Am I Strong?

[338 words] How do I know if I am strong? There are numerous ways to measure physical strength. One example of a physical strength test would be the bench press. Each year at the NFL combine players demonstrate how many times they can press 225 pounds. Fifteen to twenty-five times seems to be about the…

Thankful for the Gospel

[425 words] Gospel = Good News. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that sinners can be saved! Thanks to the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, sinners like you and me have hope because we can be cleansed of our sins and made righteous in the sight of God.…

Sincerely Wrong

[313 words] “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s…

The Beauty and Power of Hope

[306 words] Viktor E. Frankl is one of those rare and special individuals who survived Hitler’s concentration camps. He went on to become a well-respected psychiatrist in his time after the war. Frankl dedicated his life’s work to exploring and sharing the necessity and influence of meaning and hope. Frankl observed that the people who…

Pursue Righteousness

[151 words] Numerous times in Scripture the Lord encourages us to “pursue righteousness.” The term righteousness is variously used, sometimes referring to virtuous or obedient living and other times referring to the condition of being made innocent by God and thus acceptable to Him. The idea is this: The Lord expects us to live a…

Lessons Learned from Joshua

[289 words] The book of Joshua is so great. Not only is it “for our instruction…and…encouragement” (Romans 15:4), it is captivating! Joshua tells us of war and intrigue, victories and losses, warnings and challenges, miraculous signs and wonders (huge fortified walls crashing down, a river drying up for people to cross, the sun standing still,…

When It Seems All Is Lost

[73 words] When it seems all is lost…remember that the Creator sees us (Job 34:21; Psalm 33:13-15; Heb. 4:13). When it seems all is lost…remember that this world is not all that there is (Job 1:6; 2:1; 16:19; Rev. 21:3-4;  Matt. 25:46). When it seems all is lost…remember that our Redeemer lives (Job 19:25; Heb.…

All Things New

[298 words] Happy New Year!  How many times have you heard that phrase in the last few days? Most likely, the person saying it to you sincerely desires for you to have a great 2022.  Of course, it could also mean that they are just thankful 2021 is gone and a fresh new year has…

Making Sense of Moral Outrage

[544 words] This is a time of moral outrage. Anger and animosity quickly and easily spill over from one person to the next, often in violent outbursts. Riots and looting have been recorded and reported from the streets of several major U.S. cities. Bitterness and condescension is lobbed from one side of the aisle to…

Finding Favor

[257 words] Numerous times in Scripture we read about godly men and women who “find favor” in the sight of God and the people around them. It seems to be a common characteristic. For example:  Esther is described again and again as one who won favor in the sight of the king and his subordinates…

Father, Forgive Them

[114 words] The Jewish authorities: “They spit in His face and struck Him. And some slapped Him, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?’” (Matt. 26:67-68). The Roman soldiers: “They spit on Him and took the reed and struck Him on the head” (Matt. 27:30). Peter: “I do not know…

How Often Do I Really Have to Go?

[160 words] In this unusual time of a pandemic due to the COVID virus, of course we seek to be compassionate, flexible, and understanding. We must do our best to take care of each other (Matt. 7:12; Phil. 2:4). That being said, how much is “enough” when it comes to assembling with the saints? At…

No Excuses

[227 words] On September 26, 2021, Elijah Saolo was about to win the Quad Cities Marathon in Illinois. As he sprinted down the final stretch, not only was he in the lead, he was on pace to set a record time!  But then, instead of turning right and following the designated path, he went straight…

Delight

[127 words] To “delight” in something is to experience great pleasure. It is to be pleased by someone or something. Scripture tells us that God delights in His Son (cf. Isa. 42:1; Matt. 3:17). In like fashion, we should too! Knowing and following the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, should delight those of us…

Help in Time of Sadness

[322 words] Numerous are the occasions that may cause us to feel the emotion of sadness. Seeing someone we love make sinful choices will break our hearts. Seeing someone we love go away (either temporarily like moving or permanently like dying) will cause a wellspring of tears to overflow. Scripture prepares us to expect times…

Times Change

[354 words] Most of the time, change is good. We all want to grow, get stronger, learn more, see more places, etc. Certainly we are aware of the fact that our methods and tactics must change and adapt when we become ineffective. We must take advantage of opportunities as they are presented. On and on…

To Be Noble

[283 words] According to Philippians 4:8, whatever is noble is listed second among the many things upon which we are to think (cf. NKJV). How often do we make the effort to focus on the noble? Do we even really know what the word means? After all, it isn’t a term that is used very…

Who Is Jesus?

