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Showing posts from April, 2015

Learn To Stand Alone

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In order to choose the narrow way that has only a few people on it and to reject the broad way that is crowded with people, we must learn to “stand alone” for what is right. This ability is vital, because when the world realizes that you are not going their way, they will put pressure on you to conform. Jesus spoke of this in His prayer: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14 KJV).

God Is Our "Abba"

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The images of God in both the Old and the New Testaments are varied and interesting. I have only written on a few of them. When studying your Bibles you will find many more. When Our Lord was wrestling with his destiny and facing heinous death on the cross, he used a most intimate term for God (Mark 14:36). Normally this would have been akin to blasphemy. The Jews dared not even speak God’s name. They were fearful that perhaps in some way they would profane the Holy name. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7 KJV).

In What Direction Is Your Tent Pitched?

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Brother Andy Diestelkamp, one of the writers for the “Think On These Things” online publication, has written an excellent article entitled, “Where We Pitch Our Tents.”

The Church In A Ship

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The Roman Emperor, Caesar, was once sailing with his armed men on a campaign against Greece. They encountered a severe storm and fears were great. Caesar attempted to calm the fears of the sailors by reminding them with these words:

"After He Had Served The Purpose Of God In His Own Generation"

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The above quote is a thought-provoking line, isn’t it? It comes from the first of Paul’s speeches in Acts. It was in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia, and he was demonstrating by the Scriptures, that God has fulfilled what He promised to the fathers by the resurrection of Jesus. Having noted their hope in “the holy and sure blessings of David,” the apostle observed, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but He whom God raised up did not see corruption” (Acts 13:36-37 ESV).

The True Essence Of Gratitude

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Like joy, genuine gratitude is an attitude that cannot be concealed and must be expressed. It is much more than mere lip service or more than a polite and perfunctory “thank you” uttered in return for a favor. The Scriptures tell us that only one out of ten lepers who were cleansed ever returned to express sincere thanks to the Lord (Luke 17:11-19). Sadly, too many in today’s materialistic society, fail to express their appreciation for what they have been graciously given by the Lord in any shape, form or fashion.

Mankind And The Search For Extraterrestrial Life

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Ever since the first man made object was launched into space in October, 1957, man has been seeking ways to prove life exists on other planets and solar systems similar to our own. After fifty-eight years and counting, the conclusion of the scientific community, is that life "might exist" on other planets. In fact, here are 8 worlds where life "might exist."

Making Wise Use Of Our Time

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If we are wise, we understand how to use time to its fullest. We arrange our priorities and do first things first (Matthew 6:33). We structure each day so that we get the most out of the time we are allotted. We understand the preciousness of living each moment we have, knowing that time is fleeting and our appointment with death and judgment is a certainty (Hebrews 9:27).

Levitical Offerings --- Types Of Christ

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The study of the Old Testament Levitical offerings is a great safeguard against erroneous views on holiness, sanctification, sin, etc. It is impossible to have a low estimate of what sin really is as we study God’s requirements, and the provision He has made.

Pure Religion Must Have.....

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James gives us the definition of what pure religion is in James 1:27, “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (NASB). Since God has stated that pure religion is essential to please Him (Matthew 7:21-24; Hebrews 11:6; Revelation 22:14), how then can we be sure our religion is pure?

Biblical Love Is Unselfish Love

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Biblical love is unselfish love. One of the best illustrations of love is found in Romans 15:1-2 ESV where Paul states, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Then, in the very next verse, he uses our Lord as an example of self-less love (Romans 15:3). True love acts from nobility. It does not think of self first but of others.

Bearing The Marks Of Jesus

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A body was stoned and left, in all appearances, as dead on the outskirts of the city of Lystra (Acts 14:19). Shortly before this event, this man had been exalted and proclaimed as a god, but he refused the worship of the inhabitants (Acts 14:9-15). Paul and Barnabas vigorously restrained the people from unwanted and undeserved adoration as gods. Instead of accepting exaltation as a god, they had directed the people to the one true God, “who left not himself without witness” (Acts 14:15-17).

Death Doesn't Care

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If you have ever visited a cemetery, you'll notice a wide range of ages engraved on the tombstones in that cemetery. They can range from just a few days, to over one hundred years; as is the case when you visitEl Paso's historical Concordia Cemetery, where over sixty thousand people lay buried (source), including the infamous John Wesley Hardin and John Henry Selman.

Did We Have A Choice To Exist Before We Were Born?

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A querist asks, “Did we have a choice to exist before we were born? I’m experiencing serious doubt and chaos in my heart about my existence upon this destitute place called earth. After all, I didn’t want to come here to begin with.”

What In The World Are Spiritual Mondegreens?

