Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Too Rich to Make It to Heaven?

“‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God…. With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’” 
- Mark 10:24-25, 27

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem when it happened, and Matthew, Mark and Luke all document the account. A man ran up to Jesus, fell on his knees in front of him and asked him: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” In other words, the man wanted to know what he must do in order to make it to heaven someday. Matthew tells us that the man was young. Luke tells us that the man was a ruler, and all three gospel writers tell us that the man was rich--very rich.

So, the rich young ruler wanted Jesus to tell him what he must do to make it to heaven. Did he need to make ten pilgrimages to Jerusalem? Did he need to give alms to twenty beggars? Did he need to have perfect attendance at synagogue? Certainly there were a few hoops that he needed to jump through, something specific he could do to secure his ticket to heaven. So, how did Jesus answer this young tycoon’s question?

Surprisingly, Jesus didn’t at first. Jesus started by responding to the man’s question with a question of his own: “Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone.” First and foremost, Jesus wanted the rich young ruler to understand that nobody on this planet is truly “good.” God alone is “good.” Next, Jesus pointed the man to the Ten Commandments, specifically commandments five through ten: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud (a paraphrase of the tenth commandment “Do not covet”), and honor your father and mother.

The young man must have been grinning from ear to ear as he responded, “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus had just told him what he already knew: He was very good at following rules and obeying laws, and if law-keeping could possibly get anyone to heaven, it would get him there. But then Jesus burst the rich young ruler’s bubble as he turned to him and lovingly said, “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark tells us in Mark 10:23, “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

As the rich young man walked away Jesus spoke these infamous words: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The twelve disciples couldn’t believe their ears. They knew without a doubt that it is impossible to squeeze a camel through the eye of a needle. So, in shock, they asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?”

With this simple statement the disciples were expressing a popular belief in their day, the belief that everything in life comes easier for the rich, including salvation. The disciples (just like most of us today) were convinced that life was much easier for the rich. For example, it was easier for the rich to put food on the table, to pay the bills, to cover medical expenses, to find friends, and to receive justice in a court of law. And in their minds it seemed clear that if all of these other things in life came easier for the rich, so too did salvation. After all, the rich could afford to give extra large tithes. The rich could afford to sacrifice as many animals as necessary to atone for sin. The rich could afford to bribe rabbis or priests or whoever else they needed to bribe in order to receive a “Fast Pass” to heaven.

But in a few quick seconds Jesus blew that faulty theology out of the water. Jesus revealed this truth: When it comes to heaven, it is impossible for a rich man to get there. Why? Because neither the rich man nor the poor man are truly “good.” Both the rich man and the poor man are sinners who stand guilty before a holy God, and God’s justice requires that they be punished. Therefore, there are no hoops that any person (rich or poor) can jump through in order to make it to heaven. Working our own way to heaven is “impossible.” Earning heaven is “impossible.” Jumping through enough hoops to make it to heaven is “impossible.”

But not with God. With God all things are possible. Jesus provides a way for both the rich and the poor to make it to heaven: by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this is the truth that the rich young ruler refused to accept. He was prepared to do whatever it took to secure his own salvation as long as it didn’t require him to rely upon someone else. He was willing to kneel before Jesus, but he refused to relinquish control of his life to Jesus. He walked by sight and refused to walk by faith. So, he made his choice. On that day he had to choose one God to serve: Jesus or his money.  Sadly, he chose his money.  And he went away in despair having turned his back on the only one in the universe who could secure his place in heaven: Jesus. I hope and pray that you won’t do the same.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. To hear Pastor Dane’s messages or for more information about the church, visit Services can be viewed on the church's Facebook page:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Wife’s Respect (Part 2)

“Each husband also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

Although I had a few minor scuffles in grade school, it wasn’t until junior high that I found myself in an actual “fight.” I was in eighth grade, and Anthony—the most popular kid in my class—had been pushing my buttons for several months. His teasing had become a daily nuisance, and one day in the locker room I decided that I had had enough. After one of his wisecracks, I gave him a hearty push. I expected that to be the end of it, but clearly Anthony had other intentions. Before I knew it, his right fist was getting up close and personal with my upper lip.

