Faith, God's Truth About..., Personal Growth, Truth for Today

344 – Comfort in Crises

Comments Off on 344 – Comfort in Crises 04 April 2014

When we are dealing with a crisis in our lives, or we are just lonely or feel neglected, there is a comfort that can calm our souls. There are all kinds of professional helpers who are trained to give counsel. They have their places in the process of helping us through some of the devastating circumstances we face. But, there is help that is divine, always available, and will bring comfort that calms our disquieted souls. John left us a great message from Jesus’ own lips in the fourteenth chapter of His Gospel. It is like an oasis in a desert for the soul that is thirsting for comfort. We can learn some answers from it and find our Source of comfort in it.

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Faith, God's Truth About..., Truth for Today

341 – How Can I Know I Am Saved?

Comments Off on 341 – How Can I Know I Am Saved? 14 March 2014

I am often asked, “How can I know that I am saved?” People who do not have the assurance of their salvation struggle with unresolved guilt. They fear what may happen if their lives suddenly come to an end. They have no boldness in their prayer lives. They lack the personal peace that Jesus said He gives. They are missing out on the wonderful blessings of knowing Christ is living “in them” and that they are living “in Him.” Let’s turn to the logical place to answer a the-o-logical question – God’s sure Word.

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Faith, God's Truth About..., Personal Growth, Truth for Today

339 – The Basics of Being Blessed

Comments Off on 339 – The Basics of Being Blessed 28 February 2014

Have you ever tried to encourage a friend by saying, “I know God will give you His blessings if you just trust Him.” Perhaps you have said, “God blesses us if we qualify for His blessings.” How do you know God will bless them, and if there are qualifications for being blessed, what are they? The Apostle Paul addresses the matter of gifts from God in Rom. 4: 16ff. He was talking about God’s promise to Abraham regarding his being given, “an heir of the whole world.” Let’s learn some principles that prepare us for God’s blessing in our lives from this brief passage.

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Faith, God's Truth About..., Personal Growth, Truth for Today

337 – Strength Under Stress

Comments Off on 337 – Strength Under Stress 14 February 2014

How do you cope with the everyday stress and strain in your life? The world offers some solutions: alcohol and other drugs, sleep aids, meditation, relaxation, “getting away” for a while, and many more. Peter offered some good counsel for us all when he wrote that the answer is in the strength we receive from knowing that, “The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have [us] put together and on [our] feet for good”  (1 Peter 5:10 The Message). People suffer disappointments of many kinds: delayed answers to prayers, wanting to achieve major social status while young, relational crises, financial crises, and many more. We will look here at what God is up to when we are under stress.

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Faith, God's Truth About..., Personal Growth, Truth for Today

336 – Causes for Cheerfulness

Comments Off on 336 – Causes for Cheerfulness 07 February 2014

Are you expecting to be cheerful today or are you a person who is looking for things that are negative to dwell upon. I have often heard that old adage, “They told me to cheer up, things could be worse, so I cheered up and things did get worse.” The key is what you are looking for today. It is a great study to look at the “be of good cheer” passages of the Bible. Let’s look at some causes for cheerfulness in the life of a Christian.

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Faith, God's Truth About..., Personal Growth, Truth for Today

335 – Prospects for Peace

Comments Off on 335 – Prospects for Peace 31 January 2014

Have you heard anything that caused your peace to be interrupted and your anxiety level to be ratcheted up? The things I’m talking about are familiar to many of us. Some people have heard disquieting news from their stock broker. Others have heard disturbing news from their physician. Others have issues in their families that have torn apart significant relationships. We are all faced with politicians who blatantly lie, a rising national debt that has exceeded 17 trillion dollars, a clear lack of leadership at the national, state, local, and family levels. These things raise questions in our minds about what has caused all of this and what can we do about it. Where can we look for personal peace in the face of those realities? Some people look for escapist’s answers in alcohol, other drugs, sleep aids, untried experiences, and more. But, searching the world over, we must report that no amount of those remedies helps. The world’s solutions leave us with more complications rather than answering our inner need for peace. What are our prospects for peace? Let me assert here that they are not to be found through the work of negotiators or in documents that are not worth the paper they are written on. They are the same as they always have been. Look with me at the reasons we can hope for personal peace in a problem plagued world.

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Faith, God's Truth About..., Personal Growth, Truth for Today

334 – Why Worry When God Is Watchful

Comments Off on 334 – Why Worry When God Is Watchful 24 January 2014

Do you have a circumstance that is causing you to worry? It is a simple human reaction to most of the circumstances that seem unsolvable, strongly disturbing, or indeterminate. We want our answers yesterday. We want to know what to expect next. We don’t like to live in the dark about issues concerning us or our families. It is easy to say to someone who is worried, “Oh, don’t worry about that!” “This too will pass.” “Stop worrying so much.” Those are tall orders when you are in the middle of a crisis. But, there is a key to living with less worry. In 1 Pet. 5, Peter gives us some good counsel regarding God’s watchfulness over us. We will look at it here.

