June 23, 2017

Have you ever jumped to a conclusion about someone else’s motives, only to learn that you had completely misunderstood their actions? The tribes of Israel living west of the Jordan were guilty of this when they learned that the tribes on the east side of the river had built an altar. Their hasty assumptions nearly caused a civil war over what was really a symbol of national unity. Please open your Bible to Joshua chapter twenty-two, verse ten, and listen as Pastor Ray Viola continues his teaching after reading this verse.

 

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June 23, 2017

Have you ever jumped to a conclusion about someone else’s motives, only to learn that you had completely misunderstood their actions? The tribes of Israel living west of the Jordan were guilty of this when they learned that the tribes on the east side of the river had...

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June 22, 2017

Today’s passage concerns two fulfilled conditional promises. After fighting seven years, Israel controlled the Promised Land, and the LORD gave her rest from their enemies as He had promised. Joshua commended the two-and-a-half tribes that claimed an inheritance east...

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June 21, 2017

As a Christian, have you ever wondered why you are where you are in life: living in a particular neighborhood or working at a particular job? It should be no mystery: God has called us to be His emissaries to those with whom we live and work. As Pastor Ray Viola...

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June 20, 2017

The cities of refuge in the Promised Land were always open, and they contained physical resources to house fugitives until the elders of the city could assess their guilt or innocence. Anyone could come to one of these cities for refuge from the Avenger of Blood,...

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June 19, 2017

After occupying the Promised Land, the LORD told Joshua to establish six cities of refuge: three to the east of the Jordan River and three to the west. Besides forming the basis for important laws in modern Western Civilization, laws concerning these cities also...

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June 16, 2017

God’s ways are amazing. Judah and Ephraim often battled and argued. Yet, by God’s sovereign plan, the lot for Benjamin the peacemaker positioned his inheritance between the two contentious territories. Zebulun, Asher and Naptali received the northern portions of the...

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June 15, 2017

Before assigning the last seven portions of land, Joshua stopped at Shiloh to remember the most important thing. Do you have times when you are depressed? Downcast? Discouraged? Overwhelmed? Stop what you are doing and worship God. Put your focus on Him, Who is truly...

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June 14, 2017

Though Israel had conquered Canaan, each tribe still had pockets of resistance to clear on their own. Ephraim and Manasseh did not do well. They compromised. Instead of fully driving out the inhabitants of the land, they tried to increase their wealth by making the...

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June 13, 2017

Do not be afraid to ask the Lord for big things. Do not limit the God of Israel. Be filled and refreshed with the living waters of the Lord. Today’s passage includes a list of cities inherited by the Israelites. God promised them this inheritance before their...

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June 12, 2017

Christian life is not a video game, but a real war. God calls us be soldiers. We are not playing to win points; God wants us to overcome evil and to win souls! We, like Caleb, should call upon the name of the LORD to receive strength and blessing. Caleb, who was...

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June 9, 2017

Chance. Accidents. Luck. Christians can remove these words from their vocabulary, because Proverbs 16:33 declares that all disposing of our actions are of the LORD. When God's people obey Him, they have a double portion: God blesses their obedience, and they have God...

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June 8, 2017

Everything in the Bible is there because God considers it important. In Joshua twelve, Scripture lists all the kings conquered by Moses and Joshua. While it makes for tedious reading, we must remember the victories God establishes in our lives so that we can be...

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June 7, 2017

Joshua left nothing undone that God told him to do. Joshua recognized authority and submitted wholly to God’s direction, and the result was victory. Our nation is in a bad way, because so many people have no regard for authority and the rule of law. How do you respond...

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June 6, 2017

For this message, it might help to have a Bible map of Israel nearby. As Israel worked its way north through the Promised Land, the battles intensified. Likewise, many Christians find that their battles get more intense as they mature in the Lord. God told Joshua to...

