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Be Imitators of God

 
 
In Ephesians 5:1 Paul admonishes us to be “imitators of God as His dear children”.
 
When Paul said that we are to imitate God as “dear children” he is implying that it is the most natural thing in the world for children to imitate their parents—and because we are children of God let’s be imitators of our Heavenly Father.
 
“Okay”, you say, “but how do I do that, what does that look like?”
 
Well, one the greatest attributes of God is love—in fact the Bible doesn’t say that God has a lot of love—it says that God is love!
 
So, with that in mind, one of the greatest ways we can imitate our Heavenly Father to the people of this world is by demonstrating God’s love as His children.
 
You might be thinking, “What is God’s love all about—how do we define it?”
 

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Be Transformed By The Renewing of Your Mind

 
Ephesians 4:17 (NKJV)
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind.
 
Here Paul is admonishing believers to stop living the old life of sin like unbelievers who do so because of the “futility of their mind” and to start living new lives of holiness and purity for God.  The phrase “futility of their mind” means the “empty-headedness of worldly thinking”.  First of all, let me say that the Bible teaches that the power to live a changed life comes from the Holy Spirit working thru a changed (clean) heart.
 
But David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart—O God” because he knew he couldn’t create a clean heart in himself.  
 
We don’t have the power to change our hearts—but we do have the power to change our minds. If I stop justifying sinful activities and old habits—if I change my mind, God will change my heart.
 
But He won’t change my heart until I change my mind—that’s what the word “repent” means—“to have a change of mind”.  Paul is telling us here that the main difference between Christians and non-Christians (a part from new life)—is in the way they think.
 
Once person repents (has a change of mind) and receives Jesus as Lord and Savior they receive the new birth with a new nature (the divine nature—2 Peter 1:4) and with it a new heart.  And now we are commanded to stop thinking like the world and to start thinking like the redeemed children of God we are in Christ.
 
Romans 12:2 (NLT) 
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…
 
Ephesians 4:21-23 (NLT)
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 
 

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God Created You For A Purpose

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Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
 
This verse clearly teaches that you are not an accident—God created you on purpose for a purpose.
 
a.    For we are His workmanship
 
The Greek word translated “workmanship” is poiema, from which we get our English word “poem.”  A poem is a literary work of art—and here Paul is using it to describe Christians, that each of us as Christians is a living work of art, a masterpiece in the making.
 
b.    Created in Christ Jesus
 
The only way we can begin becoming God’s masterpiece is through the new birth where we become a new creation in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
 

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Gaining A Godly Perspective

Several years ago, I heard the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. So, he went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
 
Larry, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky — smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. His lawn chair had shot up so quickly on take-off that Larry dropped his BB gun—leaving him to the mercy of helium and wind currents. He stayed airborne for several hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country. Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him: “Larry why did you do it?” To which Larry replied simply, “Because sometimes you gotta do something—you can’t just sit there.”

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Lessons From The Empty Tomb

In a few days we will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in the history of the world—and the cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is so foundational to Christianity that anyone who denies the physical, bodily resurrection of Christ cannot be a genuine Christian—it is an essential doctrine of the Christian faith for salvation.
 
You see, without the resurrection there is no Christian faith, no salvation—and no hope for man.
 

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Marital Warfare

One of the things that has many of us pastors very concerned is how many Christian marriages are struggling and failing today.  I personally am seeing more Christians getting divorced today than I saw 36 years ago when I first got into ministry.
 
One Christian couple I know got married, two months later she was cheating on her husband and two months after that they filed for divorce. And while that may be an extreme example of the flimsy, shallow commitment that many are entering into marriage with—it is nonetheless becoming more and more the norm.
 

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In Everything Give Thanks

 
  • A young mother learns she has terminal cancer.
  • A bus taking a church group to a ski resort overturns, injuring many and leaving one young woman permanently paralyzed.
  • A child crossing the street is struck and killed by a drunk driver.
  • A Christian girl is abducted by two men, though she shares Jesus with them and pleads for mercy; she is brutally raped, tortured, and murdered.
  • A missionary is killed by the tribe he came to serve after only two weeks of ministry.
  • A young father working a second job as a convenience store clerk is killed by a teenager on drugs who holds up the store.

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We Have Come To Worship Him

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Well, here we are less than two weeks away from Christmas—so let’s spend a little time focusing on the real reason for the season!
 
Matthew 2:1-2 (NKJV)
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
 
I.   “Wise Men from the East”—v.1
 
The term “wise men” is the Greek word “magoi” from which we get the word “magi” which is just a transliteration of that Greek word. Few biblical stories are as well known, yet so clouded by myth and tradition, as that of the magi, or wise men, mentioned by Matthew.
 

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Learning To Be Thankful-2016

 
In a few weeks, we will be celebrating one of our greatest national holidays, Thanksgiving—a day that we have set aside as a nation to thank the Lord for all His goodness and blessings which He has so richly given to us.  
 
Our nation was birthed in an attitude of thanksgiving to Almighty God for His blessings and providence that planted, sustained, and nurtured our fledgling nation from infancy to maturity as the strongest and most blessed nation on the face of the earth.  Back in those early days, before we were even a nation, those early settlers were thankful to God, not for big houses and new cars but for keeping them alive! 
 

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The Power of the Tongue

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We all remember the adage growing up, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”  Our parents taught us to say that to the kids who were making fun out of us by calling us names.
 
As a kid I tried using that tip several times as a defense against the mean words that some directed at me, but I have to be honest, it really didn’t stop the pain of those hurtful words.  As I got older and reflected on that saying a little, I came to realize, that although our parents meant well, the reason their advice didn’t help to stop the pain of unkind words is because—that saying isn’t true.
 

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