Does anyone even remember what “virtue” means? The Encyclopedia of the Bible calls virtue “Force or excellence of mind or body; ability; moral worth.” Well, the Bible certainly has a lot to say about moral virtue. From Christian Crier……………..
This article touches on how Scripture equates our life with the way we walk. I suppose this is because how we walk and where we choose to walk tells a lot about us! From Place for Truth……………….
This is a pretty important article because it addresses an important problem that probably occurs frequently in our reading and studying of Scripture; and that is, if we are unaware of the context of a particular, then our minds will supply a context, which may very well be incorrect for that particular portion of Scripture. From Stand to Reason………………………..
This is a passage that has caused some controversy over the years, but Greek scholar Murray J. Harris provides a great answer. From Logos.com……….
This article is helpful for those times when we think, “But I don’t know what to say when I pray!” From Anchored in Christ………………..
As widespread and common as depression is, it surprises me to realize that so many people are misinformed about it. This brief article addresses some of the misinformation that is out there. Here is a quote I really liked: “Gandalf, one of my favorite quotable characters who exists only but no less vividly in the minds of readers, said ‘Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.’6 It is a temptation to think that we do when we do not, and to see an evil end when God has something quite different in mind and in store. Yet, it is a temptation to which most—if not all—of us are vulnerable.” From Crossway.org…………………..
Hopefully you will not need to read all 31 psalms in the following list to fall asleep, but they are there if you need them! From Crosswalk.com……….
Perhaps you have heard that the best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture. Along those lines, to get more out of your Bible reading and Bible study, it is important to catch when a biblical author or character is quoting or alluding to another section of Scripture. This article explains why. From In Christ blog…………………..
This is a pretty important article. We have all heard and read how important it is to find a mentor (or even to be a mentor for someone else!). But unfortunately, it is extremely rare for a younger believer to find a true mentor in the faith. But this article brings us the happy news that all of us can be disciples and encouraged by our local church…if we go about it in the right way! From The Gospel Coalition………………..
Pay attention to God’s abundant gifts
It is God’s intention that our lives should be a seamless manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). He has made abundant provision for His indwelling our lives in the here and now. Appropriate attention to the care of our souls through His empowerment will yield this rich spiritual fruit and deliver us from the sad list of “deeds of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19–21). We can be channels of the grace of the risen Christ, and through our ministerial activities—speaking, praying, healing, administering—He can minister to others. But we must attend to the means of His grace in practical and specific ways to experience His life into and through our lives.
From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
This article will hit home with those of us who are pet owners. How’s that? Read it and see! From CriagThompson.org………………..
Because of the unique nature of the Old Testament in relation to the New Testament, our study of it will be most effective and accurate when we approach the Old Testament with certain ground rules. This article goes over those basics. From New Wineskins…………….
This article provides an introduction to the minor prophet Micah by Martin Luther. From Concordia Publishing Publishing House……………
This is really an excellent article! Did you know that God has three kinds of “wills”? It’s true, and this article will explain how to discover those “wills” as you pray. From Unlocking the Bible…………….
God is full of joy
We should, to begin with, think that God leads a very interesting life, and that He is full of joy. Undoubtedly He is the most joyous being in the universe. The abundance of His love and generosity is inseparable from His infinite joy. All of the good and beautiful things from which we occasionally drink tiny droplets of soul-exhilarating joy, God continuously experiences in all their breadth and depth and richness.
From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
Having a grateful heart, I think, is one of the hallmarks of the Christ follower. And this article provides a nice listing of verses that emphasize this. From Crossway.org……………….
This time, the emphasis is on a very important verse that is found in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 11:6 — “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” From Crosswalk.com……………….
When you start to count them up, there are a surprising number of things in the Bible that come in tens. This article from Patheos runs through a good number of them. From Christian Crier………………….
Isaiah 65:17 says, “For behold, kI create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” But does that mean that we won’t remember anything about our previous lives on earth when we are in heaven? Randy Alcorn takes a stab at an answer here. From Eternal Perspectives Ministries……………..
I know that I should give my worries to Jesus, and I really do try to do that, but I often just wind up reaching back for my worries a few minutes or hours later afterwards! How to stop? This article doesn’t exactly answer that hard question, but it does exhort us to not look to take those worries away from Jesus once they are handed over! From Core Christianity……………..