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June 5, 2017

When you read the Word of God, do you believe His promises? Do you believe that He can back up what He says? Joshua believed, and he mixed his belief with faith: In the midst of a battle, He asked God to keep the sun from setting, and God miraculously answered his...

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June 2, 2017

Jesus does not want us to live lives filled with anxiety and tension. When you are under attack, cast all your cares upon Him. God gives Christians power, love and sound minds. Do not feed your fear! Pray and watch God defeat the enemy! Please open your Bible to...

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June 1, 2017

It is exciting to be in a war if you are on God’s side, and you know ahead of time that you will win. Do you feel like you are in a battle? The God who was with Joshua can also be with you. If you ask Him to, He promises to fight with you. Battles are a part of life....

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May 31, 2017

We must be on high alert in all areas of our lives, especially when faced with important decisions, because we live in a war zone. Outward appearances and the lies of our enemies can easily fool us, but God sees all, including what is in people’s hearts. To avoid...

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May 30, 2017

Throughout history, God has used armies of men, angels, or other creatures, along with forces of nature to miraculously judge nations. When Israel conquered Canaan, many died, including woman, children, and even animals. Many question God’s character over this, but...

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May 29, 2017

Have you ever made a horrible mistake? Rejoice! We serve a God that gives second chances in this life. Moreover, with that second chance, He will provide what you need to do well, if you ask Him and trust Him. With God’s power on your side, He can turn an area of...

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May 26, 2017

The parable of the sower tells us how the Gospel can grow to fruitfulness in a properly prepared heart. The story of Achan shows how sin and disobedience grow out of a dissatisfied heart. It begins when when see something that appeals to our flesh. Then we covet it so...

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May 25, 2017

When people experience defeat in life, they commonly blame God. However, far too often, our defeats are simply the result of reaping what we have sown. Israel’s loss in their first battle with Ai shook Joshua. His agonizing prayer revealed his confusion concerning...

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May 24, 2017

After taking the great city of Jericho, Israel prepared to capture the little city of Ai. Overconfident after their first victory, they did not bother to send their entire army into battle, nor did they seek the LORD’s counsel on how to conquer Ai. This huge tactical...

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May 23, 2017

Because Jericho was Israel’s first victory in the Promised Land, all its contents belonged to the LORD. Taking any of the spoils for personal use would bring a curse on the entire nation. This is sobering, because it implies that the sins of a single person can affect...

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May 22, 2017

The ark of the covenant not only symbolized God’s presence, it also represented security for God’s people. When the Israelites went up against Jericho, the ark (God’s presence) was in their midst. They obeyed God’s commands, and He won the battle. Are you facing a...

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May 19, 2017

After forty years in the wilderness, Israel’s army stood before the intimidating walls of the first fortified city that they had seen in a generation. Joshua had received battle plans from the Captain of the Lord’s Host, and their week-long siege of Jericho began with...

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May 18, 2017

Circumcision reminded all the men of Israel that their bodies and hearts belonged to God. When God ordered the circumcision of Israel’s army in the sight of their enemies, He was making a point to the Israelites: Unless your hearts are right with me, you will not win...

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May 17, 2017

After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel’s faithless generation had passed, and a new, obedient generation had a established a beachhead in the Promised Land at Gilgal. The name ‘Gilgal’ implies that ‘their reproach had been rolled away.’ Likewise,...

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May 16, 2017

God wants us to remember that He is faithful and in complete control; He always has been, and He always will be, for He never changes. Joshua understood this, and his unquestioning obedience to the LORD’s commands (some of which defied human reasoning) are a powerful...

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May 15, 2017

When you face a daunting obstacle blocking the path in which God has called you to walk, what should you do? Israel was in such a situation on the banks of the swollen Jordan River. The command that Joshua gave them was this: Sanctify yourselves, because the LORD is...

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May 12, 2017

After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel was poised to enter Canaan. They had God’s directive and His assurance that they would conquer Canaan’s giants. Only one thing stood in their way, the swollen Jordan River! God had sovereignly arranged it so...

