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Showing posts from November, 2016

Pray for Peace

Prayer is a common topic in Paul's epistles. It seems he bathed each letter in prayer before putting pen to paper and again before sending it out. No subject was too minor to take before God. No person was too great or too lowly to find a place in his prayers. Paul prayed for his work and fellow workers. He prayed for Christians laboring in their home congregations to bring the light of Christ into communities darkened by Satan's influence. He prayed for the lost searching for light and for the saved seeking the lost.
    As Paul wrote to Timothy he urged him to pray. Pray for the governing officials (1 Timothy 2:2). Pray for peace (2:2). Pray for evangelism (2:4).
    Oswald Smith is remembered as saying, "When we work, we work. When we pray, God works." But Paul said it first. In a troubled time he told Timothy that prayer was the avenue for peace to prevail. But he also urged him to be ready to act when his prayer was answered and doors of opportunity were ope…

Home and Thanksgiving

Family is a huge part of Thanksgiving. The home is one of God’s greatest blessings. As the oldest divinely established institution, the home is the earliest and most successful training ground for becoming the men and women God wants us to become. It comes as no surprise that the home is also the most effective training ground for Christ's church. This week most Americans make their way home to share old memories and make new ones. No family is perfect. But the family that strives to meet God's expectations will excel in these four traits.
Honor.The apostle Paul calls upon children to “honor your father and mother” (Eph. 6:2). It is in the home that children must first learn to honor parents. And when parents live honorable lives, their children will possess a fuller appreciation of what it truly means to honor God.
Obedience.Paul also commands children to &…

The Making of a Saint

    The story is told of a group touring a very old village that featured a beautifully ornate cathedral. As a tour guide described the history, art, and architectural features displayed in the well-preserved building he finally came to the impressive stained glass windows depicting various religious scenes. A curious young boy stood amazed as the sun shining through the window left a clear reflection of the scene on the floor. Their guide explained to them the lives of various saints and the story of their lives.
    Suddenly interrupting his presentation, the guide asked the group, "Does anybody know what a saint is?"
    Immediately the young boy's hand flew up as he said “I do, I do!”
    As all eyes turned toward him the boy said, “A saint is someone that the light shines through!”
    Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). But He also said, "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). Understanding how these two Bible passages re…

A Gift From Johnson Oatman

Over a 100 years ago Johnson Oatman gave a wonderful gift to Christian worship. It sprang out of a gift he himself had received from his father.
    Born in 1856, at Medford, NJ, Johnson Oatman inherited his father's love for music. An excellent singer, the elder Johnson's voice filled the Oatman home and made an indelible impression in the mind of his young son. After college the younger Oatman was a partner in his father's general store and later in the insurance industry while also serving as a denominational preacher. But from the age of 36 much of his "spare time" was spent on his real passion, writing hymns of which he reportedly authored more than 5,000. Hymnologist Jacob Henry Hall wrote of Oatman, "no gospel song book is considered as being complete unless it contains some of his hymns" (hymnary.org). While we are familiar with Oatman's favorite hymns, Higher Ground and No Not One, it is Count Your Blessings(written in 18…

Born of Water and Spirit

John 3:1-5

     One of the most amazing examples of light shattering the darkness was Nicodemus’ night visit with Jesus. That evening the Pharisee sought clarity based on the clear evidence of Jesus' miraculous power. These miracles were undeniable proof that "God [was] with Him.”
     Not even Nicodemus was prepared to fully unravel the answer he received from Jesus. But when you consider that these two men had vastly different definitions of what "kingdom of God” means it only stands to reason that they have drastically different concepts on what it takes to enter it. In fact, that is exactly what Jesus did in placing the new birth, of water and the Spirit (i.e. baptism), as essential in gaining entrance into, and membership in God's kingdom, the church of Christ (Acts 2:38).
    Truly that night as Jesus [spoke] with Nicodemus “the light shines in the darkness” (John 1:5). I hope that Nicodemus’ …