This article examines Psalms 19 to demonstrate how reading and meditating on the Word can renew and invigorate our soul and our spirit. This can happen because the Scriptures have the power to shape us inwardly and to direct us outwardly. From Crossway.org…………………….
The Scriptures are given to us to instruct us and to encourage us. In that vein, this article tells us some of the lessons we can learn from the prophet Samuel’s anointing of the young shepherd David (and the aftermath). From Crosswalk.com………………..
Heaven is going to be so awesome at least partly because of what from our daily lives now will never be found again! Another interesting and encouraging article from Randy Alcorn and Eternal Perspectives Ministries………………..
Although the Apostle Paul had a special, unique assignment of suffering for the Gospel from Jesus, yet all believers can learn from Paul’s sufferings when we face our own set of sufferings and trials. This article discusses this is some depth. Here is a tidbit: “Paul proclaimed a message of hope in the midst of hopelessness. He knew that God never loses his bearings, no matter how bad things may seem, and that God would not promise what he could not do. And God did as he said, for God sovereignly controls all of life’s storms. He can–and ultimately will–see his people safely through even the worst storms.” From Core Christianity………………
As we know, all of Scripture has been given to us to teach us and provide models of righteousness, as well as to encourage us in our walk with Christ. Many people today might feel inclined to skip the Book of Joshua, but it has some very important things to teach us today. From Crosswalk.com…………………
Scripture, as well as our own emotions, tell us that mornings are times of hope. Thus, the title of this article! Take hope, my friends. From A View of the Lake…………….
This article does a really good job of providing an overview of Ephesians 1, and especially digging into the important topic of the election — or choosing — of God of those who He will redeem. This is one of the possible ways to read this passage, but I feel there is a lot of merit to it. From Crossway.org………………..
This article is taken from the THEOLOGY OF WORK BIBLE COMMENTARY, and focuses on the first chapter of the Book of Isaiah. Here is a little tidbit: “Isaiah knew from personal experience that a genuine vision of God changes our lives, including how we live as Christians in the workplace.”
Here is a thought-provoking devotional from pastor and author Mark Batterson. Here, he talks about the reason that many people experience failure, or at least settle for something less than what God might have planned for them — because they did not burn their ships. What doess this mean? Read the article!
I found this article to be most intriguing and enlightening (as you would expect an article on wisdom to be!). Wisdom is sorely lacking in our world, is rarely found in any of our leaders any longer, and we are hard-pressed sometimes to even see it demonstrated in the church. But with the Holy Spirit still active in the world, there is always hope! From the Lexham Press Blog………………….
Here is an article by author and pastor Kevin Halloran, who wrote a new book on prayer titled, When Prayer is a Struggle (which I reviewed and found to be an excellent resource), in which he gives a couple of examples of how to use the Lord’s Prayer in specific examples for other people or situations not our own. From Anchored in Christ………………….
People today in our culture are removed from the idea of a redeemer, but it is a beautiful thing to an Israelite living in Old Testament times. Ann Spangler breaks down this name for God, and its beauty that holds for us today…………….
The point that the author of this article makes so beautifully is that God does not just act in our lives as the almighty God of creation, but He is also ever-present to us to uplift and encourage us in our inner thoughts and emotions. This is because our God is a God who is well-acquainted with human feelings and emotions. From Duncan Edward Pile…………………….
So much to learn if we are willing to dig a little from a cursory reading of our Bibles! Or use the wisdom and skills of other gifted scholars and writers like Ann Spangler…………………..
The topic and the tenor and this article really resonates with me and the ethos behind this little blog of mine. The title of this site — AverageChristianNet — is about my firm conviction that the Christian and the non-believing world needs to hear more from us “average Christians.” Of course, us non-pastors, non-professorial types make up the vast majority of the Body of Christ….yet, we downplay our own contributions in the workplace, the marketplace, and the Internet. (I will have a lot more to say about this in upcoming original pieces). In the meantime, this article makes some important arguments that none of us do “ordinary” work! From The Gospel Coalition…………..
