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Guarded By Angels

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There are lots of reasons for us to fear. We face many issues we can’t control and many problems we can’t fix. There are forces arrayed against us that are bigger, stronger, and smarter than we are. It does little good to be told by religious instructors to stop being afraid. Fear lurks behind too many troubles that come cascading our way....

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Conscious of His Presence

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We were not designed to live apart from the conscious presence of God as our Father. Life works properly only in that arrangement. The alienation that came into the human experience through sin is foreign to the dynamics of life with God. Trying to figure out our role and the essential ingredients to meaningful living while having a distant god is what creates man’s reli...

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Designed to Know and Enjoy God

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It must have been a great comfort to the disciples to know that their relationship with Jesus was not because they had sought it or earned it. He had found them, chosen them, and appointed them to live a certain way for a specific purpose. It is the same with us. We, too, have been chosen to carry on the same kind of commission the first disciples were given. We did not fi...

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Longing For Joy

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It has been said that there is a God-shaped vacuum in all of us and that we can never be fulfilled until that space is occupied by the God that created us. We can be even more specific. That inner space that cries for meaning was designed to be filled with the God who is a Father. Christianity’s distinctive must include the unique privilege of knowing God as Father. In h...

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We Have Work To Do

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Peter is not trying to alarm his readers by prophesying the end of time as we know it. Rather, he is alerting them to the special nature of the time in which they (and we) live. We are privileged to live in the aftermath of God’s great intervention in history. Jesus has come to fulfill the promises of the Old Testament, and we are those who are joint heirs with him. W...

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The Hope Within

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We are different from the world’s kind of people. Those who have not yet been immersed into the community of “in Christ” people are still striving to prove their point by showing how inconsistent the Christians are. It is true that when we react to attacks like they do, we are revealing that we aren’t much different except on Sundays when we go to church and they d...

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The Twist on Blessedness

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Everyone wants to be blessed. The problem is that we often view blessings as our gain at other’s loss. We are blessed if we win the lottery. Of course, that means that everyone else did not, and we got their money. We even tend to think that for God to bless us, others must not be blessed. And even further, we begin to feel that we are only blessed when we have more good...

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Husbands and Prayer

In marriage, the role of the husband is different from that of the wife, but the perspective and attitude are the same. Peter’s use of “likewise” or “in the same way” is common to both his instructions to the wife and to the husband and is probably referring to 2:13 where believers are exhorted to place their explicit trust in God by properly submitting to his de...

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Beautiful Wives

Since the new order has been launched in the resurrection of Jesus, every aspect of life is affected, including marriage. As all married people know, marriage can turn out to be not only different than expected, but difficult to navigate. For marriage to be anything like what God intended in the beginning, we need a new perspective. Peter is describing that new perspective...

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Standing in Strange Grace

The first readers of Peter’s letter might have been wondering if God’s favor was really upon them. After all, they were being persecuted for their faith. The new kingdom they had embraced upon hearing the gospel was not all tea and roses. They had come to realize that hostile powers were aligned against God’s established king and his people. Probably some had mocked ...

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You Aren't Alone in Suffering

Last week we saw the reality of being stalked, and the necessity of resisting Satan. One of his main tactics is to interpret circumstances in such a way as to misrepresent God’s intention and involvement in our lives....

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We Are Being Stalked

We have all watched the scary movies where a party is going on with everyone laughing and having a carefree time, yet a menacing bad guy is watching, waiting for the opportunity to pounce on some unsuspecting victim. We want to scream out, “Watch out! There is danger lurking!” Well, Peter does warn us all that there is a stalking enemy out there just looking for someon...

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What's the Fashion of the New Creation?

Those properly dressed in God’s kingdom are wearing humility. They are not competing for attention and vying for position. They have come to know a Father who is so big that they are not tempted to suppress themselves. Many trying to look humble are busy beating themselves down in order for God to be noticed. That is evidence of having a small God. Humanity does not have...

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Shepherd the Flock of God

Peter is an elder himself who has witnessed the glory of Christ and the suffering that comes from partaking of life with him. He is well aware of the commission he was given by the resurrected Lord after breakfast by the sea. Remember! He had promised to stand with Jesus no matter what but had failed miserably on the night of the betrayal. Jesus had confronted him over bre...

