serving others, we are serving Him (Titus 2:9-10).

Even when we assemble for worship in God’s house, no good deed is too trivial to escape His attention! A kind word or smile for someone who is hurting may be exactly what God intended to encourage that person to be faithful to His will (Hebrews 10:23-25).

When Solomon built the temple to glorify God, skilled artisans spent countless hours decorating the tops of the pillars with sculpted lilies, even though none of the worshipers would even see them once they were in position! But God saw and rewarded them for their labor, even though no one else would applaud or praise their work (1 Kings 7:13-22).

When was the last time we gave thanks to the person who showed up early Sunday morning to turn on the air conditioning, or to the person who made sure there was toilet paper in the restroom? Do we even know who these people are? But God knows and keeps track of their faithful service to His children and to all who come to hear His Word.

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Our labor is not in vain! Employers, coworkers, and customers, and even family, friends, and fellow Christians, may not always show their appreciation, but God faithfully keeps track of all we do to His glory. We are laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9). He will reward us in due time, if not in this world, then in Heaven (1 Corinthians 3:10-14) where we can enjoy the benefits forever!

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Love in Christ, and may you have a blessed Labor Day weekend!

© 2017 Laurie Collett
Edited and reposted from the archives