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God Has a Great Big Plan for His People, And It’s Good

One of the most popular Bible verses in the Old Testament is found in Jeremiah 29:11 which says, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" (NLT) It's a beautiful verse that holds tremendous promise for those who understand its deep meaning, but it's often misunderstood. Jeremiah was prophesying destruction for any nation that refused to submit to God's chastisement through the …

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Where Exactly Do We Stand?

Even though none of us actually plays by the rules (according to Romans 3:10, 23), we still try rather hard to do so. We've all sinned and fallen short, but in our broken condition, we just keep on plugging away in hopes that in eternity all of our trying and fighting and working will somehow qualify us for heaven in God's eyes. Most of us find ourselves living a rules-based life. We have an assumption that our Creator will someday evaluate our performance to see if we've …

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What I Really Deserve

This week, I'm staying in a nice hotel in Ocala, Florida, driving around in a rented Camaro, and eating fresh fruit - all sweet gifts from The Church at the Springs where Pastor Ron Sylvia and others are hosting Nuts & Bolts, a conference for church planters. I feel very blessed to be here. I don't deserve it. What I do deserve is the full weight of the wrath of God toward sin for my rebellion against God. I learned a huge lesson a long time ago from my friend, Bobby …

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Spurgeon on Preaching to the Will of the Listener

W. A. Criswell defined teaching (from the pulpit) as "instructing a man in the will and ways of the Lord," and preaching as "seeking to drive a man's will God-ward." There is a raging debate today over how much freedom people really have. A renewed fascination with Calvinism has brought this debate to the forefront. I'm not opening the whole can of worms here - just this one point. Preaching should be directed to the will of a person. Decisions count. If you carry …

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The Lord Who Heals and the People Who Worship

I must confess, as a Baptist, it took me a rather long time to come to understand the healing nature of God. We Baptists, as Adrian Rogers put it, "believe in miracles, but trust in Jesus." I still believe this is best. But I also freely admit that in our reaction to the extremism of "healing evangelists" like Binny Hinn and other obvious hucksters and false prophets, that we have a tendency to write off all supposed healings as a mere charade. Scripture, however, clearly …

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Our Tough & Tender God

"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him,... To me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." -Deuteronomy 32:11-12, 35Isn't it amazing that God can be both the mother eagle, caring for her young, and also the awesome God who takes …

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The Remedy for Iniquity

"By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil." -Proverbs 16:6 We all want mercy when we've messed up, but we rarely want truth, but it is truth that really keeps us clean. Because of God's mercy, He forgives us and wipes the sleight clean. But by speaking His truth to our lives through His Word, we are kept clean. We often make the assumption that when someone shows us mercy, they should then refuse to speak harshly with us. God …

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When God Opens the Heart

“Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”—Acts 16:14 (NKJV)Sometimes we fall into the trap of accidentally humanizing the miraculous. When a person is born again, for example, we deduce that they simply turned to the Lord strictly out of their own volition. The Scriptures clearly indicate, however, that salvation is a work of God in the …

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According to His Mercy

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” –Psalm 51:1-2King David had committed adultery, murder, and had concocted a cover-up that lasted for a year. In God’s timing, Nathan the prophet came to the King with those stinging words. He told the King a parable of a rich man who oppressed a poor man and the King was …

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Big Lessons from Big Toes

"And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek:... and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died." (Judges 1:5-7)The Buddhist idea of karma teaches that "what goes around comes around" and that all is equitable in the …

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