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The End of All Things

Many lessons have used this text to promote the idea that the end of the world was upon us. Since Peter wrote this prior to 70 AD, we would have to say he was wrong if, in fact, he was saying that. It has been 2000 plus years, and the earth is still here. Peter is telling his readers and us that everything that needed to be done had been done for God’s narrative to reach...

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Suffering Is Not Strange

In our culture, comfort and ease are valued so highly that the very thought of suffering as a normal part of life is unthinkable. In fact, too often the message coming from Christian leaders makes a mockery of suffering and categorizes it as outside of personal faith. Many people try to believe that they can live without suffering and still be faithful witnesses of God’s...

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Trusting the Just Judge

Christians are participants in the new creation, radically born again of the imperishable seed of God’s word. They have been separated for his possession and use in this world. They are filled with light and are placed in the midst of darkness. They are often broken so the light is seen by those walking in darkness. They embrace this calling and are ready to give an answ...

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Live As Free People

When bondage masquerades as liberty we must be on alert in order to escape the trap. It usually occurs when we have incorrectly identified our captors. If we think that our problem is authority or even rules, we will define liberty in terms of being out from under authority and beyond rules. Many have celebrated their presumed liberation only to find themselves deeper in b...

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Submission is to the Lord

Peter’s instructions regarding how to live in a culture that is hostile to the Gospel includes how believers are to respond to governmental structures that often put pressure on the Christian worldview. Peter reminds them and us that God has instituted certain structures in society and that submission to those God-ordained authorities is submission to God himself. The ci...

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The War Against Your Soul

It has been established that we are set apart to represent our Lord on this earth. We have been forgiven and cleansed by an act of unmatched mercy. We have been identified as his people on earth. We have been born again of the imperishable seed of his word. Our purpose is to reveal what free living looks like. We are not only free from the enslaving power of sin, but we ar...

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People of Mercy

The distinguishing feature of God’s people is that they are objects of mercy and reflections of mercy. No person really knows God personally if he or she has not cried out for mercy. People don’t become living stones in the living temple of God until they have faced their own desperate need of forgiveness. We are dead in trespasses and sins. We are blind to a true pers...

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The Truly Elite

Writing to a group of scattered Christians who had no real identity in their culture, Peter emphasizes who these people really are. They were rejected by the Jewish community because their Savior was the same Jesus that was rejected by the Jewish system. The secular culture viewed them as some kind of strange sect that was neither Jewish nor pagan. They were followers of a...

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The Rejected Stone

Jesus is offensive to those who have refused to respond to the previous revelations of God given through creation, conscience, and scripture. It is truly remarkable that mankind could be so blind as not to see the beauty of God in all that is around us. Yet, we are reminded daily that Jesus is rejectable. Believers should be overwhelmed with the mercy shown to us in openin...

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It Is Time To Give Thanks

We have just endured a grueling election, and feelings are still strong. Some are angry. Some are elated. Some are relieved. A huge transition is under way, and no really knows what the immediate future holds politically. There is still a lot of angst in the air. What a great time to stop and give thanks. Our souls need a refreshing and our hearts long to be whole. But mor...

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Born to Worship

We were made to worship! It is the reason for our existence. It is the only way we find our purpose, and it is the epitome of our delight. Adam and Eve worshipped God at all times. They adored him and obeyed him as they enjoyed his fellowship. It was in an act of worship that Cain became angry and killed his brother. When humans have gone astray, they have done so by worsh...

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Coming Grace

The nature of this magnificent salvation that former prophets inquired about and angels long to see is one of ever approaching grace. It is the continual progressive revelation of Christ and his rule now and forever. The prophet Daniel had dreams about the various kingdoms in history, culminating with the establishment of God's kingdom through his people on earth. The ston...

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No Mere Angel

Someone recently referred to the time of his death as being when he would get his harp and wings. It is a common euphemism but does not reflect the Bible's evaluation of us. We have never been angels. (Even our mothers can agree with that!) We shall never be angels. We are the unique image-bearers of God himself. The blood of God's Son has redeemed us, and that doesn't app...

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Taste of Good

One taste of the kind of goodness found in God is enough to motivate one to do whatever is necessary to get more. Those who find it a chore to drink of the pure spiritual milk must not have tasted the goodness or they have somehow forgotten how it taste....

