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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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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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The Radical Change In Our Standing Before God

I was hopelessly lost before Jesus found me. In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul reminded the church of their former standing before God with three phrases. You were once far away from God... You were his enemies... separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. - Colossians 1:21 NLT This is the present state of anyone who continues to avoid and to reject Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Far away... enemies... separated... But Paul …

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There Is Always One Higher Court

In 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States made abortion legal, in spite of the fact that the Constitution guarantees the right to life to all people. The Court decided that the unborn aren't people, and we've witnessed 55 million deaths since. And just yesterday, four decades later, the Supreme Court made another decision even if its intention was indecision on the subject of gay marriage. By refusing to hear any single case appealed from a state's ruling on gay …

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The Super-natural, Heart-crushing Power of the Word of God

I recently Googled, out of curiosity, "what is the hardest substance on earth?" Most of the results were about a substance called graphene, which is stronger than diamonds yet amazingly flexible. One scientist postulates we will eventually be able to use graphene to create a television screen that can be rolled up like a poster and yet completely damage proof. But my favorite search result was from a message board where someone had an even better answer. Under the topic of …

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Meekness is the Leverage of Leadership

In today's world, meekness = weakness. God does not view it that way, however. The Bible says of Moses,"Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." (Numbers 12:3) And in a world where power is everything, Jesus entered the scene in a wooden manger surrounded by barnyard animals. He grew up in an humble village, the son of a carpenter, of modest means. He lived His life serving others, yet Jesus was certainly the most influential …

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Why It’s Impossible to ‘Make Peace with God’

Have you made your peace with God? It's a popular phrase. It's included in movies, uttered on death beds, and talked about in philosophical conversations. But it's impossible. You can't make peace with God. Our sin has incurred a debt we cannot pay. We have offended the Creator and sovereign King of the universe. He gave us paradise and we ruined it. He gave us His law and we smashed it. He asked for our allegiance and we selfishly decided to worship everything except Him. …

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Who Is Jesus? The Head of the Church, Pre-eminent In All Things

My favorite term referring to my role as a Pastor is the word undershepherd. I've been assigned the task of leading and feeding a flock, a local body of believers. And while I seek to lead with vision, with integrity, and with faith, I readily recognize that I am not the head of Grace Hills Church. That's Jesus' job. So I shepherd the flock, but I do so under the direction of King Jesus, the Chief Shepherd. Paul reminded the Colossian believers that "Christ is also head of …

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Who Is Jesus? He’s the Visible Image of the Invisible God

One repetitive theme of Jesus' teaching to His closest disciples regarded His oneness with the Father. He once said to them, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father." Then Phillip brilliantly asked, "Jesus, can you show us the Father?" Uh... "If... you've seen ME... you've seen the Father..." (That last part was my interpretation of what Jesus might have been thinking - you can read it in John 14.) We still struggle with this concept today in religious circles. Major …

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Living In God’s Power Versus the Alternative

There are two possible sources of power that we can live in: God's power or our own power. There is no real comparison between the two, but there is a key difference worth pointing out. My power will always be limited while God's power is unlimited. In my own power, I can be happy in good circumstances, but in God's power I can find joy in all circumstances. In my own power I can resist temptation once but in God's power I can flee from temptation entirely. In my own power …

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