Grace and Goodness Overcome Evil

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21 I remember when I first got to seminary. I was a young 25-year-old who knew everything because, well, I had the Bible and that was all I needed. However, being part of a Reformed denomination, I was told that if I wanted to be a pastor, I needed to go to seminary. So on my first day, I waltzed into a class and a really well-known theologian was my professor. At one point that day, when he made an assertion about something, I stood up and literally said to him out loud, “You’re wrong!”  He didn’t lash out at this point nor did he make me feel embarrassed, he simply began asking me questions. As he worked on dismantling my argument one probe at a time, I gradually lost confidence in my position and sat down

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Praise Precedes Victory

“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.’” – 2 Chronicles 20:21 After Jahaziel prophesied that Judah would win over the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mt. Seir, King Jehoshaphat and his troops marched into war. However, instead of going entrenched in gear and combat strategy, they moved toward their enemies worshipping the Lord. So certain were they that God would make good on His promise to deliver them that they were confident enough to thank Him before it happened. And while we tend to think of conflict and struggle as solemn, the truth is that our greatest battles are often won from a posture of joyful praise. No matter how dire things look, the

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You’re Not Invisible

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 Today, I want to give an encouragement to those of you who feel invisible. I know that some of you may be struggling with difficult circumstances, and you’re tired. Perhaps you keep doing the right thing day after day but nobody seems to notice or care. If this is you, you can be absolutely certain that God sees you, and that He understands your sacrifice. Maybe you’re a young mom and you spend all week tending to the needs of your children with very little time to take care of yourself. If you’re worn out and close to tears, remember that the Lord is with you. He is enveloping you in grace and

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Making the Weak Strong

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 One of the things I love about God is how He is always on the side of the little guy. He likes to make the weak strong so they can do good. Along those lines, today, I want to talk about Alexander the Great, one of my favorite historical figures. Alexander was a tyrant who came to power after his father, Philip the second, died. Philip had assembled an enormous, highly trained army, so when Alexander ascended the throne, he gained

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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 looked at the story of four lepers who gathered treasure left by their enemies and turned it over to their king on behalf of their city, which was in distress. Though they had been outcast and marginalized for years and were tempted to “take what was theirs,” they did the right thing by God and their fellow man by sharing it. While it’s difficult for us to comprehend how rough their lives had been to that point, the current pandemic offers us a more realistic glimpse into their pain. For the first time, many of us understand the isolation of quarantine

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