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Freedom Is Tricky

Many people are tired of their enslavement. It is true also that many are not. They have denied their condition and bristle at the suggestion that they are being deprived of a world of delight by holding on to their own bondage. But the ones who admit that they are tired have had enough of the fears that paralyze them, the addictions that drive them, the obsessions that ha...

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Liberating Fear

Christians have long debated what it means to fear God. Some view him as the strict judge who is keeping a detailed record of all our misdeeds, and so they are almost paralyzed in fear of doing something wrong. Others emphasize the bigness of God and say that we are to live with a sense of awe, but not to fear any repercussions for our actions. Peter gives us some clarity:...

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Holiness is a Fun Word

The way we sang the old hymn Holy, Holy, Holy in the little Baptist church of my upbringing didn't bring to mind visions of fun and adventure. It felt more like suppression and boredom. I'm absolutely sure it was my perspective rather than the merits of the music or the lyrics, but the idea of "holiness" did not appeal to me. Evidently it doesn't to many others as well. To...

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Restored Glory

We are familiar with the statement of Paul that we have all sinned and have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). What glory have we come short of? It is the glory that God designed humans to have in the beginning. It is the glory of trusting God as his partner and image bearer on earth. Mankind is most honored when they are living in total trust toward God. There ...

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Angelic Envy

The salvation that has been revealed through Jesus Christ is of such a nature that the majestic angels would love to look into it, but can't. What is so intriguing to the angels? Aren't they the mighty beings of heaven that have access to realities that we can't see? Aren't they more powerful than even our imaginary superheroes of today? What is so grand about the salvatio...

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It Was God's Idea

Christians who are under pressure because of their unfriendly culture need to hear that God is not only their comforter, but also their source. They do not need to be so focused on their efforts that they forget his. They are not breathlessly trying to get to heaven or be heavenly on this earth as much as they are the beneficiaries of God's mercy. Before they got here, God...

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Both Grace And Peace

We don't pay much attention to salutations now. It is just a formality that we glance at as we move quickly into the content of the correspondence. Biblical writers viewed it with much more appreciation. In this case, Peter is speaking over his readers the blessing given in the gospel he is advocating....

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Set Apart to New Obedience

Peter is giving scattered first century believers reason to hope even though they are surrounded by a hostile culture. He establishes for them the truth about who they are and what has happened to them as they embrace the gospel. It is fantastic what has happened to them. It started long before they ever decided to believe. God the Father loved them and chose them to be hi...

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Chosen Sojourners

Alan Wright has wisely instructed us to get accustomed to living as missionaries in our own nation. Increasingly, the prevailing culture is becoming more hostile to the values of the gospel community. We can spend our time pining over the losses we have incurred morally, or we can take courage from the testimony of the early church that lived in the midst of cultures that ...

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Living in Favor

It is possible that the eighth chapter of Proverbs is the apex of wisdom literature. Wisdom is personified as one who has the keys to meaningful life and is eager to give them to those who recognize the value of wisdom. It points to a time in Solomon's future when ultimate wisdom is fully demonstrated in the person of Jesus the Christ. In this chapter, wisdom rehearses the...

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Family Wisdom

While many in our culture are arguing over family values and some are insisting that we abandon all restraints to sexual desires, we have the testimony of Wisdom for an anchor. Wisdom teaches us that God ordained families to train us how to view such powerful dynamics as sex and fidelity. We learn by models more than by lectures, and what we see modeled in our early life g...

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Wrath & Love

Does the God of love hate? Actually, his love demands he hate that which threatens those he loves. The great news of the gospel is that his love is so great that God in Christ became the sin that is so destructive to his creatures and condemned it in the flesh (Romans 8: 3)....

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Wake Up & Go to Work

In a day when the value of human labor is debated, we need clarification about why and how we work. The emphasis for many in affluent societies is on less work and more play. It seems we only work when we absolutely must. The real objective is not to work. Of course, for some who have not found work, a job is desirable. Even then, however, many would not work if they could...

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Intoxicating Marriage

Fatherly wisdom encourages us to embrace the gifts that God gives us and to refuse to settle for the substitutes offered by the deceiver. This is especially true in relation to marriage and the alternatives that compete with it. The temptation to adultery appeals to our selfishness. After all, we shouldn't be expected to be limited to just one sex partner, should we? There...

