On Faith, Works, the Lordship of Christ, and Assurance

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The relationship between faith and works as it’s described in the Bible is not a very complicated one.  “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus.  “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live,” says Paul.  “Faith without works is dead,” says James.  Or as John says plainly, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  At least one major takeaway from all of this is that genuine faith in Jesus Christ – the kind that is required for a person to be brought into right standing with God – is a fruit-bearing faith.  True faith in Jesus bears the fruit of obedience to Jesus.  And so, a kind of faith that does not bear such fruit, is, in the words of James, “dead.”  It is a useless, counterfeit sort of faith that does not save.… Continue reading

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Prioritize Love

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Many of us understand the need for spiritual disciplines. Often men or women struggling with sin will acknowledge the need to spend more time reading God’s Word and praying. If I had to guess, I’d say 95% of Christians believe these to be essential spiritual disciplines. Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Paul exhorts the congregation to renew their mind, be in a state of learning and imitating Christ because it causes growth while honoring God (worship).… Continue reading

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Prioritize God’s Way

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Navigating life can be difficult and arduous if there is no central guiding compass. Obviously for us, we love the Lord so His will matters. Believers seek to orient their life in such a way to honor our Lord – a proper fear true believers maintain. But this is not always easy either considering the pressures of life – work, kids, spouse, family, church, hobbies, sports, activities, etc. Most of us do the best we can and often adulting equates to being tired and worn out from always going. In the going process we can develop bad attitudes, resentment, and even bitterness regarding our situation in life and how and ask, is there ever a break?… Continue reading

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Christian, Don’t Be Afraid

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A couple of days ago, I was in the kitchen making tacos, and the TV was on in the other room, and the network news broadcast started. And I heard nearly the whole thing.  While there were stories on a number of topics, they were all basically the same. Whether they were about the economy, politics, the weather or crime the story was the same; things have never been this bad and you should be afraid.

And it is not just the network news and the so called mainstream media, although they are certainly industry leaders, after all one of the founding fathers of American mass media once quipped “no one ever went broke predicting the end of the world.” The alternative media in many of its various forms gleefully joins in chorus too.  You could hardly be blamed if you didn’t realize that violent crime in the US has been declining for decades, and that as a nation the US is in a period of great prosperity that has lasted for decades or that the number of hurricanes has been declining since the 1990s.… Continue reading

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8 Truths About Speech & the Christian Life

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Words are powerful.  The tongue is a small but influential instrument.  And it is incredibly difficult to use that little instrument in a good, beneficial, and God-honoring way.  Recently I spent some time reflecting on James 3:2-12 and what it says about the use of speech in the Christian life and found eight truths in that passage worth meditating upon.  In this post, I’d like to share those 8 truths with you.

James is About Consistent Christianity

The letter of James is about the importance of living out a consistent Christian faith and the sad tendency for all Christians to contradict our faith by the lives we that we live.  And in this sobering passage, James (one of Jesus’ younger brothers) exposes one of the most common and most troublesome ways in which Christians contradict their profession of faith in Christ, which is, by the words that come out of our mouths.Continue reading

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