Genuine Love

“‘And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.“”  Mat 22:37-40.

Love is the foundation of the Christian life.  First of course we are to love God with all we are.  Mar 12:30 says “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'”  This was in answer to a question from a Jewish scribe regarding which commandment is the most important of all.  He then adds the commandment about loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Read more…

Categories: Theology

Lead them to Believe

Recently I was teaching some friends from the book of Romans chapter 1  When I got to verse 5, someone asked a very intriguing question.  At first the answer seemed pretty obvious but as I thought about it, I knew I had to be careful.  The question was, “If we are talking to an unbeliever and we bring up verses that condemn behaviors they indulge in, are we judging them or is the Bible?”

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Categories: Theology

As though you were there too

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”  Heb 13:3

I had the opportunity this past weekend along with my wife to attend a one day conference in South Carolina put on by the great organization Voice of the Martyrs.  It was an incredible time to hear stories from people who have suffered for their faith and service to God while sharing the gospel to those who need to hear it.  One lady, Gracia Burnham was captured along with her husband Martin by a militant group of Muslims for around 7 to 8 months suffering through starvation and exhaustion, and ultimately leading to the death of Martin.  Petr Jasek, while visiting some persecuted Christians in Khartoum, Sudan was arrested and convicted of espionage and spent over a year in prison due to his service. These are just two of the stories told of courage and dedication proclaiming the gospel in hostile areas.

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Categories: Culture

No Compromise

Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.  But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”  John 15:20-21

Jesus here is speaking with His disciples just days before His arrest in order to encourage them to be strong after He is gone.  The words, on the surface, do not sound all too encouraging.  They will be persecuted.  However, what Jesus is communicating to them is that they must remain strong during these times.  If we know something is coming we can prepare for it.  However, if we believe it would not happen or never expected it, we will find it difficult to cope.  We may be tempted to compromise in order to save ourselves or to fit in.  However, we must stay strong and continue to present the truth no matter the cost.  Jesus never said this Christian life would be easy, however He did say through His many teachings it would be eternally worth it.

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Categories: Theology

And this is Christmas

Luke 1:5-80

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named [a]Zacharias, of the division of [b]Abijah; and he had a wife [c]from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in [d]years.  Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 

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Categories: Theology

All or Nothing

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”  Luk 14:33

How important is your relationship with Christ?  Is it the most important thing in your life or is it just one of the more important things?  Do not quickly give a pat answer.  Think about it, for how you truthfully answer this one question will indicate where your heart is.

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Categories: Theology

Thinking of Others – The Unborn

Our Focus Scripture -“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Php 2:3  ESV.

In part six of this six part series, we shall look at our focus scripture as, “In humility, count the unborn more significant than yourselves.  It is important to understand that we are human, an independent person from conception, not from birth.   Isaiah said to the people of Israel, “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.”  Is 49:1.  And later, “And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him— for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength—”  Is 49:5.  Moreover, God told Jeremiah the following, “”Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jer 1:5.  All of these point to the idea that God formed us in the womb.  He did not form some tissue which then became us.  Also, this alludes to the fact He creates us for a reason, forms us as we are to fulfill a specific purpose.  So, if this is the case, how can we assent to the murder of these “individuals” through abortion or infanticide?

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Categories: Theology

Thinking of Others – Our Enemies

Our Focus Scripture -“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Php 2:3  ESV.

In part five of this six part series, we shall look at our focus scripture as, “In humility, count your enemies more significant than ourselves.  I will not mince any words here.  This is probably the most difficult of all the others we have looked at so far.  I find it difficult to do this.  However, as with other commands God has given us, we really are not given a choice.  We must love our enemies.  Here is what Jesus said in His famous Sermon on the Mount.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Mat 5:43-48.

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Categories: Theology, Uncategorized

Thinking of Others – Strangers and those in Need

Our focus scripture, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  Php 2:3 ESV

In part four of this six part series, we shall look at our focus scripture as, “In humility count strangers and those in need more significant than ourselves”.  There are many more strangers around us then there are friends and family.  This is an obvious truth.  And I am also sure there are many people within our reach that are hurting and in need of our help, encouragement and love.  I am going to address this topic a little differently.  I am going to tell several stories that will get the point across much better and also give examples of what has been done for others which exemplifies seeing others as more significant than ourselves.

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Categories: Theology

Thinking of Others – Our Friends and Family

Our focus scripture, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  Php 2:3 ESV

In part three of this six part series, we shall look at our focus scripture as, “In humility count our friends and family more significant than ourselves”.  This can be most difficult at times, especially when it comes to family.  There is an old saying, “We can choose our friends, but not our family.”  This is very true.  Many times, family members can get on our nerves.  They may become very demanding  or cantankerous.  However, this should not be a statement made by us who call ourselves Christians.  It has the idea of not wanting to be around them, desiring to only pick those that make us happy or, at the least, do not make our lives difficult.  However, no matter how difficult our friends and family get, we do not have the luxury of saying good riddance.

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Categories: Theology