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Guard Your Heart

I often hear wealthy people talk about guarding their money. Some people arm themselves, their homes, and their cars with multiple defenses. They are preparing to guard what is theirs. Likewise, there is a multi-billion dollar industry built around guarding our physical bodies. We try to eat the right foods, exercise, relieve stress, monitor blood pressure, etc. Yet I wond...

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The Brighter Light

The voice of wisdom describes both the path of the wicked and the path of the righteous. The first leads to anxiety, mischief, fear, desolation, and violence. The first few steps look inviting---like the proposition the serpent offered Eve in the Garden. "You will be like God knowing good and evil." (Paraphrase: "You will be somebody and you won't have to listen to or depe...

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Insight Is A Treasure

Paul prayed for believers to be built up in the inner man. The Epistle to the Hebrews says that those who live by faith do so by seeing something others don't see. They have inner eyes and ears. Shockingly it says that without faith it is impossible to please God. If faith comes as a result of seeing something in the inner man, it would seem that being able to see like tha...

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God's Woodshed

On several occasions I have heard older preachers refer to divine discipline as being taken to the woodshed by God. In a previous time when people used wood as a source for heat, the shed was a good place to find a good paddle for spanking a wayward kid. No kid looked forward to a visit to the woodshed with mom or dad. Actually that is an unfortunate and misleading metaph...

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Get Wisdom

The previous proverbs have already said that wisdom is more valuable than gold or jewels. They have declared that God created all things by wisdom. It only seems natural that anyone wanting to make sense out of living in this wisdom-created world would want to embrace wisdom with all their might. So, where does one start?...

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Blessed Wisdom

Everyone prefers to be blessed rather than cursed. This desire often leads some to try foolish shortcuts to get some special blessing. They long for a special person to favor them, or they look for lucky charms...

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Delighting in Discipline

My father had not read the contemporary books on rearing children, nor was he influenced by the politically correct crowd that is willing to put parents in prison for corporal punishment. He had not been informed about "time out." He kept his parenting instrument with him at all times, since it was holding up his trousers. My nickname was "Buddy." My normal name was Dudley...

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Trusting the Trustworthy

It is foolish to trust those who aren't trustworthy. It is a sure path to disappointment. There is a mounting heap of broken hearts because of it. "Con men" still get away with millions because people want to believe. In fact, we want to believe so badly that we will trust things that have no capacity to produce what we expect. We trust money to make us secure. It can't. W...

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Gospel Charm

Traditionally various people find a way to feature what is important to them by wearing a symbol of it, like a necklace. Sometimes the physical symbol is given the power to bring good luck or to ward off evil influences. Wisdom says that if you are going to value something that much, it should be steadfast love and faithfulness. These two virtues should not only hang aroun...

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Parental Protection

God has always been faithful to provide what we need. He designed the family so that we could trust the wisdom available through the perspectives of both father and mother. Just like there was a serpent in the Garden, there are enticing peers out there, tempting the young to break the apron strings and try out their wings. It is alarming to see just how powerful peer press...

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Gospel Wisdom

It is what we don't know that scares us. Since the serpent's first temptation, Adam's entire race has longed to know everything. When we don't know, everything is risky. Humanity has taken various approaches to this dilemma, including the ridiculous presumption that not even God knows---or worse, that there is no God and no fixed truth. That is a high price to pay intellec...

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Contentment As Wealth

My father bought a small farm from my grandfather back when he was first married. He reared five children and sought to train them to work hard and accept responsibility. In his latter years, he piddled around with a few head of cattle and spent a lot of time sitting under the big oak tree in his yard. It was in that setting that a discussion took place that significantly ...

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Dirty, But Not Dirt

The disciples had met together with Jesus for the final meal. They had been walking on manure-strewn streets to get there. Their feet were smelly and dirty. Jesus took the towel and basin and began washing their feet. Peter protested, but Jesus shook him with the statement, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."...

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Easter Gives Hope

We live in that special time between the Resurrection of Jesus and the final resurrection of our own bodies. Some have unfortunately focused on the individual benefit of going to heaven. Though that is a great comfort for believers, it is not all that Easter is about. Actually, the focus of the New Testament is that Jesus' resurrection was the beginning of a new creation. ...