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May 11, 2017

Though God had given the Israelites the land of Canaan, Joshua did not shirk his duties as their commander. He sent two spies into Canaan to gather information about those whom God wanted them to conquer. Meanwhile, the Israelites spent three days on the east bank of...

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May 10, 2017

God admonished Joshua to be strong and courageous, because he and the people that he was leading would be battling giants. The key to victory was remembering God’s word. Likewise, as we face giants in our own lives, our key to victory is no different. We should...

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May 9, 2017

Moses, the Lawgiver, was unable to take the Israelites into the Promised Land. Before he died, Moses transferred his authority to Joshua, whose Hebrew name means Jehovah is salvation. Jesus, a Greek name, has the same meaning as Joshua. So, Moses typifies the Law,...

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May 8, 2017

Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus were three godly servants in Corinth. These men were addicted to meeting others’ needs spontaneously. Moreover, they labored to the point of exhaustion to do so, because they were committed to their relationships with others. Only...

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May 5, 2017

Paul’s closing comments in his letter to the Corinthian church contained some very important points. The key word for Paul’s closing is love, and the big question for the Corinthians, and for us, from this passage is this: Do we really love the people around us with...

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May 4, 2017

Do you know that there is a work of the Lord that only you can do? Do you know what that work is? Do you have a plan for doing it? Are you committed to work through opposition and obstacles to complete it, or will you just give up and walk away when things get...

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May 3, 2017

It has been said that failing to plan is the same as planning to fail. Many have plans for business, finances, or education, but they have no plans for spiritual growth and service. Are you planning to fail in this vital area, or do you have a plan for your spiritual...

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May 2, 2017

Hebrews 10:25 urges believers not to forsake going to church, especially as the Day of the Lord approaches. Unfortunately, in a time when Christians should be gathering more frequently, many have lost their conviction about attending church on Sunday. Predictably,...

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May 1, 2017

God commanded His people to set aside one day a week to rest from their labor and to worship Him. As a remembrance of Christ’s resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Christians historically have observed Sunday as a day for corporate worship,...

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April 28, 2017

God has revealed a mystery that could only be opened to us by the Holy Spirit. How can our corruptible bodies be changed into incorruptible immortal bodies? Pastor Ray Viola expounds on three “Be’s” in today’s passage to help us towards this end: Be steadfast, Be...

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April 27, 2017

Paul used the phrase “flesh and blood” to refer to our earthly bodies. These earthly bodies are unsuitable for living in heaven or in the new heavens and the new earth that God will create after the White Throne Judgment. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption. What a...

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April 26, 2017

The works of man cannot make us spiritual. Only the Holy Spirit can work in the hearts of men to renew them by Christ’s grace and mercy. We then become heirs, according to the hope we have in Him. Please open your Bible to First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, and...

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April 25, 2017

The natural man, housed in a worldly body, cannot receive anything from the Spirit, and it will eventually die. However, when a person gives their life to Christ, He makes their spirit alive, and when He raises believers from the dead, He will give them glorified...

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April 24, 2017

Jesus’ resurrection will impact our future, and it should also affect the way that we live now. For example, the ordinance of baptism is a public visual testimony in which believers identify with Christ’s death and resurrection. If the dead are not raised, then this...

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April 21, 2017

If you had the power to change your bodily appearance, would you? Many attempt to do this by going to the gym, eating well, and so on. But, if the Lord tarries, all of us will die. Fortunately, Jesus’ bodily resurrection gives Christians a guarantee of permanent...

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April 19, 2017

Bodily resurrection from the dead is a vital part of the Gospel. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then neither would His followers. This would make our faith vain: We would still be in our sins, and we would be without hope. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to...

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April 18, 2017

Jesus’ resurrection was an unprecedented event, but the testimonies of many eye witnesses have made it part of the historical record. If you believe their testimony that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified, then it changes everything for you: not only your...

