“ ‘Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:9, NIV).
In Old Testament times, God gave the Israelites several commands, the culmination of which was, “ ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV). God’s chosen people were not only to obey these commands, but they were to pass them on to their children and grandchildren. For this very reason, God told the Israelites to “ ‘
“ For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17, NIV).
Many people view the Apostle Paul as one of the greatest preachers of all time. Certainly, Paul was instrumental in spreading the Gospel like wildfire throughout the region of Asia Minor. Paul, however, recognized that he was hardly the most eloquent of speakers, nor the wisest of men, and that the power behind h
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV).
It can be difficult at times to faithfully practice the spiritual disciplines. Tasks like reading the Bible and prayer can all too easily take a back seat to the trivial pursuit of binge watching one’s favorite shows on television. At the end of the day, we can find ourselves frustrated and a bit d
“Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life’ ” (Ezekiel 37:4-5, NIV).
Ezekiel Chapter 37 is an interesting passage of Scripture. It’s the story of the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of a valley of dry bones. Why are these bones described as dry? It’s because these bones have long been left for dead. In fact, they are about as
“…I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2, NIV).
The foundational doctrine espoused by the Apostle Paul is “Christ crucified”. This is simply the idea that the most impactful moment in Jesus’ life occurred as he breathed his final breaths hanging from a Roman cross, where he secured our forgiveness of sins and freedom from their eternal consequences. Now, one might argue that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead s
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV).
We were made for eternity.
Created in the image of God, our spiritual grandparents, Adam and Eve, were designed for life eternal. They were never meant to die, but to live forever in the garden, their God-ordained Paradise. We know how their story ends. Tempted by a seductive serpent, the c
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV).
Trading is part of the human experience. From an early age, we learn the art of the deal. Trades occur daily across elementary school lunch tables where bags of potato chips are exchanged for chocolate chip cookies. Playgrounds become swap meets with the currency of toys and baseball cards. As adults, we trade-in cars, and we trade-out furniture. The
“The third time (Jesus) said to Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep’ ” (John 21:17, NIV).
When Peter and the other disciples arrive on shore, Peter soaking wet from his swim and the other men sitting in the relative comfort of their fishing boat, Jesus already has breakfast warming over a fire. As
“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
‘No,’ they answered.
He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is th
“…But (Thomas) said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’ ” (John 20:25, NIV).
Thomas was never one to receive top billing as one of Jesus’ disciples. His name is mentioned only a few times in the New Testament, usually in a who’s who list of the twelve. Thomas isn’t even present when the resurrected Jesus first appears to the other disciples as they hide behind locked doors. No
“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid” (John 19:41, NIV).
Death had made its return to a garden. Perhaps, it was a fitting scene, as a garden was the place where this entire spiritual dilemma had begun. Thousands of years before Jesus occupied Earth, Adam and Eve lived in a garden. The Garden of Eden was Paradise, but its perfection didn’t last long. A seductive serpent and an appetite for for
“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ ” (Luke 24:32, NIV).
Imagine walking with God. What would it be like strolling alongside the God who created you, the One who knows you most deeply, the God who is for and not against you? Perhaps it would be intimidating to recognize that God knows your every thought. Or maybe it would be comforting to realize that God cares about your every concern
“…they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11, NIV).
When Mary Magdalene and the other women shared what they had witnessed on the first Easter morning, the disciples must have thought the women were out of their minds. A couple of Scripture-quoting angels, a huge boulder mysteriously set aside, a grave with no body - it was all too much to make sense of. Their leader and friend, Jesus, had been put to death on Friday. There was no
It’s Friday afternoon. Jesus’ body hangs limply upon a Roman cross which stands center-stage in a gruesome scene. Jesus has been beaten and scourged and spat upon. His nail-punctured wrists and feet still hold him securely to the cruel device of the cross. A crown of thorns impales his bloodied brow, and a just-for-good-measure side-piercing spear sits idly by. Things are quiet now, with the exception of the thunder that rumbles in the distance and the sobs of those who have stuck around.
“ ‘My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’ ” (John 14:2-3, NIV).
These are some of the words Jesus used to describe Heaven. Referring to his “Father’s house”, one with “many rooms”, Heaven is the place Jesus himself went ahead of us to prepare.
Likely, as Jesus spoke
“…I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ ” (Revelation 21:3-4, NIV).
The Bible Book of Revelation can be difficult to understand. Its writer, John shares visions and image
“In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:4, NIV).
I’m amazed when I hear of Christians who, for at least a moment in time, seem to be fearless. The Bible is full of such heroes, individuals whose faith was stronger than their fear. Daniel stood toe to toe with lions. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego kept their cool, and their faith, even while inside a fiery furnace. A stammering Moses found his voice as he faced P
“Jesus wept” (John 11:35, NIV).
I used to think as a kid that real men didn’t cry. But then I saw my Dad, tears falling from his eyes, mourning the loss of a friend, and I knew that it was okay to show emotion.
Years later, I watched a sports icon, basketball coach Jim Valvano, losing not a game, but a fight against cancer. In a speech at the 1993 ESPY sports awards, Valvano said, “To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number tw
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11, NIV).
Much of the New Testament of the Bible is written either about or by the Apostle Paul. Formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, Paul received a name change following his encounter with the risen Jesus on a road to the city of Damascus. Paul’s life as one who persecute
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV).
Lately I’ve been praying a simple prayer that goes something like this: “Lord, please fill me with your __________ and crowd out my __________.” Depending on the day, or even the time of day, those two blanks can reveal different things. The first blank is always something
“…‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’…” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).
Pastor George Matheson once prayed, “My God… I have thanked you a thousand times for roses, but not once for my thorn.” Matheson’s point was that sometimes God allows us to suffer the prickly and painful things in life. Still, God can use these very things to bring us closer to and make us more reliant on him. God has a way of twisting the tragic into the triumphant. This, I
“If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:8-12, NIV).
“Repentance” is such a good word
“For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed” (Revelation 15:4, NIV).
I frequently pray for opportunities to worship God. I know that this phrase may seem a little peculiar as God is always available to receive our worship. The issue for me is that I don’t always make myself available to bring my worship to God.
I want to worship my Savior with all that I am, but I am distracted by so many things. A
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, NIV).
Can I really be sure? That is a question I’ve heard, even asked, many times, concerning salvation. Maybe you are asking it right now. If you are, then read on, because I’ve got some really great news for you!
The answer to this age-old theological question is a definitive “yes”. You see, our salvation is not based upon anything th
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11-12, NIV).
Let me begin by addressing the word “fear” in this passage. Are we really meant to fear God? Part of this answer, I think, lies in how we understand the word “fear”. God is perfectly holy and just, and, because of our sin, we can never, on our own, live up to the perfect standard