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Living to Please

We are uniquely designed to please someone. We get a measure of satisfaction from pleasing someone else that is essential to our joy. This need drives us to complex relationships as we terribly complicate our lives by adopting many people to please. It would be so much simpler if there were but one person to please and all the other people in our lives were for serving. Th...

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You Gotta Have Hope

After reading some religious periodicals about the state of affairs on God's earth, we might wonder if the Scriptures are ever consulted. And if they are, how is hope so overlooked? Too many pundits are prophesying doom. They see the earth teetering on the brink of destruction with nothing to do but make sure we are ready to die....

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It's Grace All the Way

The letter to the Colossians begins with the prayer for grace to be extended and ends with the same. Sadly, many Christians believe that we get into the family of God by grace, but once there we must grow and mature by our own methods. It is enough, they argue, that God would forgive our past sins and let us in. We can't expect him to spoil us by continuing to treat us wit...

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Salty Speech

Of course, Paul is not instructing his readers to use profanity, as might be interpreted in today's society. He is encouraging them and us to live and speak in such a way that every opportunity with outsiders would be used to the very best end....

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Praying for Preaching

Since God has restored us to the original status of being his partners on earth, we get to participate in the greatest adventure ever known. Even when we aren't the ones declaring the great revelation, we can participate. Remember! It was the word of God that created everything. It is the word of God that restores everything. When the gospel is preached, order begins to re...

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Pray As You Go

It is interesting how often Paul exhorts his readers to continually pray or pray without ceasing. He obviously didn't view prayer primarily as a scheduled religious activity. It seems to be something he expected believers to do as a continual practice. Why would he think otherwise?...

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Whatever You Do

The partnership has been restored! God created mankind to be his partner in developing what he had made. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did life together with God as they loved him, each other, and the work they were given to do. But, as a result of their sin, work took on the burden of toil as they fought the hostility of sin and its curse. But, that is not the end o...

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Gospel-Marriage

When the "word of Christ dwells in us richly" (v. 16), we can have relationships beyond what could be expected in the natural. Since we have the very life of God as our source, we can enjoy and employ the same kind of submission found in the eternal triune Godhead. There, no rivalry exits between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. All find both honor and joy in exalting ...

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Wholly Work

The new perspective on life affects how we approach every detail. We are hidden with Christ in God and we simply live from that perspective. There is no separation between the secular part of life, like work and play, and the spiritual part, like prayer and fasting. We do everything in his name---as him, representing him---and for his honor....

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Indwelt by the Word of Christ

This text seems to be a parallel admonition given by Paul to the Ephesian church. "Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..." (Ephesians 5:18-19). We notice that being filled with the Spirit and being indwelt by the word of Christ produces the same kind of fruit. This is no surprise to those who remember that Jesus promise...

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No Cross-Dressing

Just like we can wear appropriate clothes, we can put on the attitude and behavior that is consistent with our new identity in Christ. When we were alienated from God, outside his favor and unaware of his love, we behaved as such. It was common for us to fight and claw for our portion, while we strutted to prevent others from seeing how insecure we were. Holding a grudge w...

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And Be Thankful

There are not many legitimate short cuts in life, but maybe the closest thing to one is thankfulness. There is never a time when it is inappropriate. It always causes the focus to readjust. It is the heart of true worship. It is not a discipline or a habit, but it can become a regular response to any and every situation....

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Christ Is All and In All

Since being expelled from the Garden of Eden, mankind has been desperately trying to find something that would provide an edge in returning to fellowship with God. The dignity that was given to God's highest form of creation suffered a fatal blow. Adam and Eve were partners with God! They enjoyed a relationship that nothing else had ever had. They were created in his image...

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Being Renewed

Just like God created the universe in the beginning, he engaged in a new creation with Jesus. The original was tainted beyond repair, but not beyond redemption. There was need of a new Adam and a new race, albeit residing on the old earth. The Cross-event was not just one of many important events in history--it was a new creation event. The product of that creative event i...

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Put Away the Thieves

For many, salvation is limited to a "get out of jail free" card. They pray a prayer or submit to baptism or graduate from confirmation class only to continue to live pestered by impulses and influences that have characterized their previous life. They have some assurance that they will make it into heaven after they die, but they have little hope of being liberated from ...

