sin

Creation Declares God’s Glory

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20 Did you know that the default for a human being is to believe in God? According to a recent Pew research study, 90 percent of Americans believe in God. However, I’m willing to bet that 100 percent of people in say, African jungles, believe in Him. Children believe in Him, too, until they’re taught not to. This is because our natural state is one of belief; it is built into us to look around in awe and understand that there must be a Maker — a Creator of all the glory that we perceive with our senses.  The world is full of the Lord’s glory; I believe we see it all around us all the time,

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Evil Has No Power

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21 As Christians, we are constantly in a battle with the enemy! It’s critical to recognize that we have an opponent who is out to steal, murder, and destroy. Despite how counterintuitive it may sound, I don’t want you to be terrified of him because he’s already been defeated. Don’t ignore your adversary’s teachings, but don’t become discouraged, oppressed, or anxious about his influence in your life. You have authority and power against the forces of darkness as a believer in Jesus Christ, baptized into His Kingdom and covered by His blood. This is because you share your identity with your Savior; you are seated with Him in the heavenly realms and join in the work He finished on the cross. Even if the devil tempts and tests you, he does not have the final say! Friends,

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God Turns it Around for Good

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 Well, here I go again with a lesson in history, but it’s always amazing to me how much we can learn by studying those who came before us. That said, today, I want to talk about Henry VIII, who was the King of England in the 1500’s. His first marriage was to a Catholic woman named Catherine of Aragon, and she was from Spain. As time went on, she was unable to bear him a son, and since having a male heir was the only way to ensure that his royal lineage would outlive him, he wanted the marriage annulled. He was certain that if he wed another woman, he would finally get his baby boy; the only problem was that in

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Satan Is Slick

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” – Romans 16:20 One of the ways we gain victory over the devil’s attacks is to realize that he unfailingly tries to sell us on a shortcut. We talked yesterday about how the Lord moves slowly to fight our battles and that it’s important to stand by patiently for divine breakthrough. Unfortunately, lurking on the other side of this truth is Satan, who knows full well when we get restless. Rather than struggle with waiting, he tempts us to go after what feels good in the moment. Even though it’s just a “quick fix,” he whispers in our ear that endurance and hard work aren’t worth it, especially when no one else seems willing to pay the price. Therefore, while the Lord is busy cultivating in our lives an immovable

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There’s Power in the Blood

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” – 1 Peter 1:18,19 We’ve learned recently that Jesus sent ten lepers on a journey to Jerusalem in order to receive their healing. He instructed them to go and show themselves to the priest, and the Bible says that they were cleansed as they went. But what most of us don’t know is what happened to them once they got there. In order for a person suffering with leprosy to be admitted back into society, there was a ritual ceremony that took place. After the priest examined and declared them clean, he instructed them to take a live dove and dip it in blood and

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The World’s System

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast — terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.” – Daniel 7:7 It’s safe to say that the world’s way is beastly. Ever since humanity fell into sin, the forces of darkness have been raging to orchestrate chaos and stir up violence. Throughout all of history, kingdoms have risen against each other and war has been commonplace. Of course, behind every mass movement of anarchy, disorder, or crime stands Satan — the Beast himself. It was his image that Daniel saw in the vision recorded in Daniel 7, wherein he took the form of four brutal monsters, each representing a worldly government under the sway

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Manifold Mercy

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:4,5 I love that the Bible says that God is rich in mercy. In fact, I believe His grace and forbearance come in waves, and like surfers catch the swells and ride atop their crests effortlessly, when we flow with the currents of His goodness, we experience a life that is exhilaratingly free. That said, in order to tap into this liberty, we must do one very important thing, and that is to forgive ourselves. While some of us struggle every day with the shame of wrong choices or hard living in our past, others of us grapple with the pain of not being perfect. And because our Savior has set eternity in our hearts

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Grace is Greater Than Guilt

“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 1:14 Something I’ve learned as I’ve counseled people through the years is that shame always leads to sin and grace always leads to goodness. Nothing helpful comes from self-condemnation and guilt; rather, righteousness and holiness come from a base of grace, or an understanding that acceptance is not dependent upon behavior. The truth is that being emotionally healthy, grounded, and secure is only possible when we understand that in Christ, we are loved just as we are. God knew we were helpless to help ourselves, so He stooped down to us when we were still sinners and made us righteous by the blood of Jesus. This means that if we’ve said “yes” to our Savior’s redemption, we’ve already attained perfection in His eyes. And while

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No Shame On You

“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” – Isaiah 61:7 It’s hard to receive love when we have guilt and shame in our lives. Shame happens when there’s something about ourselves that we hate so much that we don’t let anybody else see it. We fear rejection due to our lack of perfection, and this keeps us in a pattern of hiding — at least partially — from the very connection that can set us free. If we deal with this kind of self-condemnation and guilt, it’s important to remember that everyone who we think is perfect is not nearly as infallible as we think they are. And while we don’t want to gloat in the struggles of others, it’s

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The Wisdom in God’s Warning

“At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.’” – Ezekiel 3:16,17 Over and over again in the Old Testament, we see the Lord warning His people. Though they were chosen and set apart by Him to be a living representation of His goodness, they habitually fell into sin and wickedness. This was especially true in the time of the prophet Ezekiel. Despite knowing right from wrong, the Jews in his day were partaking in paganism and idolatry that involved such gross practices as prostitution, child sacrifice, and other rituals. Seeing their blatant disregard for His ways, God could have punished them then and there. However, He chose to send a messenger to preach repentance instead. So patient and

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