Love is talked about often during the Christmas season. The love of God in our hearts produces hope (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit instructs us about God's love. The gifts given by the Holy Spirit are to be lived out in love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and 1 Peter 4:9-11). It is God Himself who teaches us to love (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10).
This passage of Scripture embodies the very heart of Memorial Day. Nationally, we stand in the face of such love this weekend.
In combat, it is not necessarily the high ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that motivates a sailor or soldier to things he or she never thought personally possible. Rather, it is the love for the brother or sister in arms next to them in the conflict. Medal of honor recipient Lawrence Chamberlain tried to explain the willingness of men to face bullets in this way: "Simple manhood, force of discipline, pride, love, or the bond of comradeship." This longing for all to get home safely together motivates so powerfully in the heat of the battle! It is this special bond that creates a camaraderie so palatable that it lasts a lifetime and explains unbelievable acts of heroism.
Jesus Himself cites this axiom in John 15:13, and we do well to honor those who have fallen in the display of such love.
Psalm 73:3 expresses a feeling that most Christians experience after they have been saved for a while: "I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Job expressed the same thought in Job 21:7-20. This is especially challenging in a culture where sinful lifestyles are celebrated.
Psalm 73 addresses the issue of why the wicked prosper, but without answering the question. It answers the deeper question of why the righteous envy the wicked and what the solution is for that.
If God is providentially in control of all things working out everything to the end of keeping His promises, then what part to I play? What does providence expect of me?
As humans, we need to understand the axioms of existence. What is the big picture? What are the fundamental presuppositions of the universe? As we read the book of Psalms, what is the underlying galvanizing reality that underpins them all?
Independence Day weekend is filled with national interest, with many looking to our government for happiness. Psalm 1, however, identifies the individual and their relationship to God's Word as the true source of happiness. Your relationship to God’s Word determines your state of being.
James 1:25 makes clear that understanding God's Word and applying it result in God's blessing. This blessing, however, does not mean what most people assume. The blessing we receive is the operation of grace in our spiritual growth as we increasingly become like Christ. This is something we cannot do in our own power! Romans 6 is a longer treatise on that same progression from understanding to applying to growing.
Have you ever dealt with a blocked pipe? Water cannot drain where it needs to; instead, all kinds of contaminants can seep into what was clean water. And it stinks, at that! If relationships are a pipe, sin blocks fellowship from flowing between two parties. Proverbs 28:13 says that concealing our sin prevents the Lord's blessing, but confession and forsaking sin clears our relationships with God and others.
In Daniel 6:26-27, the pagan king Darius gave praise to the Lord of Israel because of the testimony of Daniel. Daniel's life demonstrates the fact that God will honor those who stand for Him in the most trying times. Even as a teenager, Daniel demonstrated godly courage, loyalty, humility, and integrity. He lived up to his name, meaning "God is my judge," and gained the trust and affection of his superiors.
The pastoral epistles are often said to be about the structure and governance of the church. This may sound dry and unappealing to the average Christian in the pew, until you realize that the church cannot be structured or governed without people! Paul's letter to Timothy is instructive not just for pastors but for every group in the church.
Before leaving earth, Christ left a task for each believer in the church: to make disciples as a way of life (Matthew 28:19). We flesh out what it means to love God and others through disciple-making. As we exercise our own spiritual gift, each believer is also to be teaching truth from God's Word.
Genesis 50 is the conclusion to chapters 47-49. It’s a chapter of two funerals for two men of faith. A life lived with simple integrity most influences the lives of those who follow. Jacob and Joseph left a legacy of faith for their family in three simple ways:
Psalm 63 describes a saint who needs refreshment. Jacob receives spiritual refreshment from the Lord in Genesis 35 as he gets right with God and continues to make progress.
You’ve probably of someone “cramming 4 years of college into 10.” In Genesis 29, Jacob spends 20 years in the school of spiritual hard knocks. The first events are glorious, but they are soon followed by tragedy and consequences.
Our study of the Regeneration section of Genesis continues with the second and third of the patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob. Isaac demonstrated his faith throughout his life by being a submissive perpetuator of the faith. He made mistakes, but he won more spiritual battles than he lost. Lest we read this account from the end of his life and assume he was a failure, remember that Isaac is included in the Great Hall of Faith (see Hebrews 11:20).
In God’s providence, the next chapter of Genesis fits perfectly with a Father’s Day theme. The Lord provides for every need of His people’s hearts when preaching through the whole Word of God.
The American evangelical culture can view God as an activity director on a cruise ship. We expect Him to be blessing us every moment, or He is not doing His job. This passage corrects that understanding. Faith is cultivated through trials.
Some readers of Genesis 7 may ask, “Why a worldwide flood? Was that level of judgment really necessary?” Remember what we learned about the society in that day – it was “exceedingly corrupt,” to the point that “every intent of the thoughts of [anyone’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God’s judgment is always proportionate to the sin He is judging. We will see again this week that He is a fair and just God who continually offers mercy even at the eleventh hour.
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