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You Must Suffer To Be Glorified

  Romans 8 is a gloriously rich chapter of the Bible that should fill the mind of every believer. But gloriously rich doesn’t mean easily swallowed. Such is the case with verse 16-17. Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we su...

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A Precious Chapter in the Book of Job

    We have been going through the book of Job in our Sunday evening service and I have been wonderfully helped in this close study of God’s Word. We are nearing the end, so I may have to come back with an updated post, but up till now one chapter has struck me as exceedingly precious. Most people are familiar with the first 2 chapters and the last 5 chap...

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The Trauma of Revival

    I read something today about revival that struck me as to the actual nature of revival. We say we want revival, but no one living today has actually experienced it. The little that I have read about it communicates that it is the single most impactful experience one could possibly have. So much so, that there is a limit as to what can even be handled. What...

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Can an Unbeliever Be Patient?

  People used to think the single cell was pretty basic, like an old car you could work on if you had some know-how. Turns out we simply weren’t looking close enough. Instead of comparing it to an Oldsmobile, the cell is more like a galaxy of function and information. The same is true with some of the most famous and beloved Bible verses. We love them because o...

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Jeremiah 29:11

  There are different ways to reject the Bible. One way is to set it on fire. Another way it to set it on a shelf. A final way is to set it off in the wrong direction. The first way is direct. The second way is subtle. The final way is deceptive. Satan will take whatever way he can get, but his favorite is the last one. He is a deceiver, so he has no greater thrill t...

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A Simple Way of Understanding the Fear of God

John Murray said the fear of God is the soul of godliness. This is a conclusion you can hardly avoid as you read God’s Word. The fear of God is mentioned well over 50 times throughout the Scripture. Not only is its volume of occurrences enough to require every Christian to understand this concept, but also how the fear of God is spoken of would make us fools to treat...

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A Gospel of Judgement

  Some statements grab you and try to shake silly notions out of your head. At first they strike you as odd, but as you mediate upon them they begin to turn your mind. Paul made a statement like this when he said the following: Romans 2:15–16 [Gentiles] show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alter...

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Grace: Master Teacher and Fearless Leader

There are times in a person’s life and in the life of a nation when everything is changed. Perhaps someone has a new baby. Perhaps a nation suffers a terrible event like 9/11 or a natural disaster. When these kinds of events happen, everything is affected and many things will change. Things have to change because there are new realities that are so in-your-face that ...

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Comparing Apples and Oranges in Christian Hedonism

  There are two verses in the book of Romans that add support to the concept of Christian hedonism, and help us see it is very different than normal hedonism. In fact, I would say that trying to compare the two is like comparing apples and oranges. For those unfamiliar with the term “Christian hedonism,” it was popularized by John Piper a couple decades ...

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Giving Beyond Your Ability

  There is a question in my mind that haunts me, and I don’t like to be haunted. Have you ever been haunted by a thought? There, in the back of your brain it lingers, rising up at unexpected times to torment you with conceptual lashes. There is some overlap with the job of the conscience, but whereas the conscience doesn’t let up in its convictional deman...

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The Ten Words of Grace

  Some things never change: Governments want to tax your money; change is the only constant; and the Cubs are going to lose. These things are a sure bet. The church has one to add to the list; explaining the place of the Old Testament law. With every new generation fresh explanations have to be given regarding the church’s relationship with the law. This is not...

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Using The Bible Unbiblically

  One of the new words in our modern conversation is the word “hack.” With the rise of computers came the pursuit of getting around systems or using them for purposes unintended by the original creators. An ever present danger today is that your computer will be hacked and your credit card information stolen. But since the term basically means doing somet...

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Next Level Humility

  The Olympics is right around the corner which means we will soon be hearing the oft repeated phrase, “They make it look so easy.” There is no mystery why this is. When you do anything 10,000 times, it is going to become second-nature to you. You discover how things work, when to do this, why to do that, which way to adjust at just the right time. Much o...

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Two Handrails for Suffering

  Have you ever watched a bull rider right before the gate is opened and he frolics with 2000 lbs. of fury? Almost all the focus is upon getting that perfect grip which will anchor him for 8 seconds of insanity. Knowing that your grip is secure when turbulence comes is important. 1 Peter is predominantly about the turbulence of suffering, and he gives us two realitie...

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Christmas Prepares Us For The Second Coming

  You have probably heard people say “keep your head on a swivel.” It’s a picturesque way of saying you need to be alert and aware of what is going on all around you. That’s good advice for the Christian, not just in the daily grind, but also regarding the big picture of life and worldview. Christians are those who are constantly looking back ...

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Getting Your Love Recalibrated

  We frequently need to be reminded what real love is all about. The world, with its countless “love” songs, rom-coms, romance novels, and various made-for-TV relationships, does not help us in this regard. In fact, it deceives us and turns us in the wrong direction. “We know love by this, that He laid down his life for us” is what the Scriptu...

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I Can Do Incompetence Through Christ Who Strengthens Me

  Is this a joke? Has someone hacked the blog and messed with the title? Those who know their Bibles, and probably even those who don’t know their Bibles, will most likely recognize the verse that the title is drawn from. Philippians 4:13 reads, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” It stands there so inspiring, so uplifting. No wond...

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All Roads Lead To The Cross

  The greatest moment of all human history is what Christ did on the cross. Certainly, there have been remarkable moments from the past such as the creation of the universe and a miracle-filled exodus. And without doubt, there will be remarkable moments to come; such as the return of Christ and the marriage feast of the Lamb. But the Cross stands by itself. The great...