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Faith, God's Truth About..., Truth for Today

330 – Provision When We Need It

Comments Off on 330 – Provision When We Need It 27 December 2013

When jobs are lost, housing troubles are afoot, 401k’s are up and down, health insurance is questionable, part-time jobs are on the rise, and uncertainty reigns in many of our lives; we tend to feel we are on shaky ground regarding daily provision. When things are going well, jobs are secure, the stock market is controlled by the bulls, gasoline prices are descending rather than ascending, retirement seems to be taken care of; we have no trouble believing everything is going to be fine. But, the positive can swiftly turn to  negative when troubles arise. Then our faith in God as our Jehovah-jireh is more easily questioned. Yet, in uncertain times we need to be able to count on God as our Provider more than ever. Here are a few lines to encourage our faith in God as our Provider when we need Him.

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Faith, God's Truth About...

Confirmation at Christmas

Comments Off on Confirmation at Christmas 23 December 2013

nativity sceneI am sure that you have booked a hotel room in advance of a trip? I did that last year for an important trip to a very busy area in central Florida. We were there for the same activity that many others were there to attend. I asked the hotel to give me a confirmation number for the advance reservation I had made. They did that, but I inadvertently left the number at home. When I arrived the attendant at the hotel told me they did not have my reservation on file. They searched their records and indicated that they could not give us the room because they had no reservation in my name. I gave them my name, address, email address, and more to try to negotiate a way to have the room that was reserved for us. Then, we discovered that the person who took the reservation for me spelled my name “Hooks” rather than “Hicks.” They did find the reservation, and we had a great stay in the hotel.

I have shared that story to remind us at Christmas that we have a reservation made for us in God’s heaven, and it has already been confirmed by the Christ of Christmas who died on the cross to pay for our stay in heaven in full. Jesus did not have a reservation in a plush hotel when He came into the world. But, through Him, we have a guaranteed reservation in heaven! We will not have any argument when it is our turn to enter heaven’s gate. Our confirmation is vouched by the One who paid the ultimate price for us. “Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God’s love for us” (Rom. 5:8 GW). He loved though He was not loved.

No matter what we have done, are doing, or will do, God’s grace is greater than our sin. “He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!” (Eph. 2:5 The Message). God’s love and grace should be our example of how to love, forgive, and care for those around us.

We don’t have to worry about being alone in this life or in the life to come, because we have the promise of the One who said, “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, ‘I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you’” (Heb. 13:5 The Message). People are unfaithful, abusive, selfish, and hurtful sometimes. Even friends are fickle. They are for us one day and against us the next. But, when we get to heaven, we have a reservation in our eternal home of God’s unfathomable grace and indescribable love.

We need to pause this Christmas to thank God in Christ for confirming that we have a reservation made for us, in His name, on Heaven’s registry!

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Faith, Truth for Today

329 – Looking at a Baby: Learning a Bundle

Comments Off on 329 – Looking at a Baby: Learning a Bundle 20 December 2013

When a new child is born into one of our families the first question asked is usually, “Who did the baby look like?” If we could have looked into the manger what would we have seen? During these rushed days of shopping and decorating and visiting and eating, how many of us will think of Jesus’ birth and of what the baby in the manger in Bethlehem looked like? Let me invite you to come with me and listen to the physician, Luke, as he described the miraculous birth of our Savior. Let’s go to the manger with Luke and learn what we see. Luke said, “The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!” (Luke 2:20 The Message). Jesus’ birth had been prophesied. It had been pronounced to shepherds, it was about a person. Jesus’ birth was the most important of all because it was God coming to live among us and eventually to live in us. In verse 17, Luke said, “Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child” (Luke 2:17 The Message). The word for “seeing” means that the shepherds “gazed or looked intently on the Christ child. What did they see when they saw Him?

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The painting in my logo is by an artist named Kelly O'Neill.

If you appreciate excellence in art and are captivated by works that grip your emotions and proclaim the remarkable truths of God’s Word, you will want to know more about the very compelling art piece that is part of my ministry logo.

Kelly O’Neill is a remarkable young artist who very masterfully depicts the compassion, grace, and redeeming love of Jesus Christ in her painting, “Redeemed.” No painting has so grabbed my emotions and stirred my gratitude to Christ for His redeeming love as this one. Technically unparalleled, inspired, heart-stirring, and mind captivating are words I used upon seeing it for the first time.

Getting to know Kelly and the background of her wonderful work have served as great motivators as I launch out on a new ministry path in my own life. Kelly is also the developer of my website.

I commend her and her work to you and encourage you to visit her website www.TheArtistOfLife.com

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