The simple message of the cross is a stumbling block to nonbelievers. The formula for a divine transaction is found in Romans 4: faith plus nothing equals the righteousness of God. What God simplifies, man complicates.
Passages: Luke 5:12; Mark 1-40-44
Jesus healed in many ways, but in the case of the leper, Jesus reached out and touched him. The very essence of Christianity is to touch the untouchable, love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable.
Four great discoveries are revealed in Romans 6. We have evil natures and have committed sins against a Holy God. While we desire to do well, we always struggle with wrongdoing. Jesus provides victory over sinful behavior.
Passages: Romans 8:1-4
We don't want the changed life, we want the exchanged life. For this God has given us His Holy Spirit. The Christian life becomes practical through the life and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Condemnation is dispelled. God's grace is assured.
Who shall separate us from God's love? Not God. He already has too much invested in us. Not others. God has already sealed His decision in concrete. Not Jesus. He is praying for us! We are locked into God's love securely. Forever.
God has the power to fix the world, and He does care about the suffering. He is working out an eternal plan to redeem and restore it all. Genesis describes how sin entered the world and corrupted it. Revelation describes how God will reestablish it all back. Over and over the Bible links two things which we would usually not link together—“hurts” and “hallelujahs”.
We can pray to God using His many names: God, mighty and majestic, God our Helper, God our Righteousness, God our Sanctifier, God our Peace and Indwelling Presence, God our Provider, God our Banner, God our Shepherd.
Passages: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
We love happy endings. We want the right guy to get the girl. We want the world saved from extinction. We want the hero to win. The same is true in real life. We want a happy ending. King Solomon wrote: Ecclesiastes 12:13: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.” Solomon closed Ecclesiastes from his death bed by sharing the secret of “happy endings.” Solomon was a wiser man as he proclaimed that fearing God and obeying His commands are the only way to happy endings and living happily ever after.
When we allow God to do His work in us we mature in our faith. As we grow from being spiritual infants to spiritual parents we submit to God’s process of brokenness, obedience and communion with our Heavenly Father. The result is an increasingly intimate relationship with God and others.
Peter grows from a roughshod fisherman to a gentle and caring shepherd of God's people. When we serve as God's shepherds, we must be broken, humble and love unconditionally. Those who shepherd receive the pastor's crown when they reach heaven.
We live on hope, not memory. When we focus on our hopes for the future, not the memories of our past, we realize what it means to truly experience joy and contentment in this life. But the source of our hope is in Jesus' promise of heaven and eternal life.
Passages: Ecclesiastes 1:1-18
As Solomon begins Ecclesiastes, he observes that in nature what goes around comes around. Man’s existence is fleeting, and he is not as important as he thinks. Therefore, we must hold all things loosely, bring God into every aspect of our lives and enjoy each day. Only life without Christ is bleak.
Series: Lessons from the Life of Jesus
Passages: Luke 16
Jesus' parable of Lazarus and Dives is a glimpse into the afterlife. We learn from Jesus that hell is real and that we can be certain of our eternal destination. Hell is a place of eternal fire, isolation and torment. Faith in Jesus determines our destiny.
Series: Fight for Truth: Jude
Jude describes the earmarks of falling away: stubbornness, complaining, fault-finding, dishonesty, boasting and manipulating. The antidote for falling away is a repentant heart and uncompromising honesty with God, self and others.
Passages: Proverbs 31
Proverbs 31 is often interpreted as a standard of measurement for wives and mothers. Actually, the chapter is based on teachings by King Lemuel's mother to recognize the love and sacrifice of godly women behind the scenes. Verses describing the value of a wife and mother are followed by ways family and friends can appreciate significant women in their lives.
Passages: Ecclesiastes 5:10-6:2
Solomon observes that there are two sides to wealth: God-blessed abundance and the insatiable grasping for riches. God has laid out a solid plan to manage our resources. Tithe the first portion of income to God, pay taxes, meet family needs and pay debts. Saving for the future and faithful management of income will yield a surplus.
Passages: Selected Scriptures
What exactly did Jesus do the week before He died? As we enter into His suffering, we grow in our compassion and understanding of our Savior.
Passages: Romans 12:1-2; Romans 6:3-4
Translating beliefs into our lifestyle and relationships hinges dramatically on Romans 12. When we see God’s mercy, it causes us to respond to temptation in surrender and worship. Once and for all we decide that we belong to the Lord to glorify Him.
Hosea was asked by God to marry an unfaithful woman and love her unconditionally. In doing so, he demonstrated the kind of amazing love God has for his children.
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