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Repent Of Your Small Faith, And Get A Mustard-Seed Faith

  I have been thinking a lot about faith due to the passages of Scripture we have been going through at church. It got me thinking about this concept of “mustard-seed faith.” This is a well-known biblical phrase because Jesus uses it in two different settings recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is used in a very positive way and with a staggering promi...

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Husbands, Submit To Your Wives

  How is that for a provocative title? I may have just lost all my conservative readers, who recognize the role of male headship in the home, as well as any liberal readers who reject the idea of roles in any form whatsoever. So, if I have anyone who is still reading, let me take you to Scripture to show you that this is far more than a provocative title, it is the t...

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Quality over quantity

  Quality is a great salesman word. We have all learned the hard way that getting more of something that is only going to go bad or break doesn’t make for a good deal. Quality is of first importance because something of quality is going to last, it is going to fulfill its purpose, and it is going to be a profitable investment. If you can get quality and quantit...

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Can You Interpret Circumstances?

  Knowing God’s will is paramount for the Christian. At some point, God brought us to our senses and we found that our own understanding got us into the pig slop of the prodigal or the self-righteous bondage of the Pharisee. But by grace, we tasted the fresh air of Jesus’ lordship, wisdom, love, and more. Our short-sighted, sinful take on life was just no...

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The Letter and the Spirit: A False Dichotomy

  It is not unusual to hear someone speak about the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Here is one memorable example from my past. I climbed into a friend’s old jeep and buckled in. As I clicked in the seatbelt, I noticed that three fourths of the seatbelt was torn just above the buckle. I mentioned that I was buckled in but I wasn’t sure it wou...

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Reading God’s Word More and Better in 2015, Part 2

  Last week we began looking at how we can read God’s word more and better. There are those who need to simply read it more, and we examined the practical issues and heart issues for addressing that need. This week we will examine how we can read God’s Word better. Some of us have developed a habit of reading God’s Word daily. We set aside time for...

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Reading The Bible More And Better In 2015, Part 1

  We all need to read God’s Word more and better. If you have any doubt about that statement, consider the following: We live in a world hell-bent on opposing God’s rule over all things. We are sinners who are always susceptible to being deceived from without and from within. We all have blind spots of understanding where sin is lurking. During times ...

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The Engine of Application

  One of the dreaded features of buying a car is the reality that you have to know something about the engine. Most people are not mechanics. Yet, if you are going to buy a car, someway, somehow, you have to know enough about the engine to know that your purchase will be a wise one. Without that engine, you will only have a leather-interior paper weight. Even after y...

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Understanding and Bearing Spiritual Fruit, Part 3

  Today we are looking at the third and final category of spiritual fruit. The first was the general category dealing with the nature of spiritual fruit. The second addressed spiritual fruit that is internal to the believer and primarily connected to the believer’s own life. In working through those first two categories we developed this definition: Spiritual...

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Understanding and Bearing Spiritual Fruit, Part 2

  Last week I began this blog series by describing three different categories of spiritual fruit. First is the general category that primarily speaks to the nature of spiritual fruit. Second is a specific category of spiritual fruit that is internal to the believer and primarily connected to the believer’s own life. Third is the specific category of spiritual f...

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Understanding and Bearing Spiritual Fruit, Pt. 1

  I am fascinated by fruit. Sometimes I catch myself staring at an apple. In my hand is a perfectly portioned meal, containing wonderful nutrients, sealed in its own protective skin, carrying seeds for propagation, and to top it off it is delightfully tasty. What a wonderful gift God has designed for us. But even more wonderful is spiritual fruit. I have been thinkin...

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The Gospel According To The Video Recorder

  Why didn’t God have the video recorder invented before the time of Christ so that we all could see the life of Christ and not just read about it? Before I attempt an answer, let me set the stage for the question. As I preach through the gospel of Matthew, we have begun to watch Jesus in action. In chapter 4, Matthew presents Jesus as the King who steps onto ...

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Scripture Or Direct Speaking: Where Is A Deeper Relationship Found?

  Last week I preached a message on what it means “to have a relationship with God.” While we hear that phrase frequently, it really is a stunning thought. My message was from Psalm 21 and it dealt primarily with how God maintains His relationship with us. What I didn’t deal with was the whole idea of communication. Communication stands at the heart...

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10 Reasons to Memorize Scripture, Especially In large Sections

  I am writing this post because a number of people have joined me in striving to memorize the book of Colossians. This is not something we do because we are bored and looking for a challenge. On the contrary, we are busy and this pursuit will only add to our plate (just a little). But, life is short and we don’t want to mess up the things we are doing. We need...

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Another Resolution

  In case you need reminding, 2014 is halfway gone. That’s right. It will never be repeated, ever. It is a memory that will fade into oblivion. At least that is what popular culture tells us. But actually, the first half of 2014 will come back when the books are opened in judgment. Hopefully, you are now thinking of commands you broke and callings you neglected...

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Devotional Mice And The Cheese Factory

  You were created to love God and enjoy Him forever. To love someone is to know them, and to love them more means knowing them more. This should be what every child of God is striving for. Therefore, every Christian who wants to follow Jesus will be reading the words of Jesus: the Bible. But sometimes, when reading the Bible, we find ourselves reading something that...

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