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The Gospel & The Reformation

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      This weekend has had a lesser known holiday attached to it, Reformation Day. Reformation Day remembers the recovery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While it would be hard for many today to imagine, there was a time when access to the Bible itself was limited. In the time of Martin Luther, many did not read the Bible (1483-1546). Even monks who did, often did so only for initiation for a time and then would not read it again. Common church members were often prevented from having the Bible in their native tongue. Untold millions lived under such a neglect of the Word of God.     In time it came about that certain key figures rediscovered the Scripture. They risked their life and safety to read it, translate it, and distribute it in common language. They spent much time in it themselves. From this came the findings of people like Martin Luther. He realized that despite his many good deeds, and religious observations, and trusting other good people, yet God would not accept him. Heav

God + one

       W hen you think about life in 2020, it may seem at times given the troubles of the world or cultural issues that you have no impact. Nothing could be further from the truth for a believer in Jesus Christ. While we must not minimize the church congregation, the body of Christ, we also must not underestimate what God can do through you.         Take the example of the prophet Elijah in the Bible. He was exhausted, beaten down by a hostile cultural situation, a nation that had turned from the Lord, and a spiritual battle between invisible forces in Israel at the time, Elijah was worn out. But the prophet was helped, and he talked to God, in a very honest, but helpful way. He went in prayer, he made the effort to talk. In that conversation, the Lord let Elijah know not only is He God, and He's at work, but to Elijah's surprise the prophet was not alone. Others were faithful in Israel too. Elijah is reequipped, encouraged, and sent forth in new strength. The Lord still uses

God's Wants You Certain - a reminder from Luke's Gospel

       When it comes to the Christian life, a lot of people try to pit certainty versus faith, as though you could. But that is not God's calling upon you or me. In fact, we must see that God gives us certainty various ways, that go with faith. As St. Augustine helpfully said long ago, "Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand." So we find something of a reminder in Luke's Gospel, chapter one on this.        Here's what Luke says in chapter one: " Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,   just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.   With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,   so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. "        (Luke 1:1-4 N

Reflections on 2020 - a strange year for many

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       What should we make of 2020? It started out fairly normal. Now we get news that is shocking on a regular basis. It's in an environment like this that the Christian person needs to have an anchor for the soul. We need to make sure we are grounded in God's unchanging promises of His Word, which is power for us. There is power in God's Word and in the name of Jesus.        We're told in 2nd Timothy 1:7 this great truth to reflect on and believe: "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." Paul while writing to his assistant and fellow Christian brother Timothy, called him back to basics. Paul was likely imprisoned in Rome at this time, and Timothy was facing internal hardships in the area he lived. Namely, many were no longer as friendly to the Christian witness or Christian meetings as they had previously been. It is in that environment where Timothy may get discouraged. Paul says don't go there. Resist tha

Higher View of God - a calling of ours - Isaiah 44-45

As you wake up, especially on the Lord's Day, it might be that you are opening your Bible and listening to the heart of your Father in Heaven on those pages. You might be on a Bible reading plan or at least have some strategy for reading. One day you might be in Isaiah chapters 44-45, hearing what God said through that prophet of old. One of the wonderful things you'd discover is a very high view of God in the life of Isaiah. He was one who knew his own limits, Isaiah chapter 6. Recall that he overheard this powerful song, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory." That heavenly scene put his own views into perspective. Can I be very up front with you now? We all need that. You need that reminder, I do, we all do, regularly, weekly, even daily. Otherwise, we get prideful. God > Me. That is what Isaiah 44-45 reminds us and reminded the original hearers of too. To God's people, by implication we are all asked as well to &qu

How to Tell You Have a Vision Ready to Use or Share

Vision is critical in your life. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. Sometimes God places you in the realm or position of leading others as well in life. When it comes to casting vision for others, there are some tips from various sources that can help you. As an example, Brian Dodd with Injoy teaches that you can know you have vision to start, when you can speak about the vision without notes. So unlike a normal sermon or message, when vision is so clear to the leader, then, it is clear to the audience as it is conveyed from the heart. Vision is not just history. Vision is “crisply” sharing today your heart to people, in a short compelling way. Compelling would motivate the sacrifice needed. What makes your vision compelling at this time? In response to a situation of a need, Nehemiah had vision that was based in God’s heart as well. In his own time, he owned the vision, to help those who were in need in Jerusalem back home. Nehemiah 1 reveals his heart forming v

Bible Reading Plan 2019

Whatever your situation in 2019, you can and will be blessed by God if you resolve to be in God’s Word regularly.  A daily Bible reading plan can be obtained from some trustworthy ministries, and so the process of choosing one is easy. Check out this set of plans from www.biblegateway.com here: https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/ Another great resource is here: https://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans/ There may be some reading this, who want to start the NT and read it, you would really benefit from this plan: https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/4-esv-6-month-nt-reading-plan.1.pdf Then, you may want to use time as a measure too, and there are some like these available: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/ In looking over these, my hope for you is that you find one that speaks to where you are, and encourages you.  God’s Word is rich, and every year you can and will gain much from the Lord through reading in the Bible. Th