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April 17, 2017

What is the essence of the Gospel? God has done something new and amazing in our midst, and Paul wanted the Corinthian Christians to truly understand what it was. Please open your Bible to First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, and listen as Pastor Ben Hiwale helps us to...

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April 14, 2017

Jesus’ resurrection was an unprecedented event, but the testimonies of many eye witnesses have made it part of the historical record. If you believe their testimony that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified, then it changes everything for you: not only your...

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April 13, 2017

What is the essence of the Gospel? Paul wanted his readers to know. God had done something new and amazing in their midst, and he wanted the Corinthian Christians to truly understand what it was. Please open your Bible to First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, and listen...

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April 12, 2017

As foretold by the prophet Isaiah, Jesus was punished for our transgressions and our iniquities. This means that everyone has crossed the line with God, and seeking our own way has made us twisted. Christ accomplished atonement on the cross, but you are not saved...

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April 11, 2017

More than seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah penned a passage that contains graphic details of Christ’s passion. Some have called today's text ‘The Mount Everest of the Old Testament.’ Please open your Bible to Isaiah chapter fifty-three,...

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April 10, 2017

When discussing the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit within the Body of Christ, people often gravitate to one of two undesirable extremes: excessive reserve or excessive liberty. Both extremes obscure the true purpose of the gifts, which is to supernaturally...

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April 7, 2017

When believers congregate for worship services, everyone that comes should do so with the intent of not only receiving but giving. That is, we should not come as spectators, but as participants seeking to bless, edify, and encourage others using gifts imparted to us...

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April 6, 2017

God gave us the gifts of the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus Christ, edify and encourage the Body of Christ, and to spread the Gospel to the lost. If a tongue or a prophecy is unclear or does not do any of those things, then one should question the truth of what is being...

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April 5, 2017

The spiritual gifts of tongues and prophecy are controversial topics in the church today. As one might expect, some emphasize or distort these gifts beyond what the Scriptures declare. Others, in an effort to avoid controversy, try to downplay or suppress these gifts....

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April 4, 2017

Any loving relationship inevitably carries with it certain expectations. It is also inevitable that there will come a point in your relationship in which your partner will fail to live up to your expectations. When that void occurs, how will your mind fill it? Will...

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April 3, 2017

Some passages of the Bible are so well known and so familiar, that one can easily miss their true impact and importance. Today’s passage is one frequently read at weddings and even at funerals. Since it concerns love, it is also a favorite of those that teach topical...

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March 31, 2017

When a person confesses the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and repents of their sins, they are baptized into one Body. However, Christian unity is not a call for Christian uniformity. God wisely spread His gifts over the entire Body of Christ. Since no one...

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March 30, 2017

Like the human body, many different interrelated and interdependent parts comprise the Body of Christ. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit equips different members of the Body with diverse gifts that enable it to function effectively and harmoniously in its mission to reach...

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March 29, 2017

The Holy Spirit gives every believer some spiritual gift or gifts by which they can make vital contributions to the collective life and growth of the Body of Christ. When a person exercises a spiritual gift, it should draw attention to Jesus, not to the instrument....

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March 28, 2017

The Holy Spirit distributes many diverse gifts to believers, according to His will. Spiritual gifts are to edify the Body of Christ and to glorify God. Unfortunately, many ignorantly believe that spiritual gifts imply spiritual power and maturity, and they attempt to...

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March 27, 2017

Paul taught the Corinthians the significance of the Lord’s Supper. Today’s message will culminate with the taking of the bread and cup in remembrance of Jesus. If you are a sincere Christian and able to do so, we invite you to observe this ordinance with friends or...

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March 24, 2017

Like any true minister of the Gospel, Paul passed on that which he first received from the Lord. In today’s text, Paul passed on the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper to the Corinthians. He also passed on its meaning, its purpose, and the responsibilities of those that...

