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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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God’s Chosen Fast

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Every 6 months our church sets aside five days from Monday through Friday to fast and seek the Lord in prayer. I think that, for the most part, fasting is no longer practiced by many Christians in America.  Most Christians in this country see fasting as a kind of medieval, monastic practice that has its roots in fanaticism and is not something we need to concern ourselves with today.
 
However, that is simply not true—fasting is something that was practiced by God’s people in both Old and New Testament times as well as all throughout the Church Age.
 

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The Foundation of Our Faith-Part 2

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In Part One of this post, we discussed the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. That now brings us to the sufficiency of God’s Word.
 
Sadly, it is at this point that many evangelical pastors and leaders have erred.
 
Many of these men would defend the inspiration, the inerrancy and the infallibility of the Bible with their last breath—Yet when it comes to the sufficiency of Scripture they stumble by believing that the Bible needs to be supplemented with the wisdom of the world if Christians are to be fully victorious and fruitful (my professor in Bible college—“we need to combine the secular and the sacred…)”

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The Foundation of Our Faith-Part 1

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A structure is only as strong as the foundation it’s built upon—a weak or defective foundation will cause whatever is built upon it to eventually crumble and fall—the same is true with the Christian faith.
 
In Ephesians 2:20 we have an important statement on this subject—Paul tells us that the Temple of God in the New Covenant (the Church) has been built “on the foundation of the apostle and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.”
 
The prophets that Paul is referring to were of course N.T. prophets because O.T. prophets knew nothing about the church. Now we need to be careful not to misinterpret what Paul is saying here—he isn’t saying that the apostles and prophets were the actual foundation of the church.
 
That would contradict other passages that clearly teach that Jesus Himself is the foundation upon which the Church has been built—
 
1 Corinthians 3:11 (NKJV)
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

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A Prayer For All Believers

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In Ephesians Chapter 1:15-23 Paul the apostle is offering a prayer to God for the believer’s in Ephesus, and for all Christians, and he asks the Lord to help us understand the awesome power that raised Jesus from the dead. And how that same power brought Him all the way to heaven where He now occupies an exalted place of authority at the Father’s right hand.
 
Paul wanted the Father to show His children how that same mighty power is available to all of us who belong to Him—power to take us all the way to heaven someday.
 
If you were to ask the average person today how someone gets to heaven they would no doubt tell you by living a good life here on the earth and doing our best to help others. In other words, it’s all about human effort and hard work on our part that gets us to heaven even though Jesus told a very religious man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, that no one ever reached heaven that way.
 
Let’s imagine for a minute that heaven is on the moon and if we could somehow jump to the moon we could attain heaven. And yet common sense tells us that no matter how high we jump we will never be able, in our own strength and by our best efforts, to jump high enough to reach heaven if it were on the moon.

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Recommended Article

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This newsletter is often used to correct the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church but in this issue we will address the disappearing doctrine of the Evangelical Church. Many professing Christians now think it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you label it Christianity. Their only test for becoming a Christian is a simple acceptance of Jesus as a historical figure. In our post-modern church, doctrine is out and tolerance is in. We are told that for the sake of unity, doctrine should not be tested or contested.
 
We are not supposed to draw any definitive lines or declare any absolutes. Doctrinal and moral issues which were once painted black and white, are now seen as gray. The state of the church is now in a state of confusion.
 
Paul forewarned us that this would happen when he wrote: “The time will come when they [the people in the church] will not endure [tolerate] sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). When “Christians” turn to popular teachers who tickle their ears with messages on self-esteem and self-improvement, they are also turning away from God’s word.

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Filled with the Spirit

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In Ephesians 5:18 Paul admonished Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit as an essential element of our walk with and work for the Lord. But what exactly does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit”?  Well Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest gives four things that come through in the Greek that will help us to understand what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
 
1. “Be filled with the Spirit” is a command in the Greek that God expects us to obey.
 
It’s a command that is plural in the Greek which means it applies to all Christians—not just to a select few like missionaries, pastors and evangelists.  It’s a command because we can’t begin to do the work God has called us to do without the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49)
 
I believe that this is the greatest need in the Church today and the single greatest reason why we are losing the culture war to the devil in America when Jesus clearly promised us that against His Church the gates of hell would not prevail.  It’s because we are trying to do the work of God in our own strength, ingenuity and intelligence and not in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have substituted programs for the power of God and theological degrees for the dynamic of the Holy Spirit—

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