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Whom God Saves, God Seals

In the year 2000, Angie and I bought our first home. It was sweet! We took one day with the realtor. About the fifth or sixth and final house we looked at that day was the perfect fit. We headed to the realtor's office and filled out an offer form and included with it our earnest money - a whopping $500 (big money for us at the time)! Had we backed out of the deal, we would have lost that money. Further, it might have demonstrated some flaw in our character, hence the …

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Someday, When I’m a Grown Up…

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teenager. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an adult. There's nothing else to want but death, so I'll stop there in terms of physical age. Now I find myself wanting to finally be fully grown up spiritually. Or as Paul once said, "We groan as we eagerly wait for our adoption, the freeing of our bodies from sin." (Romans 8:23 GW) Right now, believers in Jesus live in the nether regions. This world no longer feels like "home" but we …

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Anyone Who Believes HAS Eternal Life

Living forever is only a good idea if the life lived is a quality one. Who would want to live forever in a state of pain or disease? Death, in a sense, is a gift of ultimate deliverance from a world of suffering. So when we talk about "eternal life," we're not merely referring to the quantity of time one lives but to the quality of that life. In other words, when Jesus said, "anyone who believes has eternal life," (John 6:47) He was making it clear that eternal life is …

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Celebrating the Diversity of the Church

I grew up white, middle class, and in the mid-south. My high school was diverse, but not peacefully so. Tensions ran high between races, classes, and groups, which was to some degree a reflection of the entire community. I very well should have grown to adulthood with all kinds of prejudice. But God, in His grace, showed me a different way. As a teenager, when I studied the Bible, I couldn't help but notice that diversity is something God celebrates. Yes, He chose the …

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2012: We’re Just Getting Started

It's day one of a new year. It's also day one of the rest of your life. 2011 is behind us and a clean slate is before us. January 1 is always a day of high hopes and sometimes unrealistic expectations. If you have the idea that this year will be free from any problems, you're already in for a rude surprise. There will be interruptions in our plans, new obstacles, and unexpected trials. Such is life. But life this year can also be pretty awesome in spite of the inevitable …

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My Second Birthday Matters Even More

My wife and I turn 33 today. Yes, we were born the same day, 500 miles apart, and she has a twin brother, Josh. I will point out that I'm about nine hours older, so I get to be the leader! We mark birthdays as milestones, as if surviving another year is a great accomplishment. To me, this is kind of like the trophy all the kids on the baseball team get whether they played well or not. In the grand scheme of things, 33 years is so little. That's what I wanted to address …

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In Light of Eternity

My family and I are currently traveling and visiting with family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I enjoy seeing my extended family on both sides, but one of the aspects of travel I love the most are those conversations that happen in the front seat between me and my wife (when she's awake, that is). This past weekend, we entered a rather deep discussion about how meaningless things are "in light of eternity." That is, in the grand scheme of things, if our lives on this earth …

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The Rut, the Rat Race, and the Daily Grind

Hit the snooze button. Crawl out of bed after the second alarm. Hit the shower. Choose a shirt. Make the coffee. Start the car. Fight the traffic. Punch the clock. Meet the clients. Please the boss. Grab lunch. Please the boss some more. Punch the clock again. Fight the traffic. Fix dinner. Watch television. Play with the kids. Read the news. Hit the sack. Then... hit the snooze button. Sound familiar? It's the "daily grind." The only difference between a rut and a grave …

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Getting To Know Jesus Throughout Eternity

We have, sometimes, the mistaken notion that when we get to heaven, we'll be as God, knowing everything. Not only is this a duplication of Adam and Eve's mistaken theology, it's also quite unbiblical. What will be different there is that the hindrances to learning will have been removed. Listen to the way J. Sidlow Baxter puts it in Going Deeper: Let us try to grasp it: the quintessence of heaven's pure bliss for us will be just this, that with sinless minds, and raptured …

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The Certainty of Mysteries

I was deeply moved by today's reading from J. Sidlow Baxter's devotional, Awake My Heart. He speaks of the mysteries of life, what W. A. Criswell used to call "the imponderables of God." Baxter mentioned birth, life, personality, human experience, Satan, eternity, etc. All of these are unexplainable. We can begin, but we can never conclude any definition of them. Baxter goes on, however, to quote an unnamed old Puritan as saying, "Never let what you don't know disturb your …

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