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March 23, 2017

Paul was concerned about factions within the Corinthian church, because Christian unity is at the very heart of the Gospel. Divisions among brethren occur when we lose focus on why Jesus died for our sins: It was not merely so that we could go to heaven, it was so...

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March 22, 2017

The Lord’s supper is an ordinance of God given to the Church as a visible representation of Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins. Unfortunately, observance of this ordinance within the Church too often emphasizes the process of His death rather than its...

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March 20, 2017

Is God a sexist? Does God exalt men above women? Is the Bible even relevant in today’s world? Pastor Ray Viola will clarify the historical cultural context surrounding today’s passage so that we can understand God’s plan for our lives today, which involves our...

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March 17, 2017

How do we live our lives without offending others? That is an important question to consider as one reads the Bible. Today’s passage contains seven points to consider as we endeavor to live our lives without needlessly offending those around us. Please open your Bible...

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March 16, 2017

Christians should follow leaders who follow Christ. Our guiding principle for living should be to seek good for others, both inside and outside the body of Christ. Please open your Bible to First Corinthians, chapter ten, as we begin our study with Pastor Ray Viola in...

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March 15, 2017

The gods of this world are riches, pleasures and pride. An idol can be anything. When we love something more than God, we have an idol. Ask a neighbor, coworker, or your spouse what they think is important to you. They might be able to see your weakness better than...

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March 14, 2017

Are you a slave? Whom do you obey? What is it that you believe you must have and cannot live without? In today's culture we disguise idolatry so that we can satisfy our personal lusts without violating cultural taboos. Please open your Bible to First Corinthians,...

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March 13, 2017

Israel was unthankful for God’s provision in the wilderness after they came out of Egypt. Murmuring and complaining dominated their conversation. In truth, God does not owe us anything, yet He gave us His dear Son that we might be reconciled unto Him. Therefore, we...

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March 10, 2017

Rituals like baptism do not regenerate us; we are saved by God’s grace when we look to the crucified Christ for salvation. Grace is not a license to continue in sin. Neither does our liberty in Christ give us the right to do things that misrepresent His name....

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March 9, 2017

Do any of you feel like quitting? Do you ever wonder if you will be able to develop the discipline that it will take to complete this seemingly impossible race? Is the prize even worth it? By God’s grace we can bring our bodies into subjection to God’s will, and the...

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March 8, 2017

Paul challenges and admonishes Christians to run the race so as to win the prize, which is to bring the Gospel to the lost. This means that the Christian life should not be passive. So how should Christian’s behave? Please open your Bible to First Corinthians, chapter...

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March 7, 2017

To win others to Christ, it is good to find common ground with the lost so that we can communicate with them in a meaningful way. Using the foundation established on common ground, we should then build in a way that reveals to them their need for Christ. The onus is...

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March 6, 2017

At what point does it become inappropriate to blend in with our culture? Flexibility helps when trying to win others to Christ. However, acting like people in the world does not truly represent Christ to them, nor does it reveal to them their need to change. Please...

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March 3, 2017

Ministers of the Gospel have a right to receive material support for their labor, just as a farmer has the right to eat of his crops. Though Paul forsook this right, he gave five reasons why a congregation should provide material support to their local minister of the...

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March 2, 2017

Today, our culture is obsessed with personal rights. However, God’s word instructs give up certain rights if it will help others come to Jesus through the message of the Gospel. In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul uses his own life as an example to show believers...

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March 1, 2017

1 Corinthians 8:9 warns Christians that, if they carelessly exercise their liberty, then it could create a stumbling block for weaker believers. But what is a stumbling block? Is it something that merely offends another, or is it something more serious? Ideally, our...

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February 28, 2017

Christians have the liberty to do many things that are not prohibited by God’s word. Nevertheless, unbelievers and less-mature Christians are watching how we live our lives. Therefore, we must consider how these people might react to us exercising our liberty....

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February 27, 2017

Knowledge without love is arrogant, and love without knowledge is foolishness. When a person knows God well enough to love Him, then that person will also realize that God knows and loves them. Since God first loved us, it should be love, not knowledge, that sets the...