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Sometimes we have to listen very closely to understand the lyrics of some of our modern day songs. This is especially true with some of the rapid-fire lyrics of rap artists, who are nearly impossible to follow even with the printed lyrics in front of us. Of course this isn’t anything new. When we hear a song lyric that we don’t understand, we usually ask, “What in the world is that word?”

Is There Really A Holy Spirit?

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A querist asks, “Is there really a Holy Spirit?” Yes, the Holy Spirit is a person with the ability to do things only a person can do. According to the holy Scriptures:

Sometimes Love Hurts

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One of the greatest things that God gave to man is love. It can take man to the highest of joy. The number of songs and poems written on the subject demonstrates how important love is in our lives. Someone has gone so far as to say that “Love is what makes the world go around.”

A Look At The Terms "Eucharist" And "Sacrament"

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An individual once asked, “I’ve just happened to notice in a pocket reference guide to the Scriptures that I use, that under the topic heading ‘Lord’s Supper’ it states ‘Not – Eucharist, nor sacrament.’ This conflicts with my dictionary when I look up each term. Which would be correct here, and why? Also, what about other terms such as, Communion, as well?”

What About The "Canon" Of Scripture?

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An individual once asked, “How can I know which books are properly part of the Bible and which ones are not?”

On Condescending To People Of Lower Estate

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Whenever our local school board hired a new superintendent a little over a year ago, I had hoped that the employees of the school district, as well as the people of the community, would be able to freely speak to him about the problems and issues that have come up within the school district. However, the evidence has shown that this superintendent has no desire to condescend to people of lower estate.

What About Those Who Have Never Heard The Gospel?

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An individual once asked, “What about those who have never heard the gospel – is their fate the same as the disobedient?”

Leaving A Fingerprint Behind

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A very practical rule of thumb that I have tried to live by over the years, is to always leave a place better than you found it. While substituting in our local school district's mail room yesterday, I noticed that there was no ice in an ice container that was in the icebox. Since I needed to go to the cafeteria to pick up a mid-morning snack, I took the ice container and asked the server to please fill it up with ice.

"....Slay Them Before Me"

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An individual once asked, “Could someone please explain Luke 19:27 to me? I don’t believe I have ever heard this verse expounded upon at all.”

What About Occult Practices?

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An individual once asked me, “What about occult practices, such as divination, reading tarot cards, or fortune tellers? Or looking to astrology to see how to plan each day of your life? Or trying to speak to the dead through mediums?”

Will There Be Animals In Heaven?

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An individual once asked, “Does the Bible say anything about animals being in Heaven? If so, where should I look?”

"The Children Of This World ..... Are Wiser"

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In the parable of the “unjust steward” (Luke 16:1-13), we see that when the steward knew that he was going to lose his stewardship, he called in those who owed his master and reduced their debts so that they would be indebted to him for the favor. He states that he was ashamed to beg and he could not dig (manual labor), so he prepared for his well-being in a different way (Luke 16:3-7).

"And The Lord God Prepared A Gourd"

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Many years ago, my late wife and I had to put our Boston Terrier bulldog, Heidi, to sleep because of old age. Heidi had been a part of our household for over 15 years — a prodigious life span, as dogs go. In her own small way, Heidi was like the gourd vine under which the prophet Jonah sat as he awaited the judgment of God against the city of Nineveh (Jonah 4:5).

Why Do Men And Women Marry?

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An individual asks, “Are there scriptures in the Bible that tell us why men and women get married, and how to stay married to your spouse?”

"Who" Is Being Discussed In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17?

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An individual once asked, “In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, who is being discussed here – all persons, good and bad, or is it only talking about those who are “in Jesus”?

Did God Create Evil?

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A querist asks, “Using the King James Version, Isaiah 45:7 KJV says that God creates evil. Some people teach that God created evil. I know this cannot possibly be true, for God hates evil (Proverbs 6:16-19). Can you please comment on this text where I can understand it?”

One Cup Communion?

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An individual once asked, “I recently learned that one of my cousins, in another state, has been attending a local church where they share a common cup during the communion portion of the service. Can you please help me find any Scripture that speaks to this?”

Some Tips For More Meaningful Prayer

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There are so many prayers of praise in the Old Testament that I could spend a year writing about them. My favorites are those found in Psalms. What a glorious book of prayers! Praising the Lord is not always easy for us. We suffer, our families suffer, the world suffers………but that is nothing new. Jesus reminds us……”These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me, ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Defiling Words

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Not long ago, I overheard an elderly woman speaking to a friend about the current obsession with dieting. “These days,” she mused, “I’m more concerned with what comes out of my mouth than what goes into it.” There’s a world of wisdom in those words.

Never Be A Quitter!