[474 words] Divine names are extremely significant and packed full of meaning Men like Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David received a progressive revelation of the character of God by means of those names. B.F. Westcott once wrote, “Each name authoritatively given to God is, so to speak, a fresh and lasting revelation of his nature.…

Being A Difference-Maker

[240 words] Most of us are pretty good at making excuses and rationalizing as to why we are not more vocal in sharing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus with others.  “I don’t know enough!” “I wasn’t trained for this!” “That is someone else’s job!”  The list goes on but you get the idea. …

The Truth

[122 words] It seems so hard to trust people these days. Who can be counted on to tell us the truth?  Here is what we know: Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).  Additionally, we know: It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).  Therefore, we absolutely must spend more…

The Best is Yet to Come!

[259 words] We know we need some good news. In fact, we need as much good news as we can get! With 2020 behind us, we are desperate now to be told that something good, something better and brighter is on the way. Well…it is! “But the path of the righteous is like the light…

Made for Another World

[160 words] C.S. Lewis once wrote, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” We know that we were made for another world. Scripture teaches it. Our own experience testifies to it. The Psalmist wrote, “As a…

The End of the Matter

[290 words] Stephen Covey famously suggested that one of the habits of highly effective people is that they “begin with the end in mind.” I was thinking of that phrase recently while studying the book of Ecclesiastes at the very time that we have started a brand new year.  Seeing that this is January of…

If the Doors Are Blocked

[318 words] Mark chapter 2 (as well as Mathew 9 and Luke 5) records the time that Jesus Christ healed a paralyzed man—one who had to be carried by his friends. The report begins by telling us Jesus was wildly popular at this particular time: “And many were gathered together, so that there was no…

Reminders

[210 words] We all need reminders. If not for our digital calendars and alarms, our post-it notes, and our spouses, most of us would be lost and would fail to meet most deadlines. The Lord let Peter know that he had a responsibility to remind his fellow Christians about what was truly important (2 Peter…

Blessings of Worship

[204 words] First and Second Chronicles offers us several great reminders about what a wonderful blessing worship should be to our lives. Especially right now when our routines have been disrupted, we need to make sure we are participating with heart, soul, mind, and strength.  When the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem,…

Legislate Morality? 

[394 words] Of course morality can be legislated. More than that, morality must be legislated. We all believe it to be so.  Consider theft: We demand our government protect our property and punish the thief because we know that it is immoral to steal.  Consider murder: We demand our government punish the one who has…

Scams and Excuses

[182 words] A friend shared this tongue-in-cheek warning: “Do not let them take your temperature as you are going into the store! It’s a scam! They’re erasing your memory! I went for bread, eggs, and vegetables…but I came home with soda pop, ice cream and candy!” I smiled as I read it because we can…

Why Has All This Happened to Us?

[366 words] The history of Gideon is fascinating. There is a reason why his story is so commonly shared with young people at Vacation Bible School, etc. But before he was smashing jars and blowing trumpets (Judges 7:19-21), he was wrestling with difficult questions.  And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is…

Be a Light

[260 words] “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it  under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine  before others, so that…

One Thing

[219 words] There are many voices competing for our attention. There are many destinations pleading for our arrival. There are many products and companies begging for our money. Yet only one voice matters. Only one destination is of any consequence. Only one being can inform us as what to do with / how to look…

The Destructive Nature of Selfishness

[428 words] “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). Two locations are widely recognized as the most likely spots for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One, the…

Shelter in Place

[398 words] “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans have been told to stay home.  That means do not go to work, do not go to school, do not leave the house at all unless…

The Blessings of Friends and Family

[194 words] It is truly a blessing to be part of a loving family. In like fashion, it is a great blessing to have dear friends. Sadly, not everyone knows what it feels like to be part of such things. All too often we take our family and friends for granted.  If you are so…

Dealing with Shame

[341 words] Rayden Overbay is a 12-year-old with special needs from Yukon, Oklahoma. He became somewhat famous not long ago because of the terrible way he was treated. A video of him being bullied went viral. He was bullied to such a degree—he felt such shame—that he had written, “I want to kill myself” on…

How Bad Can I Be?

[445 words] With the winter holidays just around the corner, we will all be seeing items and hearing stories related to the season. As such, I just read about the fact that there is a website known as emailsanta.com where young ones may write an electronic letter to the North Pole. Several letters from these…

What Does Humility Look Like?

[220 words] If you were to encounter a truly humble person (at work, school, on the street, etc.), what would they look like?  C.S. Le wis wrote, “Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him” (Mere Christianity,…

Appropriate Responses to Jesus

[156 words] In Luke 4 there is a major focus on who Jesus is and the way people respond to Him. Obviously, there are both appropriate as well as inappropriate ways to respond to His presence and call. Some appropriate responses to Jesus would be: Praise Him for His powerful message (Luke 4:15). Jesus reveals…

Finishing Well

[227 words] Wouldn’t you love to face eternity with confidence? You can! “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the…

The Irrational Nature of Sin

[192 words] Willing participation in sin just does not make any sense. To defy the will of God is not only wicked and damning, it is irrational. Knowing that sin separates one from God (Isa. 59:2), who would venture down such a path? The answer is disturbing: all of us (Rom. 3:23). But such does…