I tried to explain to Anthony that I wasn’t interested in fighting him, but his fists had already found a new home. And besides, Anthony’s buddies were all watching and liked what they saw. Well, a guy can only take so many blows to the chops. My adrenaline kicked in, and before I knew it Anthony was on the ground and the fight was over. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how he got on the ground, but regardless—it provided a great opportunity for me to make a quick exit without too much embarrassment.

As a thirteen-year-old teenage boy, I could only stomach a certain amount of disrespect. And the same is true of me today (although I have learned to respond without my fists.) I’m convinced that it’s the way that God made me, the way that He wired me as a man. Just as a diesel engine will severely malfunction when fueled by a tank full of unleaded, a man will always malfunction when fueled by a steady flow of disrespect. Conversely, boys will pour countless hours into a sport or school project in order to receive their father’s praise. Young men will sacrifice multiple evenings and weekends in order to garner their boss’s approval. And a husband will climb any mountain or cross any river to hear his damsel in distress speak the two words of heartfelt admiration: “My hero.”

How much stronger and healthier marriages would be if wives grasped and responded to this critical truth: Men feed off of respect. God knew this full well when He gave this command to wives in Ephesians 5:33: “The wife must respect her husband.” As the Creator of men, women and marriage, the Lord understands better than anyone that when a wife withholds respect from her husband, bad things happen in a marriage. When certain husbands feel disrespected, they withdraw. Others react in anger. Still others become passive-aggressive, and the husband withholds love from his wife that is as critical to her well-being as respect is to his. 

God has called each Christian wife to demonstrate a healthy respect for her husband as a natural expression of her respect for God. Before urging wives to respect their husbands’ authority, God’s word first gives us all (both men and women) this general command in Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of respect for Christ.” Therefore, a wife is told to respect her husband as a natural expression of her respect for Jesus Christ.

Long story short: when a wife refuses to respect her husband, she is—at a deeper level—refusing to respect Jesus Christ. Just as it is impossible to demonstrate love for God while demonstrating hate for people, it is similarly impossible for a woman to exhibit respect for Christ while exhibiting perpetual disrespect for her husband. Once again: Respect for one is a natural expression of respect for the other.

Oh, I can hear the “buts” coming. “But, Dane you don’t understand; my husband doesn’t do anything that’s respectable!” Or, “But my husband doesn’t deserve my respect!” Or, “But my husband disrespects me!” While it may be true that your husband disrespects you and does plenty of things that are not respectable, if you look carefully, I guarantee you that you will discover certain things that your husband says and does that are worthy of respect. And when you discover them, you should draw attention to them—not by saying, “Well, it’s about time you did something right, you big moron!”—but by saying something like, “Great job! You hit that one out of the park. You’re really good at that.” 

I guarantee you that your husband will respond much more positively to your praise and encouragement than he will to your nagging, complaining or criticism. You will discover that as you praise your husband for what he does “right,” he will look for more opportunities to do what’s right. Many a Christian wife can testify that when she’s made the conscious decision to show respect for her husband’s position in the family while also targeting his respectable words and actions with praise and encouragement, he stepped up to the plate and became the respectable husband for which she had prayed. 

Believe me: Respecting one’s husband is a critical expression of one’s respect for Christ while at the same time being a key building block of a healthy and happy marriage. Just as I could only stomach so much disrespect from Anthony, I would only be able to stomach so much disrespect from my wife. As a man, I am—to a large extent—fueled by respect. The same is true of every husband. So wives, give your husband the fuel that he needs to function properly in your marriage relationship. And don’t be surprised if, in time, he becomes the loving husband you’ve always known he could be. 

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. To hear Pastor Dane’s messages or for more information about the church, visit .

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Wife’s Respect (Part 1 )

“Each husband also must love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband.”  – Ephesians 5:33

According to an old Ethiopian folktale, there was once a young married woman who became fed up with her husband. Having given up all hope for her marriage, she approached a local judge and asked him to grant her a divorce. Being a wise old man, he chose to probe her a bit. “A divorce!” he exclaimed. “Don’t you love your husband?” “Of course I love him,” she responded, “but we just can’t get along. So we must get a divorce.” The old man had an idea. He asked the young bride, “If I were able to give you magic medicine that would help you two get along much better, would you take it?” “Absolutely,” she responded. “I’d do anything to save my marriage.” “Great,” said the judge. “I’ll just need one key ingredient to make the medicine: a single hair from the tail of the lion that lives down by the river. I’m not sure how you’ll get it, but you must find a way.”