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The story is told of a preacher who was growing weary in his ministry. One night, he had a dream of seeing himself pounding away at a huge chunk of granite with a pick-axe. It was his job to break it into small pieces. But hard as he tried, he could not chip off even a tiny piece. At last, tired and disappointed, he decided to give up.

Christians Work For The Lord!

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A survey by a national institute found that 70 percent of people in the United States often dream about doing something different for a living. Books, consultants, and employment agencies offer to help us land our dream job. But is finding a different occupation always the solution to job dissatisfaction? Or could the key be discovering a new approach to our present situation?

"The Peter Principle"

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Michael Brooks, one of the writers for Forthright Magazine, briefly talks about "The Peter Principle" in his latest article, relative to the difficult task of developing qualified leadership in missionary areas.

Repent Or Perish!

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In Luke 13:1-5, some of Jesus’ disciples approached Him to relate the terrible news that some Galilean Jews had been murdered under the authority of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. In addition to that heinous act, Pilate had desecrated the sacrifice of these slain Jews by dumping their blood onto the sacrifices they were offering. Undoubtedly, Jesus’ disciples expected Him to rail in outrage against the oppressor of God’s chosen people. However, Jesus responded in a way that must have shocked and offended some who were present, when He said:

Let's Give Him Praise!

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Even though we’re Christians, we sometimes forget about the greatness of God’s majesty. And like Job, we need to hear anew the details of the wonders of God’s creative power.

Attention Getters

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In our very permissive, "anything-goes" society, it seems that some folks will do almost anything to get attention. Anything from Miley Cyrus sticking her tongue out, to Madonna kissing another woman on stage, to having tattoos placed all over your body.

Feeding Jesus' Sheep -- Our Motivation

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What will keep us serving the Lord in His church (Matthew 16:18) and our community when the going gets tough? Although we may be sensitive to the needs of others, that alone is not enough. Nor should we be driven by a need that we all have  a desire to be appreciated or loved by others.

God Hears Us!

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For over 40 years, my father was a television repairman. He had an unusual ability for correctly diagnosing where the trouble was in any television set, and could fix the problem in short order.

Let's Never Despair!

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As we watch the news, either on television or the Internet, we often see or hear news of despair. For example, there were several news stories a few years ago regarding a man who shot and killed his 19-year-old grandson. A woman in Santa Clara, California, who killed her husband and two daughters before taking her own life; A veterinarian who murdered his three children, his stepdaughter and himself; Three young adults from Colorado who died in an apparent murder-suicide pact on a Santa Cruz beach.

Our Kids: Why They Are In Trouble

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Reading the above titled article this morning from The American Thinker, I thought about the following quote rendered from Robert Putnam's book, "Our Kids: The American Dream In Crisis":

"What Difference Does It Make?"

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As I was taking my morning walk today, I thought about Hillary Clinton's now infamous question before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with regard to four Americans being murdered in the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012. I also noticed this morning in the news that the same Hillary Clinton, who is presently running for the office of President, is now arguing that same sex marriage should be a "Constitutional Right." God says otherwise (Romans 1:24-28 NLT).

How Is God My Shepherd?

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In Psalm 23, David is explaining one of the great attributes of the Father….that of a Shepherd.  The metaphor of God being a Shepherd is used throughout Scripture and Jesus himself uses the term when describing the lost sheep in Matthew (Matthew 18:12-14). God loves and protects his sheep.

Our Spiritual Identity

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Identity theft is a big problem in our age of credit cards and the Internet. It is not difficult for someone to retrieve our vital information and pose as us. If that were to happen, however, it would not change the essence of who we are. The thief would not steal our true identity — just some superficial information about us.

Making The Most Of One String

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The story is told of Italian violinist Nicolo Paganini (1782-1840), that as he was playing an extremely difficult piece of music before a large audience, a string on his violin snapped — yet he continued to play, improvising beautifully. Then without warning, two more strings broke, and he continued the composition playing with only one string.

"Here Am I Lord — Send Me!"

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In a time of great spiritual need, the prophet Isaiah is called to rebuke the sins of the people, to warn them of their impending doom, and to call upon them to repent and do God’s will. He is summoned into the throne room of God, where he hears Him ask, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Isaiah responds, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

People Are Starving For Face-To-Face Conversation!

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In my daily interaction with people, I'm observing that many folks are literally starving for face-to-face conversation (including myself). For example, I talked this morning at breakfast with my good Christian friend, John, for a good two plus hours conversing about everything from the daily problems our families are having; to the characteristics of God; to the providence of God, and how He interacts with us as His people.

True Greatness

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True greatness is shown by humility — not pride (Luke 18:9-14; cf. Luke 14:7-11; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5-6). This idea was powerfully demonstrated and taught by our Lord, who told His self-seeking disciples: