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The Way Aromas Hit People

I was originally going to call this, “The way we smell to others,” but thought that might be misleading or inaccurate. Paul uses a very unusual illustration to make an important point in 2 Corinthians 2:12-17. The backdrop of the illustration was when he came to Troas to take advantage of an open door to preach the gospel. It was a trying experience, as he couldn’t find Titus there. He left them for Macedonia (12-13). In chapter three, he is…

Will a Man Rob God?

I once heard a comedian confess that in his childhood, he and a friend would wrap double-stick tape around their fingers before the collection plate was passed on Sundays. They would make it look like they were placing something in the plate, when they were actually taking coins out. Any right-thinking person can see how deplorable such thievery is. We would never be guilty of such a terrible deed. Or, would we? When the prophet Malachi delivered his scathing rebuke…

Law and Faith in Galatians

A concerned preacher in another town contacted me recently regarding an article posted on our website in which I listed the following lesson from Galatians with accompanying scripture references from that book, “Justification is by faith, not law in general or the Law of Moses in particular (2:16-21; 3:1-14, 21-23; 4:1-5; 4:22-31).” The brother asked me to clarify that statement, especially in light of passages that speak of the New Testament being a law, such as Galatians 6:2, “the law…

A Judgement Jesus Reserves for Himself

I know of no congregation of the Lord’s church that can claim perfection. If churches are composed of people, they will have their problems. It is true that we are saved people (Acts 2:47), holy people (1 Pet. 2:9), and sanctified people (1 Cor. 6:11). But we are also weak people (Matt. 26:41) who are not above sin (1 John 1:8). But these weaknesses and sins do not necessarily mean that God has cast off the congregation wherein these weaknesses…

Those Who Know Your Name

Names have always been special to God. In Scripture we often find God using names to convey ideas. For example, the prophet Hosea assigned names to his children that stood as indictments of Israel’s sins (Hosea 1:3-9). The Almighty would even change a person’s name to teach a lesson. Abram became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became Israel. Cephas became Peter. Saul became Paul. Sometimes fathers would call their children by names that were calculated to reveal something about the…

Sleep

There are clear warnings in Scripture not to love sleep too much, for such inordinate desire can lead to laziness and poverty (Prov. 20:13). On the other hand, our wise God created us as creatures that need sleep to survive. So we must balance our need for sleep with our need for productivity. David wrote in Psalm 3:5, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.” In Psalm 4:8 we find these words, “I will both…

A Key to Happiness

Following their banishment from Eden’s paradise, God blessed Adam and Eve with two sons, Cain and Abel. Moses records that both offered sacrifices to God, but only Abel’s offering was accepted (Gen. 4:3-4). Cain’s was not (Gen. 4:5). Cain allowed his anger and resentment toward his brother to grow so much that seized an opportunity and murdered Abel in cold blood (Gen. 4:8). Sometimes lost in the circumstances surrounding this first murder is a statement by God that reveals one…

Abraham’s Early Mornings

I am not really a morning person. I loathe early alarms. Most days, it takes me a while to really get going. If, however, the day promises something out of the ordinary and pleasant, like the beginning of a vacation, I’ve been known to wake up before the alarm clock goes off. But the prospect of an unpleasant day makes getting up that much more challenging, and pulling the covers over my head that much more alluring. That’s one thing,…

The Speeding Ticket

Recently, a man in Florida went to great lengths to get out of a simple speeding ticket. When the police officer who pulled him over was out of earshot, the man dialed 911. He told dispatchers that a murder was about to take place. He passionately described how a person was holding a gun and a murder was about to happen. The odd part was that he told dispatchers it was happening somewhere away from where he was. Several police…

Stepping Out in Faith

Even the strongest Christian cannot honestly lay claim to perfect faith. Some days we’re strong, others weak. We may have confidence in one area of life and lack it in others. As long as we live in these mortal bodies of ours, we will struggle with weaknesses, failures, and sins. The good news, however, is two-fold. First, as God’s children we have been given the immeasurable blessing of living under the protective umbrella of his grace (Rom. 6:14; 8:1). Second,…

Renewing Your Relationship With God (4)

When I have found myself in spiritual and emotional valleys, one thing has always played a key role in helping me come victoriously out of them: meditating on the nature and characteristics of God. This meditation, which has consistently led me into deeper prayer and worship, has been a tremendous blessing to my life. Thus far in this brief series we have considered God’s goodness, sovereignty, and holiness. Let’s consider another of God’s traits. God is all-knowing and all-wise. “Great…

Renewing Your Relationship With God (3)

When I have found myself in spiritual and emotional valleys, one thing has always played a key role in helping me come victoriously out of them: meditating on the nature and characteristics of God. This meditation, which has consistently led me into deeper prayer and worship, has been a tremendous blessing to my life. Thus far in this brief series we have considered God’s goodness and sovereignty. Let’s consider another of God’s traits. God is holy. At the root of…
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