The woman made a beeline to the river, but as soon as she heard the lion roar, she turned in fear and ran home as fast as she could. But the next day she returned to the river with a sack of raw meat. She got as close as two hundred yards from the lion, quickly dropped the bag of meat and ran home. The next day she returned with another bag of meat and got as close as one hundred yards; the following day—fifty yards; and the day after that—twenty yards. After a few short weeks the lion was eating the meat out of her hand, and she was able to carefully reach back and pull a single hair from his tail.

As fast as she could, she rushed to the old judge and exclaimed, “I did it! I did it! Here is the hair from the ferocious lion’s tail.” The judge proudly smiled and said, “Securing this hair took an enormous amount of patience, courage and determination. Now, if you put the same amount of patience, courage and determination into your marriage that you put into securing this lion’s hair, you and your husband will enjoy a long and happy marriage. The magic medicine your marriage needs was with you all along.”

The struggles of this young couple are common to marriages everywhere. And the words of wisdom offered by the judge are just as relevant to us in America as they were to the young couple in Ethiopia. Many husbands and wives throw in the divorce towel far too early, claiming that they just can’t get along. However, more times than not, it’s not that they “can’t” get along but that they don’t try hard enough to get along. Sadly, they aren’t willing to put in the necessary effort. You see, there is no magic formula for a strong and happy marriage. It is—among other things—the result of patience, courage and determination disguised as hard work.

In this day and age when so many marriages aren’t “for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health ‘til death do us part,” we need to get back to basics. We need to return to the Creator of marriage and read His marriage owner’s manual once again. In Ephesians 5:22-33, God gives specific instructions to husbands and wives about their God-given responsibilities within marriage.

Let’s focus on one of the wife’s God-given responsibilities: to respect her husband. I find it very interesting that in Ephesians 5:33, husbands are commanded to “love” their wives, but wives are told to “respect” their husbands. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to ask many husbands, “Would you rather hear your wife tell you, ‘I love you’ or ‘I respect you’?” Guess how most men have responded? By far the most common response from husbands has been, “I respect you.”

Because men are wired much differently than women, husbands have different needs and tend to be motivated differently than their wives. To put it simply: most wives feed off of love, but most husbands feed off of respect. This is certainly true in my own marriage. I enjoy hearing my wife tell me that she loves me. But when she looks me in the eye and says, “Dane, I respect you,” I light up like the Fourth of July.

And God understands this reality better than anyone. After all, He created both “male and female” and knows us inside and out. He knows that in order for a married couple to be happy and healthy, the wife needs to receive a healthy dose of daily love from her husband, and the husband needs to receive an ample amount of respect from his wife. Love and respect, respect and love: they are two critical ingredients in any healthy marriage.

When marriages tailspin into dysfunction, it’s often the result of the husband withholding love from his wife and the wife responding by withholding respect from her husband. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (author of Love & Respect) refers to this as “The Crazy Cycle.” Withholding respect leads to withholding love which leads to withholding more respect which leads to more withholding of love. You get the idea. Ultimately, the crazy cycle can only be stopped when one of the spouses intentionally chooses to stop it. Either the husband chooses to love his wife despite her disrespect, or the wife chooses to respect her husband despite his withholding of love.

Perhaps you and your spouse are experiencing this crazy cycle. If so, there is hope. You must recognize your contribution to the craziness and choose to stop participating in it today. Husband, love your wife in tangible, meaningful ways even when she is disrespecting you up one side and down the other. Wife, communicate respect to your husband even when his love for you is as cold as a winter breeze in the Klondike. Ultimately, God’s ways are always the best ways. If your marriage strategies haven’t been working, then take God’s strategies for a spin. If there is a true lion’s hair that will transform your marriage, it’s love and respect.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. To hear Pastor Dane’s messages or for more information about the church, visit

Is It Too Late for America?