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Once and Now

In humanity's search for authenticity, we often demand that others accept us as we are and overlook our deficiencies. Of course we all want a break when it comes to our failures, but our demands have often locked us into prisons of defeat....

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The God of Wrath Is Coming

Wrath is a subject that most of us don't like to handle--unless we think someone else deserves it. Many live in fear of the wrath of God and devise plans to appease him. They have determined that God is the expanded version of some anger-filled relative or neighbor who will blow up on you if he is not pleased. Those biblical texts that mention wrath seem to jump off the pa...

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Put to Death...

In contemporary culture, desires rule. In fact, we have even allowed for our identity to be determined by our desires. This leaves little hope for those of us who are menaced by evil desires. What are we to do? If evil desires define us and confine us, then we have no option but to live by their demands. Others will just have to alter their definitions of evil, as well as ...

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Appearing with Christ

We all want desperately to matter! We want to appear and be seen as worth something. We need authentication from outside. We just can't handle the possibility that we have lived with no meaning or purpose and have little value. We all long for our own "15 minutes of fame."...

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Hidden with Christ in God

This is truth too marvelous for the human mind to grasp quickly. It often escapes us as we continue to live as if we are primarily people of the natural and fallen world. We are so accustomed to defining our reality by familiar feelings that we tend to put such truth off into a category that we label "spiritual," but we actually mean "not practical" or "not for now."...

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Raised With Christ

The majestic mystery of Jesus' appearance is that he included us (those who are his by faith) in his death, resurrection, and ascension. Whatever happened to him, as our representative, happened to us. Truly the future has invaded the present, and we are now challenged to live each day on the basis of Christ's complete work. ...

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Apparent Wisdom

Man-made religion is always in a battle with the flesh. Actually, it is always a surrender to the flesh. "Flesh" is a term Paul uses to describe that part of mankind that responds to the law and attempts to fulfill requirements that will gain some type of leverage with God. It is the default mode of a race that has been alienated from God and desperately wants to be back...

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The Beauty of Having Died

If we were dead, we wouldn't have struggles with flesh and frailty. But then, we would be dead. Christ has made it possible for us to have the benefits of being dead while we are still alive in our bodies....

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Growth

Healthy things grow until they reach maturity. We expect it. If it doesn't happen, we are alarmed and try to find the cause. If we are focused on the external, we will emphasize physical growth and tend to measure progress simply in physical terms. So there are some who think a particular church is healthy because it grows numerically, even though they would admit that big...

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Grounds for Disqualification

There is a disqualifying form of Christianity being promoted among us. It leaves its adherents with a legalistic hangover and a deflated hope. It features some or all of the following characteristics: asceticism, obsession with angels, reliance on visions, confidence based on knowledge rather than relationship, and failure to exalt Jesus as the source, means, and goal of l...

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Falsely Judged

Human tradition and elemental spirits (Colossians 2:8) are always looking for grounds to condemn and disqualify. We are all susceptible to judging and being judged on the wrong grounds. We continue to misjudge God's true nature and thereby misjudge each other. God has never been about setting rules for the purpose of determining who is qualified and who is not. He has alwa...

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Disarming the Enemy

Before his public ministry began, Jesus met Satan in the wilderness and walked away victorious. It wasn't just his victory. He represented Adam who had faced Satan in the original Garden and lost. He also represented Israel who faced Satan in the wilderness of temptation and lost. This time both Adam and Israel won in their representative--Jesus. The new Man began a new er...

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The Canceled Debt

It is difficult getting accustomed to being free from debt when you have lived your whole life with its weight. You feel illegal, even ungodly. Actually, many of us demand to continue to live with some measure of debt. It gives some strange sense of comfort and normalcy. We think, "Surely we aren't totally forgiven. We can't just expect to be treated as Jesus the Son is tr...

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Dead and Then Alive

It is true that our spiritual dilemma was much worse than we thought, and Christ's redemption is much greater than we have imagined. Because of our relationship with Adam as well as our own choices to rebel, we were dead in our trespasses. We were cut off from God. He is holy--absolutely good. We were alienated from him and unable to enjoy him or even approach him on our o...

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In The Family

The people of Israel recognized that they were chosen by God and were a peculiar people on the earth. They had been given the Law. They were commissioned to bless other nations by being a kingdom of priests. They were to act as God's son on earth. The sign that they were people of covenant was circumcision. When the new era arrived, it became clear that God had other sheep...

