No need to be big and mighty to impress God. "You were the least of all peoples … but the Lord loves you,” says Deuteronomy 7:7-8.
God is explaining why he loves Israel here. He doesn't directly give a reason, but indicates it has nothing to do with the number of people or other aspects the worldly tend to exalt.
The Almighty loves us because he created us. Believe the Lord cares so deeply for you that he gave his only begotten Son for you. That's the Word!
Sin actually is a process. "When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death," says James 1:15.
Jesus taught that to lust was committing adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:28). This is the start, the embracing of a wrongful desire. Pursuing that leading - say, for example, trying to goad the object of lust into intimate relations - moves closer to the committing of the sin. The act of intimacy without marriage is the full-grown offense leading to death, as when two are in union in sex, they play the harlot with God (1 Corinthians 6:15).
Stopping the process of sin as early as possible is the best way to keep close to the Lord. Taking every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) helps much.
We live in a fallen world that constantly presents opportunities to stray into sin. Staying vigilant to keep our minds focused on God will keep us in perfect peace and out of the wiles of the devil.
The joy of Jesus helps keep us going. “You, Lord, have made me glad through your work,” says Psalm 92:4.
God's labor blesses believers. He desires us to come into line with him and see that his ways are right and perfect.
In a world calling evil good and good evil, it's easy to fall into continual negativity. However, the Almighty is still on the throne and the universe hangs together in his hands. He will rectify all wrongs in his time; our job is to trust him for this and rest and abide in him in the meantime.
We're on the stretch drive of this age, and we need to believe God for his power to cross the finish line giving glory to him. That was the message of radio & television preacher David Jeremiah as he ministered last night in Fort Wayne, Indiana, site of his first senior pastorate.
I heard of the 76-year-old's appearance on Christian radio and drove the half-hour to see him, expecting a crowd of a few hundred. I found the 10,500-seat War Memorial Coliseum absolutely packed, only 150 or so "nosebleed" section seats left.
His focus was Hebrews 12:1, "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."
Explaining the epistle was written to Christians who likely had been believers for some time, Jeremiah said they seem to have faced trials in the initial days of their faith but became complacent as difficulties ceased. With renewed persecution, they were trying to figure out what to do.
"That ensnaring sin was unbelief," the preacher said.
Jeremiah urged the audience to press into the Lord and believe him for the promises in his Word, surrounding themselves with like-minded faithful and understanding God is able to provide everything necessary to fulfill what he's asked us to do.
Amen, Pastor Jeremiah. God has given me the faith that Scripture is more true and real than what I see or feel, and it is one of the greatest blessings of my life, especially in times like these. I also thank the Lord for those friends and family who encourage me even as the evils of the age beset me.
"The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace," says James 3:18. I believe in being straightforward, but not in trying to stir up trouble.
As a Christian, I need to be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within me (1 Peter 3:15), but I also should try to come to agreement with people if possible.
I try to remember in responding to negativism from others that the devil always tries to pit individuals against each other, so I attempt to remove the invective and stick to the issues. Sometimes not taking offense easily allows others to calm down a bit, too. That doesn't mean everything is certain to end on a happy note, but I at least know I've done what God called me to do.
I've just read the content and comments of a media story on an interview with a former political official, and I am appalled at what I saw: The review labeled the guest a "reprehensible human" and "rabid" without any evidence (no quotes, no details) and said he had "flabby, stubbled jowls."
Here is what James 3:9-10 says about the tongue: "With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so."
I have been a journalist for nearly three decades and ordained close to 15 years. I have never before witnessed anything like the horribly denigrating language, slander, imagery and violence becoming common in our nation's politics and overall society today.
How can one argue for human rights by dehumanizing people? How can people fight for truth by issuing accusations without proof? How does peace come from provocation and physical attacks? How can we brutally tear down those in authority - inside or outside government - and not realize it destabilizes our land, teaches our children rebellion and evil, and causes us to sin (Romans 13:1-2)?
My friend, supposedly positive ends do not justify ungodly means. Christianity is as much or more about process as achievement. In fact, if people think they have to sin to get what they want, they are deluded. God will not help them, and they will come to understand that "whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. He who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption" (Galatians 6:7-8).
The Almighty knows we need help. “The earth, O Lord, is full of your mercy,” says Psalm 119:64.
God's mercy on us is all that keeps us going. We might think it's our superior intellect, flawless repartee, pure ways or something else, but we must remember even one sin separates us from the Almighty. He is perfect in every way and has every right to demand perfection of us.
However, he sent Jesus to our fallen world to make a way for our eternal life and existence here that is blessed and abundant. This means we can ask for forgiveness at any time and be confident we are clear in our account with him.
Praise God for his mercy!
The Lord God himself feels for us. “They said to him, ‘Come and see’; Jesus wept,” reveals John 11:34-35.
Christ sees the agony surrounding the death of Lazarus and cries, even knowing he is about to resurrect the man. God knows the end from the beginning. He is not taken by surprise at anything in our lives. However, he has come to us in Jesus and sympathizes with our weaknesses, difficulties and strife.
The Great I AM is not distant like Allah or Nirvana; he is intimate and personal yet transcendent. The one and only God loves and wishes to bless the one and only you.
On this Labor Day, let's consider the job that God has given us to do. "As the Father has sent me, I also send you," Jesus says in John 20:21.
What a commission we have been given by the Lord himself! In this section of Scripture, he gives his charge, then breathes on the disciples to give them the Holy Spirit.
Since Pentecost, each person who believes has received the indwelling of the Spirit and is to spread the faith. Some of us do it on our block, others halfway around the world, but all are to testify of the Lord till he comes.
It is an honor to have God choose us for his work. Let's live up to his calling.
by the Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., pastor, PR professional & journalist, Copyr., All Rts. Res.