“This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people … because they have forsaken Me and … provoked Me to anger by all that their hands have made. My anger will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched…. [But] because you humbled yourself before Me … I have heard you, declares the LORD…. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.” - 2 Chronicles 34:24-28

It was circa 625 B.C. The setting was Judah, and the recipient of God’s message was King Josiah. The northern ten tribes of Israel had been conquered 100 years earlier by the kingdom of Assyria. Although Israel was God’s chosen nation, God’s patience had reached its limit. He could only stomach so much idol worship, murder, sexual perversion, blasphemy and injustice.  So, God’s judgment had come in the form of the invading Assyrian army.

And now, Judah—which contained the two remaining tribes of Israel in the south—was heading for similar destruction. Like her Israelite family members in the north, Judah had experienced a moral tailspin. During his lifetime, King Josiah was able to turn the tide, ushering in a great spiritual revival. Unfortunately, his efforts were too little too late. During the reign of Josiah’s son, the mighty army of Babylon swept into Jerusalem and captured the city. It was the first of three Babylonian invasions that would strike Judah over a 20-year period.

The fact is, prior to Josiah’s ascension to the throne, Judah had already crossed a spiritual line in the sand that had sealed her fate. The people’s sin had mushroomed to such an extent that God’s judgment had to fall upon the nation. Even the godly Josiah could not alter this divine imperative.

With this in mind, I’ve wondered in recent years if the United States of America has crossed a similar line in the sand. While it is encouraging to know that a growing number of Americans are “pro life,” that doesn’t cleanse our hands of the blood from the 58 million abortions that have taken place in America since 1973. American churches spend millions of dollars sending missionaries around the world, but sadly, American businessmen spend billions of dollars peddling pornographic smut around the world. Although many U.S. churches are faithfully teaching God’s word and standing firm in the faith, far too many others are caving in to societal pressure to be soft on sin and firm on political correctness.

I am convinced that a major spiritual revival is on the horizon, a revival that will sweep through churches like wildfire, setting the faith of Christians ablaze and resulting in the conversion of millions of people across the country. I have been praying for revival for over fifteen years, and I am convinced it’s coming in the near future. Yet I wonder … even if such a revival turns our nation back to God, will it be too little too late? Have we, like Judah, already crossed a spiritual threshold? Will God’s judgment fall upon our country anyway?

If we have not yet passed the point of no return, it’s clear that we are quickly moving in that direction and have no time to lose. Christians must do here in America what God instructed King Solomon to do in ancient Israel. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God laid out a four-step process for ushering in a national spiritual revival. #1: We must humble ourselves. We have to honestly confess: We have become an arrogant nation. We have banned the Bible from our public schools. We have forcibly removed the Ten Commandments from our courthouses, and we have created our own self-serving morality. The first step to usher in revival is to get off our high horse and down on our knees before our holy and all-powerful God.

And once we are on our knees, #2: We must pray. Christians, we need to spend more time praying for our political leaders than we do criticizing them. Pray for them to be humble. Pray for them to courageously stand on the timeless truths of God’s word. Pray for them to be forgiven for their sin and follow Christ as they lead us.

#3: We must seek God’s face. We need to make sure that our prayers are not all about “Gimme, gimme, gimme.” Seeking God’s face involves hungering and thirsting for His presence, not just hungering and thirsting for the stuff His hands can give us.

#4: We must turn from our wicked ways. Without repentance—true repentance—there is no forgiveness of sin. And without forgiveness of sin, revival will never come. Repentance is never just a matter of feeling sorry for our sin. Repentance involves acting upon our sorrow. It’s not enough to just be sorry Roe vs. Wade was passed; we must work to overturn it. It’s not enough to just be sorry that marriage has been cheapened in our country; we must work to strengthen it. It’s not enough to lament over how godless our public schools have become; we must strive to turn the tide by standing up for our kids’ God-given rights to pray, read Scripture and share their faith at school.

I hold out hope that there are enough Christians in this country who will cry out to God for a revival that will turn the tide. I hold out hope that there are enough of us who will boldly proclaim God’s word, humbly repent of our sins, and prayerfully restore a solid moral foundation in our homes, churches, schools and government. If there are, there is great hope for our nation. Won’t you be one of the many who helps pave the way for revival in America? 

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. To hear Pastor Dane’s messages or for more information about the church, visit .