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February 24, 2017

Personal liberty can be a source of great confusion and division within the church. As a Christian, what am I free to do? Must I consider how my actions will affect others, and how much should I let my consideration for others limit my freedom? Please open your Bibles...

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February 23, 2017

Time is short; Jesus is coming. Therefore, we should lay aside those things that weigh us down as we pursue the prize that awaits us in glory. This means prioritizing our relationships, our material possessions, and worldly dealings so that we can make every day count...

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February 22, 2017

Corinthian Christians were distressed by persecution, and they were expecting Jesus to return soon. Should a single person get married in such times? Should married people stay married? In First Corinthians chapter seven, verses twenty-five through forty, Paul advised...

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February 21, 2017

A person’s status in the eyes of a fallen society has nothing to do with who we are in the kingdom of God. We should not put off serving the Lord because we do not like our current vocational or marital status. Bloom where you are planted, and one day you may be...

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February 20, 2017

Instead of following the clear and sound teaching of God’s word, the Corinthians had worldviews that had drifted to extremes. This created chaos in their marriages and vocations, and it created a church full of discontented, disoriented, and dysfunctional believers....

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February 17, 2017

In today’s gender-confused world, it is often hard to understand a topic that is related to husbands and wives. God views marriage as a union of one man to one woman. People today are looking for loopholes to escape their marriages, but how can a couple that has...

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February 16, 2017

Sadly, divorce statistics suggest that there is not much difference between Christian marriages and worldly ones. Too many Christians ignore Paul’s counsel for wives not to depart from their husbands, and for husbands not to divorce their wives, even if one in the...

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February 15, 2017

God’s counsel is always right, but too many people shop around until they finally find a counselor that will tell them what they want to hear. They mistakenly believe that they then have permission to act contrary to God’s guidance. Instead, Believers should give...

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February 14, 2017

Marriage. Singleness. Sex. Today’s pop culture holds views on these topics that deviate drastically from views expressed in God’s word. Scripture warns us that the world’s way is a broad path that leads to destruction. Fortunately, God’s word shows us the narrow path...

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February 13, 2017

He who is joined unto the Lord is now one in spirit with Him. How intimate that makes our relationship with God! Therefore, Paul exhorted us to flee sexual sins rather than subjecting our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit, to immorality. Please open your...

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February 10, 2017

Many Christians think that what they do in their bodies does not affect their spiritual state. This is not true. Humans are born with an attitude of self love and self indulgence, which is opposite God’s way. We are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord...

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February 9, 2017

We live in an ungodly world, and Christians should set a standard that shows the world that litigation is not the best way to resolve disputes, especially within the Church. Is it not better to suffer wrong at the hand of another believer than to submit to the verdict...

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February 8, 2017

In Corinth, Christians were suing each other! Sadly, Believers were letting unsaved judges make decisions that were not necessarily aligned with God’s standards. This does not please God. As Christians, we should either settle the matter internally or, out of love,...

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February 7, 2017

Sin does not play fair, and unconfronted sin will work to harm an individual Christian. That is why judging an unrepentant believer can be the most loving thing to do. It forces that believer to confront their sin. If they cling to their sin and go back to the world,...

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February 6, 2017

God’s word tells us not to judge unbelievers, who are outside the church, because they do not know any better. However, many are surprised when they read in God’s word that unrepentant religious pretenders should be banned from coming to church until they do genuinely...

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February 3, 2017

Whether we like it or not, there will always be individuals that will seek to undermine and challenge God-ordained authority and leadership in our homes, our churches, our schools, and even our government. How can one tell if a leader is God-appointed or...

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February 2, 2017

Paul had written harsh words to the Corinthians in the early portion of his letter. In today’s passage, Paul, like a father, reminded them how much he loved them, lest they feel shamed or inferior by his words of correction. He also issued a warning to self-appointed...

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