Some people enjoy going to the gym. I never have. In high school and college, I only went to the weight room because it was required for wrestling. However, the Apostle Paul used athletic lingo when he said, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13). This passage teaches two very important truths.
ONE. The emphasis is not on us, but on the One who is in us. When you invited Christ to come into your life, His Holy Spirit took up residence in you. He began at that moment to change you from the inside out. Over time, we can fall into the trap of thinking it’s up to us to discipline ourselves to become more like Christ. It’s true that it involves our efforts, but we must never forget that it is, “God who works in you.” We are entirely dependent on Him to change us. Continue reading
In September, I went to my 50th high school reunion. It was fun seeing old classmates. However, our smooth faces had become creased with a few wrinkles, the quantity and color of our hair had changed, and our bodies had different shapes to them. Reunions remind us of the brevity of life. We wonder where the years have gone. Someone has said, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.” Now, I wouldn’t compare life to toilet paper, but it does seem that time moves faster the older I get. The Bible describes life as a vapor, or smoke, here only for a short time.
One of Israel’s songs has been preserved in our Bibles as Psalm 39. In verse 4 the writer addressed God and said, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” Another Psalm says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” The brevity of life should motivate us to seek wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 reveals that the bedrock upon which wisdom rests is a proper appreciation of and response to God, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Continue reading
Little did I know when I climbed into the car, I’d have a life-changing experience that day. As Mr. Presler drove, he asked one of his boys what he had studied that morning in Sunday School. From the back of the car came the son’s reply. Then Mr. Presler said those life-changing words, “Oh, that sounds like 2 Timothy.” I thought to myself, “The Bible is like a volume of the encyclopedia. How can anyone know where certain words are found in such a huge book?” From that moment on, I determined that I would make the Word of God a priority in my life. I wanted to know it as well as Mr. Presler. His family had played a prominent role in my coming to know Christ as my personal Savior. Now, he would play a prominent role in my future.
Since that time, I have become acquainted with many people who know the Bible as well as Mr. Presler. But their knowledge of its pages did not come easily or without effort. They have spent hours poring over its pages and committing parts of it to memory. Each of them made a personal decision to know their Bible well and to let it have authority over their life. Continue reading
Suddenly a bright light flashed across the bow, nearly blinding the captain. The other ship was on a collision course with his. Straightaway, he signaled to it, “Change your direction.” He quickly received a signal back, “You change your direction!” Put off, the captain sent another message, “This is Captain Palmer. I order you to change your direction.” Without delay, he received the reply, “This is Mark Forsyth. You are to change your heading.” Boiling, the captain sent a third message, “I am a ship of the US Navy. I order you to change your direction immediately.” Without hesitation, the third response arrived, “I am a lighthouse. Change yours before it’s too late.”
There is one harbor that each of us hopes to reach when our sail is pulled down for the last time, that of Heaven. Its entrance is tight, though, and there are many rocks that surround its approach. The rocks represent the Judgment Day of God, in which each of us must stand before God, entirely alone. The Bible shines the only beam to point the way to avoid those rocks of judgment. Its light is the GOOD NEWS about Jesus, His death and resurrection. When Jesus died on the cross, He suffered God’s judgment on sin. He took the punishment for us. Continue reading
See You at the Pole is Wednesday, September 25, at 7:00 a.m. local time.
All around the globe, in every time zone, students will gather at their school flagpole to pray for their school, teachers, friends, families, churches, communities, and nation. See You at the Pole is a prayer rally to foster global unity in Christ among today’s young people. It is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event.
According to the initiative’s website, “See You at the Pole, the global day of student prayer, began in 1990 as a grassroots movement with 10 students praying at their school. Twenty years later, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September.”
1MM encourages all students to participate in See You at the Pole on Wednesday, September 25, at 7:00 a.m. local time. We also hope all parents and grandparents will encourage their children to participate in this important prayer event.
For more information, please visit the See You at the Pole website here.
When you think of the Bible’s Love Story, what comes to mind? Many people will respond, “Song of Solomon.” There’s nothing wrong with that choice, but I would like to suggest that there is an even better love story recorded in the book of Hosea. If this short book is not familiar to you, don’t feel bad if you have to peer into your Bible’s table of contents to find it. It follows the exciting story of Daniel.
Hosea was a prophet of God to the northern nation of Israel during the eighth century before Christ. About 200 years earlier, the nation had been divided into a northern portion, called Israel. The southern portion was called Judah. During those two hundred years, Israel had several kings, all of whom refused to follow God. As a result, the entire nation had walked away from God. Continue reading
Early in His ministry, Jesus attended a wedding. Jewish weddings in those days were very different than most weddings in our country today. The wedding usually lasted five to seven days. The bride and groom were paraded through the village, so the wedding was often a joyous village-wide event.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus performed His first miracle at this wedding? I assume He wanted to show that He celebrated marriage (since He instituted it). The wine had run out, which would have been a huge embarrassment to either the groom or his parents. Jesus’ mother, Mary, was the first to notice the potential fiasco. She asked Jesus to do something about it. At first Jesus hesitated, probably waiting for instructions from His heavenly Father. Continue reading
I enjoy watching videos of mountain goats running up and down sheer mountainsides. They make it look so easy, and they never give any indication of fear. It doesn’t matter whether they are standing on a precipice high above the ocean or on the side of a mountain hundreds of feet up, they walk around like it’s a leisurely stroll down the street. Even in these precarious positions, they can walk backwards or turn completely around without any problems.
The mountain goat is another animal that is a problem for evolution to explain. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like for the cliff-walkers before they possessed special hooves. Before evolution “happened to develop by chance,” these animals must have Continue reading
When anyone calls on Jesus to be their Savior, He immediately sends the Holy Spirit to live in them and be their constant companion. In addition, the Spirit equips each Christ-follower with “gifts” to be useful in His Body, the church. Reading through the lists of spiritual gifts in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, you may have asked, “What about me?” If you don’t have a speaking role or a leadership role in the church, you may wonder if you got passed by.
You’ll find encouragement in Exodus 35. God gave Moses instructions for building a special structure for worship, called the tabernacle. God also told Moses to get Bezalel to be the general contractor. Of Bezalel it says, “God filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.” Construction of the tabernacle was a very spiritual project. But notice that all of Bezalel’s skills were very practical ones that he had worked at developing. Continue reading
One nice feature about international flights is having the opportunity to watch movies to occupy your time. The last time I flew to India on a mission trip I began watching the movie, Jack the Giant Killer. The movie was based upon the fairytale, Jack and the Beanstalk, with giants living in the clouds. I enjoyed the movie, but I knew it was fiction.
However, the Bible makes several references to real giants that lived on earth. One was named Og. He had an iron bed over thirteen feet long and six feet wide (Deuteronomy 3:11). Now that’s a king-size bed! But the most well-known giant was Goliath, standing over 9 feet tall. He was a warrior in the Philistine army (1 Samuel 17:4), which was at war with the army of Israel. He boasted that if any Jewish soldier defeated him, the entire Philistine army would surrender. As you can imagine, no one among the Jewish army wanted to fight such a huge man. This guy would make NBA players look small. Plus, he had all his combat gear on. Continue reading