restoration

A Lukewarm Christian

“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:14-16 Have you ever taken a drink of coffee that was room temperature or left a cold bottle of water sitting in your car on a warm day, only to find it tepid and tasting like bath water? If you answered yes, then you know the disappointment it is to your senses. Being lukewarm isn’t especially desirable when it comes to liquid, and interestingly, it’s not good for our spiritual lives either. In fact, this is why Jesus reprimanded the Church at Laodicea. Because they were neither hot nor cold, He threatened to spit

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A Healing Christian

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” – Isaiah 58:11 Yesterday, we talked about the ancient city of Laodicea and how, though it was a center of trade and commerce, it didn’t have any clean water. We also learned that Colossae, to the north, was home to a crisp and rejuvenating mountain spring that was a source of refreshing to the inhabitants of the region. Today, I want to talk about yet another place that provided hydration for the Laodiceans, and how it gives us greater understanding of Jesus’ letter to the church there. Called Hierapolis, this ancient town was located on hot springs just four miles to the south. Today, it’s in the region of Pamukkale in Turkey, and its bubbly-white, mineral-rich

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Preservation

“He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.” – Psalm 66:9 Yesterday, we talked about the presence of salt in the ancient world, and we learned that it was valuable enough back then to play a role in the founding of the Roman Empire, was the basis for the name given to soldiers, and was sometimes even used to pay wages. Knowing this, we’re logically inclined to wonder why. What was it about salt that made it so vital to life in that time? Since answering this question gives us insight into our role in the Kingdom of God, I want to spend the next few days unpacking three important properties of salt. First of all, it was critical because it preserves. If you were a family of five in the Middle East 2,000 years ago and you needed to store enough meat and provisions to feed

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Touching the Untouchable

“A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.’” – Matthew 8:2,3 Yesterday, we talked about living as Christ-followers who have pierced hands that are willing to touch the untouchable, just like He did. For the next few days, I want to talk about four specific groups of people Jesus opened His heart to who were considered the least touchable, and what each one teaches us about being His disciples today. First of all (and I’ve taught on this a lot), He extended His hand to a man with leprosy. Now to understand just how ostracized members of this infirmed population were, it’s important to remember that every Jewish boy had the entire Torah, or

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The Hands of Christ

“Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” – Luke 24:39 It’s interesting how much we can learn about people by looking at their hands. Whether they’re wrinkled, tough, well-manicured, or scarred, they tell a story if we choose to pay attention. Yet no matter how young, old, or worn our physical hands are, as disciples of Jesus, our palms are spiritually pierced. Because our Savior was wounded for our healing, as we follow in His footsteps and seek to lead with His heart, we take on His scars, and His sacrifice inspires us to touch the untouchable. In fact, when we study the ministry of our Lord, His healing virtue is nearly always imparted through physical contact. Though His words spoke the universe into existence, when He touched people,

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Salvation Through Suffering

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5 On this Good Friday, we turn our focus to the cross. And while it’s important to view this day in light of Jesus’ death, it’s equally as important to understand that the depth of His agony equates to the fullness of our freedom. You see, our Savior didn’t have to die the way He did — any manner of passing would have sufficed. However, He bore enormous physical and spiritual pain so that we could be healed and made whole…completely. Not only does His journey to Calvary show us that there’s nothing we go through that He cannot sympathize with, but it reminds us that He took upon Himself the weight of affliction to liberate us from it.

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Stretch Your Tent

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” – Isaiah 54:2 Our God is the God of redemption and restoration. Though His people were in captivity in Babylon for many years, He never ceased reminding them that He would ultimately bring them home to Israel, and that when He did, their lives would be even better than before they were exiled. While what they could perceive with their physical senses spoke of defeat, He invited them to assume spiritual vision that could see beyond their immediate circumstances. Since they lived in tents, He advised them to expand their dwelling places, embrace their new home, and expect Him to move in their midst to broaden their strength and influence. In fact, this account is the root of a spiritual principle that can benefit us today — we should

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Healed Hearts Change the World

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3 Today, we officially begin the countdown to a new year, and if you’re anything like me, I’m really looking forward to a fresh start. There’s something about the promise and possibility of the next season that fills my heart with hope, and I pray that it does for you, too. That said, as we look at the state of our world in these times, what we see can be disheartening. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, social and political wounds run deep in our culture. Knowing this, I believe now is a better time than ever to embrace the truth that every positive change begins with Jesus in us. There’s an old song that says “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” While I used to think it was really cheesy, I’ve come

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