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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They did what your power and plan had already determined would happen. Now, Lord, take note of their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with complete confidence. Stretch out your hand to bring healing and enable signs and wonders to be performed through the name of Jesus, your holy servant. After they prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking God’s word with confidence. Acts 4:28–31 (CEB)

Last week thre...

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The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. Psalm 27:4 (NLT)

It was said of baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams that his focus during the game was so intent that when he was at the plate, awaiting the pitch when the pitcher threw the ball, Williams could see the stitches on the ball and determine the type of pitch.

Contrast the focus of Ted Williams wit...

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Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve. Proverbs 24:12 (NLT)

Humanity has been making excuses from the very beginning. It has almost become an art form. Adam started us off: The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12 (NLT). Shifting blame and responsibility looks like a genetic trai...

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Andy was a nice enough guy, but he never seemed to stand out from the crowd. Andy was very insightful but not very vocal. He was a hard worker but not perceived as a leader. He demonstrated great care and concern for the well-being of other people. Perhaps what we notice most about Andy is how his brother overshadowed him. His brother was one of these “larger-than-life figures” who did everything at full speed.

Whereas Andy was cautious, his brother was bold and daring. Things didn’t always wo...

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As the time approached for him to be taken to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Luke 9:51 (NIV)

As with many quotations, it’s difficult to determine who first said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Here in Luke, we find Jesus facing his final journey into Jerusalem. The emphasis was on the time for him to return to heaven, but the cross was in the way.

We might struggle to get going when you and I face overwhelming obstacles. We must understand and focus on...

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

Pain, suffering, and tribulation are not pleasant topics of conversation. It is natural to desire to avoid pain. And yet, Jesus is telling his disciples that “in this world,” they would experience trouble, pain and suffering, tribulation, and ultimately, all of them except John would face martyrdom because of their faith.

The th...

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My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? James 2:1 (NLT)

A poignant scene in the Jesus Revolution Movie was when Chuck Smith (portrayed by Kelsey Grammar) was at the church’s front door, washing the feet of the hippies who had come. Earlier, his elders had issued him an ultimatum. They did not want to see “this kind” in their comfortable little church. Chuck Smith stood his ground and said this to tho...

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You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people, which is being done. Genesis 50:20 (NCV)

One of the first movies I remember seeing in the theater was the “Sound of Music.” In that movie, Julie Andrews sang the song “My Favorite Things.” The favorite things enumerated in the song are not extravagant, lofty, or expensive items but relatively simple things like “raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens,” and so on.

Likewise, my favorite words may...

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When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” Mark 10:47–49 (NLT)

In the 1980’s television series, The A-Team, the lead character, John “Hannibal” Smith, often proclaim...

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Then Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and all the people chanted, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Nehemiah 8:6 (NLT)

I recall a conversation with a friend who has many years of experience as a worship leader. The essence of the discussion settled on the fact that worship encompasses more than singing. We can sing songs of praise sincerely and with the right motivation but still not be a worshiper of God...

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So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

Throughout the ages, it was not customary for subjects of a king or other authority to approach with boldness. Notable exceptions would be the children of monarchs who could come up to the throne boldly and approach the king.

We are children of the King of kings, and he is extended an invitation to us to come before him with bol...

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