I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:14 (NLT)

In our previous post, “Start Well,” we emphasized the importance of starting well in our faith to construct a life that will withstand the storms and earthquakes that everyone faces. To build securely, we must dig down deep (Luke 6:47-48) to lay the foundation of our life on the Solid Rock.

It may require multiple attempts and failures before we...

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In the Beginning God… Genesis 1:1

How important is it to start well? A good start is critical in a 100-meter race, often decided by hundredths of a second. But a fast start is only one aspect of starting well. One must also begin in the right place and at the right time. It may be possible to overcome a poor start in a race, but only with exceptional talent. However, starting at the wrong place or at the wrong time will result in disqualification.

In The Sound of Music, the song “Do Re M...

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Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? Job 17:15 (NLT)

The Associated Press reported last week that the number of suicides last year in the United States reached an all-time high of 49,500 people. While other factors may be involved, hopelessness was undoubtedly a significant factor. Is there anything that we can do to bring hope to the hopeless?

Depression, anxiety, or fear will confront most of us at some point during our lives. The Psalmist faced great despair: From the depths of ...

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The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. Deuteronomy 13:3 (NLT)

Does anyone enjoy being tested? In the previous article, “Test Everything,” we saw the value of examining preaching and prophecy to ensure they align with God’s word. But we start to feel uneasy when the attention is turned toward us. Some people face tests confidently, believing that they are equipped and capable, but with many of us, fear and doubt creep in and torment our in...

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Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good. Avoid every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:20–22 (CEB)

It is common for people to say that they dislike tests. People really mean that they have no desire to undergo testing themselves, but most assuredly, they are glad that their food, water, cars, and airplanes, just to mention a few things, are tested. Paul encourages us to evaluate prophetic messages to determine if they are worthwhile...

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I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. John 17:23 (NLT)

Perfect unity? What does that even mean? We look around us and see a multitude, or more accurately, myriad assemblies of different churches, groups, and organizations claiming to serve Christ. Some of the disagreements seem minor, while other disputes form “Grand Canyon like” divisions.

If that is not discouraging, i...

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The concept of time is fascinating. Each day consists of twenty-four hours, 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds. But all time is not the same. Everyone knows that “time flies when you’re having fun.” The Bible tells us of one occasion where time stood still (or at least the sun stood still Joshua 10:12-14). Perhaps even more amazing was when Hezekiah’s sundial reversed course and went backward. (Isaiah 38:7, 8; 2 Kings 20:8-11). Scientists have struggled with these two events, but God can do anythin...

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For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.” Psalm 95:3 (NLT)

I have no idea how many people would agree with Psalm 95:3. We know that one day every knee will bow in acknowledgment, but how many people live their lives today with the thought of God’s greatness foremost in their minds? While we can’t speak for others, we can speak for ourselves, shouting and singing about our great God.

The percentage of Christians who would agree with the declaration “The Lord is a great Go...

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Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NLT)

I recall that as a young pastor, two questions frequently arose while counseling people. Perhaps the most frequent question was, “How much sin can I get away with and still be covered by God’s grace?” Another popular question was, “How can I know God’s will for my life?”

The first question still irritates me to this day, but I wonde...

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But you are a ‘chosen race; a royal priesthood’; a holy nation; a people for God’s possession. Your purpose is to announce the virtuous deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. 1 Peter 2:9 (BFE)

The challenge of identifying God’s purpose for us is daunting. Also, how does the presence and power of God amplify and clarify our purpose? The beginning of the Westminster Shorter Catechism states that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” T...

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But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. Acts 1:8 (NLT)

Although the statement “with great power comes great responsibility” entered popular culture through the Spider-Man comic books, it was introduced centuries earlier. There is even a connection with, From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 (NIV).

I was blessed with a rich Pentecostal heritage. I remembe...

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There are times when we experience the presence of God in a real and powerful way. Perhaps we have had encounters like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 (NLT).

At other times the presence of God brings conviction. Isaiah exclaimed: “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King,...

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