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Invincibility: Life or Death… I’m Good

Paul went from persecuting the church to being a persecuted apostle of the church. After his arrest in Jerusalem, during his first imprisonment, he wrote a letter to the Philippians in which he boldly declared this short but profound line... For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (1:21) In other words... "If I live, I get to be all about Christ. If I die, I get to be with Christ, so either way, I'm good." Here's the thought that hit me - Paul was pretty much …

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Rekindle the Flame of Love by Paying Attention Again

We don't fall out of love. We stop choosing to do things that are loving. So the way back to love is to do the loving things we did early in our relationship. And that often starts with the simple step of paying attention again. Paul challenged the believers in Philippi, "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too." (Philippians 2:3-4 …

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Why I Believe in Positive Thinking

I'm not a fan of what's often called a "positive thinking" or "possibility thinking" theology That is, to say that we're all basically good and just need to realize the power of the good within us could be referred to with the theological term, baloney. We're depraved and sinful and desperately wicked. We need a Redeemer and a Savior, found only in the person of Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection. Having said all of that, I do believe in the power of …

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When God Takes A City

We're walking with the apostle Paul on Wednesday evenings and we've just received our call to Macedonia (modern-day Greece). We parted ways with Barnabas, taking Silas instead, and we picked up Timothy and Luke on the trip. In Philippi, God took the city for Himself! How did it happen? On Saturday, one business woman named Lydia, a "seller of purple" came to faith in Christ along with her house. Then Paul caused a riot over God's power to rescue a girl being used by adult …

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Striving for Holiness

I'll just try harder. That's the mentality of most people who are trying to be good Christians. "Well, I tried and I blew it, so I'll just try harder." The problem is that God resists the proud, so the more you think you can handle sin and temptation on your own, the less God will help. But He gives grace to the humble, so when you admit your helplessness, God comes to the rescue and gives grace, which provides strength. …

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What A Wonderful World

At our wedding, Angie and I chose to have Louie Armstrong's song played... What a Wonderful World. In light of yesterday's shootings, and so many other monumental tragedies in recent years, is it really a wonderful world? We were driving to Fort Smith yesterday for the annual meeting of the BMA of America and were reflecting on some of the tragedies that have taken place at this same time of the year such as the Oklahoma City bombing (April, 1995), the Waco compound burning …

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No Man Like-Minded

"But I trust the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state." -Philippians 2:19-20 Paul knew of noone else in the world who would be as others-focused as Timothy. He qualified his recommendation of Timothy with these words, "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." Timothy was in a class by himself. The whole world …

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What Do You Want To Do?

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”—Philippians 2:13 One of the most popular questions that modern Christians have is “how do I know the will of God?” It’s a good question and it often gets bad answers! We sometimes fall into the trap of being almost superstitious about the will of God. We border on throwing out the chicken bones to know where He wants us to go next. It’s really much more simple than that according to …

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Cease To Do Evil

"Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil." -Isaiah 1:16Some people have the mistaken assumption that the God of the Old Testament is a harsh God and the God of the New Testament is a soft God. The reality is that God's character has never changed at all. He said through the prophet Isaiah, "cease to do evil..." He said through His Son, "go and sin no more..." He is loving, but harsh toward our sin. He forgives, but He …

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He Must Be Everything

“For to me to live is Christ…”—Philippians 1:21a What defines your life? What holds the primary interest and attention of your heart? What is it that receives your greatest devotion and determines the direction of your future? Is it Christ? Paul essentially proclaimed, “For my entire life is defined by my relationship with Jesus.” If others could describe you in a phrase, would their words include Jesus at all? These are serious questions. For most of us, religion is a …

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