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Husband’s Love for His Wife (Part 2)

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up
for her.”  – Ephesians 5:25

In the year 1141, Emperor Konrad laid siege to the castle of Weinsberg in Bavaria, Germany. Wolf, the duke of Bavaria, resisted the siege as long as possible, but the day came when he realized that he must surrender. As retribution for Wolf’s lingering stubbornness during the drawn out conflict, Emperor Konrad planned to kill every resident of Weinsberg and burn the castle to the ground.

In response, the wives of Weinsberg begged Konrad to spare the women’s lives. He consented to their request, even granting each woman permission to carry her most precious possession with her as she left the city. After all, he didn’t want the women to be a drain on society by being left penniless. So, the time came for the women to safely exit the city, and one by one, each woman walked through the city gates and filed past Emperor Konrad’s soldiers. But what Konrad and his soldiers witnessed left them speechless: Each wife walked out of the city carrying her husband on her back. Emperor Konrad was so moved by the women’s faithful love for their husbands that he spared all of the men’s lives and even chose to leave the castle standing.

As touching as this story is, it paints a vivid picture of a sad reality in many marriages today: When it comes to the responsibility spouses have to love each other, wives carry a lopsided amount of the burden. It’s far too common for husbands to relinquish their God-given duty to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, and to let their wives “carry” the relationship. 

Many husbands have a view of love that is shallow and sexualized, but Christ’s idea of love is deep and pure. Many husbands fixate on what they can get out of the marriage; Christ’s love is focused on what we ourselves can put into the marriage. Many husbands cling to a love that is temporary and conditional based on whether or not their wives deserve their love, but Christ’s love is unchanging and unconditional.

Bottom line: Christ’s love for his church is sacrificial. Therefore, a husband’s love for his wife must also be sacrificial. Ephesians 5:25 says it so plainly. “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” A husband’s love for his wife must be sacrificial, but according to Ephesians 5:26-31, it must also be three other things.

First of all, a husband’s love must be cleansing. Just as Jesus died on the cross to wash us clean from our sins, God’s word commands a husband to similarly wash his wife. That sounds interesting, but what does it mean for a husband to wash or cleanse his wife? To put it simply, a husband’s love must lead her toward understanding and obeying God’s word, not toward distorting and disobeying it.

This begins in the dating relationship. If a young man aims to “score” with his girlfriend, he is not only planning to sin himself, but he is also breaking God’s command to love her with a cleansing kind of love. To put it simply, instead of helping to preserve her chastity for her wedding night, he is selfishly defiling it. Similarly, when a husband flirts with another woman, he is tempting his wife to become angry, bitter and spiteful toward him. Obviously this is 180 degrees from the way a husband is commanded to lead his wife. Loving husbands lead their wives closer to Christ, not closer to sin. A husband’s love must be cleansing.

Secondly, a husband’s love for his wife must be nurturing. Not only does God expect a loving husband to tend to his wife’s spiritual needs, He also expects him to tend to her physical needs. Just as a husband feeds and takes care of his own body, he must feed and take care of his wife’s body. Regardless of what kind of work a husband can or cannot do and regardless of what earning potential he does or doesn’t have, God has called husbands to do their best to take care of the physical needs of their wives. When a wife is hungry, exhausted or sick, her husband should be the first in line to nourish her with food, rest and Nyquil. A husband’s love must be nurturing.

Finally, a husband’s love for his wife must be unbreakable. In Genesis 2, God makes it clear that a husband must “cleave to” his wife. The word God uses literally means to be “glued to” or “cemented to.” So, a loving husband is responsible before God to make sure that he and his wife remain cemented together until separated by death. Sadly, our culture has replaced God’s marriage cement with Velcro. If our marriages get too difficult or we find them unfulfilling, husbands simply peel themselves off from their wives and attach to another woman. How far we’ve strayed from God’s original design for marriage! A husband’s love must be unbreakable.

It’s high time for Christian men to “step it up” in their marriages, bearing the God-given responsibility of loving their wives as Christ loves His church. A husband’s love must be sacrificial, cleansing, nurturing and unbreakable. Our marriages desperately need husbands to love their wives with this kind of love. Strong marriages depend on it.

Dane Davis is the lead pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of Holy Huldah! Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of. To hear Pastor Dane's messages for for more information about the church, visit