Have Faith in God

“Have Faith in God.” These words from Jesus follow immediately after observing that the fig tree that Jesus had cursed earlier in the day had indeed withered and died. They immediately precede the statement by Jesus in which he said, “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted…

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Prepare to Engage

Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. John 17:18 (NLT) Last week, we began to examine our options as we confront the forces of evil comprised of the world, Satan, our adversary, and our fleshly nature. In last week’s article, Resistance Is Not Futile, we learned that…

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Dealing with Criticism

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.” Luke 6:27–28 (The Message) Recently I was in conversation with several pastors. One of…

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Fully Equipped

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NIV) The car salesman exclaims, “This car is fully equipped. It has every option.” The car may have features you never thought you…

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And Time Shall Be No More?

The concept of eternity is often beyond the capability of our intellects to grasp. Surveying Christian history, we find conflicting thoughts and ideas about time and how it intersects with eternity. On the one hand, James Milton Black, who wrote “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” penned the words, “and time shall be no…

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Deception and Discernment

So let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good. Job 34:4 (NLT) Let me begin with a question. How great is our need for discernment? There is a meme that has been floating around the Internet for several years: “Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.”-Abraham Lincoln.…

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The Brevity of Life

Sunrise in Kenya

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NIV) I don’t know who coined the phrase “The length of our lives is represented by a dash between two dates,” but it is undoubtedly a concise way of stating what most people sense, especially as they get older,…

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Feed My Lambs

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15 (NIV) I could not believe what I was hearing; a pastor was telling, perhaps even bragging, that…

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This Little Light of Mine

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5 (NLT) In 1907, Wesleyan preacher William Watkinson published a sermon, “The Invincible Strategy.” He made the point that “evil is not overcome by denunciation.” He said that although it is easier to speak against evil than to engage in good…

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The Importance of Sound Doctrine

“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13 (NIV) Many Christians believe that sound doctrine or teaching is essential, but they do not always know why it is crucial. Sound doctrine is not an end in itself, but instead, it serves…

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Where Should I Be?

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 (NLT) in reality, it is a simple question. How do we decide what to do and where to…

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What About My Rights?

In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 (NCV) Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV) The subject of individual rights is a hot topic right now. Perhaps it has always been, at least in…

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Do Not Ignore Warning Lights

Examine me, O Lord, and test me! Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives! Psalm 26:2 (NET) Just Because It Seems to Be Working, It Doesn’t Mean That Everything Is All Right Many of us have had the unpleasant experience of driving in our car when we notice that the Check Engine light has come on.…

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Don’t Look Back

  I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13 (NLT). Looking backward can be a great hindrance to moving forward. Regret over past mistakes afflicts many people. Past victories and triumphs can also impede forward progress. 20th-century philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember…

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Motivated By Love

They are motivated by love, because they know that I’m put here to give a defense of the gospel; the others preach Christ because of their selfish ambition. Philippians 1:16–17 (CEB) Motives are problematic. They can lead someone to do the right thing for the wrong reason, but they can also result in doing the…

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A Voice in the Wilderness

He said, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord—just as Isaiah the prophet said.” John 1:23 (CSB) We live in an era with “self-proclaimed experts” offering advice on just about any subject imaginable. If you have a message that you want people to hear…

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(Excel)lent Followers of Christ

But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7 (NIV) In baseball, a complete player who excels in all aspects of the game is a five-tool player.  A five-tool…

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Preparing the Ground

This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.” Jeremiah 4:3 (NLT) The ancient world was primarily agrarian and so many of the allusions and illustrations of spiritual life in the Bible are to be…

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Rejoice… Always

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (NIV) It is time to address an imbalance. Historically, much has been said about Paul’s command to “pray without ceasing,” but what about “rejoice always?” What does it mean to “rejoice always?” When things are good, rejoicing is almost a given, but…

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Preparing the Way

God says, “Rebuild the road!  Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.  I restore the crushed spirit of the…

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