For Americans, the Fourth of July is a time to look back - and look up. On Independence Day, we take a break from our busy schedules to appreciate the blessings of freedom and liberty - the noble values upon which our nation was built. We look back with gratitude at our founding fathers' vision. We appreciate the courage of those who have protected our freedoms.
When God uses ordinary people beyond what is usual, ordinary or regular, He establishes the extraordinary. People do not usually think they are noteworthy, remarkable or exceptional in character. Outside of occasionally having a special, often temporary, task or responsibility, we may not address the possibility of being extraordinary. But there are "gifted" people among us. We celebrate their accomplishments with enthusiasm and amazement. What we may not consider is that God depends on ordinary people. The Bible shows us that ordinary people are chosen by God for phenomenal and special service.
When I was 16 years old, I had my dad drop me off at a lake to go fishing on his way to a church board meeting. This 30-acre private lake sat about a half of a mile off the road.
I have to admit that I love to sing. I sing along with the radio in the car. I sing in the shower. I sing as I work. (I'm not a good whistler, so I can't follow the advice of the Seven Dwarfs).
God made man a free moral agent: "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).
In the book of Psalms we are told that God has a purpose for each one of us.
In the preceding weeks, we have talked about pleasing God. Last week, we saw that if we really want to please God, we must understand that Christ is a part of God's plan and must be followed. As we think more about that, there are a few more things we need to know about Christ.
I have a friend who is an author. Mark has published multiple books in the past decade. He served as a pastor for 15 years but has spent the past 10 years writing and submitting manuscripts.
Last week we looked at the question, "Who are you trying to please?" The thought was that in spiritual matters, we must study and obey his word if we are trying to please God.
Tomorrow is Father's Day, which reminds me of baseball player-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday, who once said, "Give a child a good mother and any old stick will do for a father."
Several years ago I ran across a little gospel tract titled, "God's simple plan of salvation." It gave the simple truth that God loves his creation, and he made a way so mankind could get forgiveness for its sins and receive everlasting life.
One of the bad habits that I have is goofing off with my grandkids.
In life it seems we are always trying to please someone. It may be our parents, or it may be our children, a spouse, friends, employers, teachers, etc.
By the time you are reading this, I will be in recovery mode. Our church just will have completed its vacation Bible school on Thursday night.
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" Acts 1:2-4 (NIV).
Are you through with your Christmas shopping yet? I thought I would ask this week because by the time you are reading my column next week, it will be too late.
During this time of year, many people begin to think about Christ. More attention is given to trying to live as he lived - helping others, giving of himself to others.
We did it - we have finally reached the last month of the year.
The other day, I glanced up at a sign at a business that read, "We all go somewhere, make sure you get there."
The day after Thanksgiving, we began our Christmas decorating. It always is my job to get everything down from the attic, put the tree up and put lights on it. My wife does most of the rest. I put a few decorations near the top, including "the topper." Any outside decorations usually are my responsibilities, too.
Last week, we began studying about the crown God offers to all and how to achieve the goal of receiving the crown.
All mankind has to do is to look at God's creation and conclude from it that God exists.
If you are a fan either of the Bulldogs or the Yellow Jackets, you rode that coaster hard last Saturday. In all of my years of watching football (or any other sport), I do not remember a time when a game has swung back and forth like that. Even a basketball game with a one-point difference doesn't feel like that.
The Gospel message is to be preached to the entire world.
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." - 1 Peter 2:9
Psalm 107:1 tells us to "Give Thanks to the Lord, for he is good..." During this Thanksgiving season, we have much to be thankful for as a result of the goodness of God.
Today is Thanksgiving Day. For the first time in a few years, my wife and I will be celebrating at home. We have family coming in for dinner, and we are looking forward to a good day.
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