How do you spot a wise person? Is it someone with lots of education, or success in their field? Maybe they just have to be older than you? In this week's passage, James defines wisdom in a way that perhaps we hadn't thought about it before: he tells us there needs to be evidence of our wisdom in the life that we live.
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One of the things our Creator has instilled in each of us is a longing for justice-- the desire to be treated fairly, and to know that systems are in place to protect us. But if we look around, we see that there is injustice everywhere. People are abusing their positions of power and authority, cheating and stealing from each other, and getting away with it.
Where is God in all of this?
This Sunday we'll look not only at Isaiah 9, but all over the Bible to see what God has to say about justice, and what he has promised to us with the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ.
Our Heavenly Father has put in each of us a deep desire for joy. We crave more than just sleep, eat, work, repeat. In the deepest part of our souls, we want to know:
Can my life have real and lasting meaning?
Can I be loved unconditionally?
Can I know the Almighty God who created me?
Isaiah 9 answers all of those questions with an emphatic "Yes!" and declares that when the Messiah (Jesus) comes, He will fulfill our longing for joy.
This Sunday we begin a 4-week sermon series on the topic of doubt. We begin with perhaps the most famous story of doubt in the entire Bible, the story of Thomas (whose name is so synonymous with doubt, that anyone who demonstrates skepticism is described as a "doubting Thomas"!).
As we look deeper into this story, questions will arise... Does Jesus want us to have "blind faith"? If we ask for evidence, are we showing a lack of faith? Is there a difference between doubt and unbelief? What exactly are we believing in, anyway?
Is there significance to the phrase "Jesus of Nazareth"? You bet there is! This was more than just a title or an address; the fact that Jesus was raised in the town of Nazareth says a great deal about who God is and what He is about. This Sunday we'll wrap up our Advent series, all about the unexpected way in which God became human and entered our world.
How does it feel to pray for something for the first time? How about the second, or third, or thousandth time? At some point in our lives, we've probably all felt discouraged in praying for the same thing repeatedly without any response from God. Why should we keep going? This week's Scripture passage addresses that very question.
In this week's Scripture passage, Paul contrasts his life before knowing Christ to his life now. He uses some pretty strong language! It's all for the purpose of helping us see that there isn't anything we could pursue, accomplish, or wish for ourselves in this life than knowing Christ. But what does it mean to know Christ?
When you think of telling people about your faith in Jesus, what kinds of feelings come up? Most likely, fearis one of the emotions you feel. Fear of alienating a friend, offending someone, looking "weird," being labeled "intolerant" or "narrow-minded." In this week's passage, Paul reminds us of an amazing truth: because of what Jesus Christ has done for us, we are full-fledged citizens of heaven. And because of this, we can feel free to share our faith with others without fear, no matter what happens! (Remember, Paul wrote this letter from prison, so he knows what he's talking about!)
This is Memorial Day weekend in the United States, a time to remember those in the military who have made the "ultimate sacrifice," giving their lives defending and protecting our freedom.
In this week's Scripture passage (Romans 5:1-11), we see that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. However, his death bought a freedom even more precious than political freedom-- it was the freedom from sin and death.
The key verse is verse 8, which says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
How can this be?? Is this really Noah, righteous man of God, giant of the faith? Drunk, passed out, naked, humiliated by his son? Why is this story here, and what does it show us about the roots of our redemption? If you've ever thought to yourself, "How could God ever love someone like me?" then you need to hear this.
Today we'll look at the story of Cain and Abel, and we'll ask three questions that will help us see this familiar story in a new way:
- 1) What do we learn about God's character? What is important to Him?
- 2) What do we learn about Cain, and about ourselves?
- 3) Where is Jesus in this story?
Simeon received the unique promise from God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. This song is his response to the fulfillment of that promise: the moment when he held the baby Jesus in his arms. One of the lyrics of his song is, to paraphrase, "Now I can die in peace." What would it be like to be to able to face death with that kind of contentment? The Bible tells us that if we are in Christ, we too can not only die in peace, but we can live in peace too!
Do you ever feel guilty because you aren't feeling as passionate about your relationship with God as you think you should? If so, then Psalm 132 will be a great encouragement to you. It will light a fire in your heart as you realize the lengths that God has gone to in order to be with you.
A couple of important questions Psalm 129 can help us answer:
- If God is righteous, why are these things happening to me?
- If God is righteous, how should I pray for people who hate God?
How often have you asked yourself, "Is there anything solid I can base my life upon?" There is enough uncertainty in this life to seriously threaten our sense of security. Just when you were about to give up, along comes Psalm 125 to remind us that if we've put our trust in Jesus, we have the permanence and immovability of a mountain. We're "The Unshakables!"
This Psalm is very short-- just 4 verses-- but it is packed with truth for us to learn about who God is. It will raise lots of questions for you, but the most important one is, "Who is on the throne of your heart?"
Today is all about why we do what we do. What motivates us at the deepest levels? When you think of your relationship to God, do you feel like you are His son or daughter, or do you feel more like a slave? In today's section of Galatians, Paul wants to let us know that if we are in Christ, then we are indeed sons and daughters of God. But that's not all!...
In the first chapter of Galatians, Paul has begun to build a very compelling case for why we must not distort the true gospel message. Here in chapter 2, he goes to great lengths to ensure that the integrity of the gospel remains intact. Why? For you and me!