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Filled By Him

Everything God has ever wanted to say, he said in Jesus. He is the complete and final Word of God. It seems that human nature is determined to find some vital information outside of him. We have looked in magic, witchcraft, science, imagination, exotic religious cults, intriguing prophetic predictions, and fanciful interpretations of scripture, but we refuse to believe tha...

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Watch Out For Vain Traditions

Our enemy's weapon is deceit. He is not the creator nor sustainer of this world. He only perverts what God has made good and turns beauty into ugliness. He is, however, active and seeking someone he can devour with deception. The only safe place is in the truth of Christ....

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It Is All Christ

Jesus is not just the starting point of eternal life. He is the journey and the destination. First we receive him because our hearts have been drawn by the Spirit and quickened to believe. Then we walk in him. We take steps of faith trusting him to supply all that we need to move ahead. His past is our past. His life is our life. We can depend on his never-ending supply of...

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Walking as a Receiver

A common myth is that we come to salvation by receiving mercy as a free gift, but we have to walk out salvation by our efforts to improve our character. The truth is that God is only impressed with one person's righteousness. He is fully committed to Jesus the Son. No one can compete with him in any area""and we don't have to. When we receive Jesus as our savior, salvation...

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Protection Against Deception

Everyone likes a mystery. There is something in us that knows there is reality beyond our reach. We resent our limitations of knowledge and are vulnerable to high-sounding prospects of discovering the newest truth or the most novel interpretation....

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The Riches of the Mystery

True wealth is found in understanding the mystery that is Christ. Perhaps it is too simple for the intellectual, too obvious for the curious, and too wonderful for the religious. It seems that mankind is determined to find some kind of understanding outside of Christ that will satisfy the longing to know. It is so easy to get sidetracked by even good things--Bible study, h...

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The Tapestry of Love

There was something that made all the hard work Paul did really worth it. He desperately wanted those who listened to (or read) him to discover the vast riches that lie within the life that is theirs by faith in Christ. This great secret that blows all other secrets out of the water is, simply, Christ. Sadly, too many of those in Colossae and Laodicea were willing to settl...

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The Struggle and the Mystery

It is worth the struggle, but there is a struggle. Like Paul, we who proclaim the mystery explained in the gospel of Christ recognize that there is a battle going on as the accuser tries to nullify the effects of the message. The cross as God's remedy for mankind's dilemma is still controversial. It looks like defeat to those who want God to act on our behalf and defeat th...

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Energized

It is always sad to hear that someone has "burned out" in his or her endeavors to minister in Christ's name. In our driven culture it is almost a badge of honor to claim such. "Wow!" we think, "This person has given of themselves for others to the point of total exhaustion!" They are often without vision, passion, and energy to go on, but like a field-worker whose has ha...

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Him We Proclaim

This verse has been a part of the logo on my stationary since 1975. It has been my mission statement. I am painfully aware that I have not always adhered to its singular purpose. It is easy to get sidetracked and proclaim something less. For the Christian, there can be no other mission. To do anything less is to miss the point of ministry. What could compare to proclaiming...

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Revealed to the Saints

For centuries, the fullness of God's purpose on earth was hidden. Even the great patriarchs of the faith only saw in part. They saw so much, but it wasn't fully revealed to them how the final goal would be accomplished, and they weren't sure how it would look....

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More On the Mystery

Secularism purports to offer a conflict-free society since it relegates religion to the unessential and absurd---only for those not enlightened enough to face the facts of reality. It claims that religion is the cause of trouble and war. Ignoring life's design, its adherents work feverishly to make sense of life as on earth. When they can find no purpose, they boldly decla...

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The Missing Piece

When Jesus is not the center of the picture, the photograph is terribly out of focus. When he is not the center of the story, history is just a tale told by men full of sound and fury. When he is not the center of the puzzle, the problem is never solved....

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Rejoicing in Sufferings

This seems an odd statement to the contemporary American Christian. We not only have been led to view suffering as something to avoid, it is often seen as evidence that our faith is defective. We are often exhorted to believe some specific admonition so that we will find the highest level of comfort and convenience possible. We are embarrassed about our suffering more than...

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