This is one of the five famous “solas” of the Reformation — sola scriptura, that Scripture alone is enough to guide us in our salvation and living the Christian life (as opposed to church decrees). This article touches on this important aspect of Christian faith and practice. From Modern Reformation…………………..
Here is another nice article from Randy Alcorn, who wants to remind us that we don’t give to God and the church to get back, but like a good Father, God delights to send little rewards and reminders to us that He is pleased with us when we give without concern for kudos for the sheer joy of it! From Eternal Perspectives Ministries………………
Writer Ann Spangler brings us another lesson drawn from the various names of God given in Scripture. He is my Rock!……………..
There is a lot of practical and useful advice for parents in this article from biblical counselor Rick Thomas. Here is a tidbit to whet your appetite: “If they [the parents]don’t introduce the world to their child incrementally, the world will present itself to him. The operative word is incremental, as well as appropriately. There is a time to start teaching children about the culture, which begins at birth. Biffy was born in this world, and he needs to know how to navigate it, including all the cliffs, ravines, gorges, and swamps.” From RickThomas.net…………………
Personally, I am a little flummoxed that this is even a serious question these days, but this article addresses anyone with any doubts that depression can and does afflict even the most godly of Christians. From the Mental Health Grace Alliance…………..
In the beginning of his second epistle, the Apostle Peter lists a set of traits and skills that all mature believers should aspire to acquire. This article discusses those as admirable goals. From Jim Erwin………..
Jesus told us that in this life we would have trouble, and the Bible warns us about this and how to respond. Here are 10 key verses to ponder from Crossway.org……………….
First of all, I do not believe that there is “no such thing as Christian self-care.” But also, there is a whole world of difference between the ways the world practices self-care, and the core beliefs behind how a Christian practices self-care. This article does a commendable job in describing self-care for the believer. From Core Christianity…………….
There are many paradoxes in the Christian life that all believers must learn to hold in tension at the same time; that we are already saved and counted as righteous, but we are not yet fully sanctified. This article does a fine job of describing this fact of the Christian life to our benefit. From Beautiful Christian Life…………….
|Faith to Build Your Life On|
We don’t have to look very far into our own thinking and living to see the effects of either being sure of God or not being sure of God. I believe that Scripture always presents real faith as something that is based on knowledge as well as something that goes beyond anything you could know, and involves a commitment to God and his kingdom. Those two things, knowledge and commitment, are not exclusive of one another; rather, they are related. If we do not have a knowledge of God at the foundation of our commitment, that commitment simply will not hold up. It will waver; it will not govern our lives. It will be like pulling a chair away from someone in the act of sitting down. We will not be able to hold on to our belief as God intends, by the action of his Spirit on our hearts and our minds. Knowledge and faith are intended to go together.
For example, when you read Hebrews 11, the great chapter on faith, you will see faith equated with a vision of reality. We are told that Moses endured as one who sees the invisible. Faith is not a mere thought that something is true or the hope or resolve to believe it is. As Martin Luther said in the preface to his commentary on Romans: “Faith is a living, well-founded confidence in the grace of God, so perfectly certain that it would die a thousand times rather than surrender its conviction. Such confidence and personal knowledge of divine grace makes its possessor joyful, bold, and full of warm affection toward God and all created things—all of which the Holy Spirit works in faith. Hence, such a man becomes without constraint willing and eager to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer all manner of ills, in order to please and to glorify God, who has shown toward him such grace. It is thus impossible to separate works from faith—yea, just as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire.”
So when we contrast faith and sight, we always have to be sure that we qualify it, so that we understand what kind of sight we are talking about. And that kind of sight—the vision of the Self-subsistent Being without which all of the universe as we know it would simply fold up and disappear—that knowledge, that faith, that vision is the rock upon which we can build our lives.
From The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus. Copyright © 2015 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
This article makes a great point of showing how sacrifice for the benefit of the greater good is a part oflife and nature. From The Gospel Coalition………………
This article is for anyone who may be hurting and in need of encouragement from their heavenly Father, written sensitively by someone who has walked a path of pain and suffering. Here is the takeaway for me: “Whatever your circumstance, however dire, there is a way out. There is always a way with God.” From Duncan Edward Pile………………
This article takes a thorough look at a very important topic in both the Old and New Testaments — God’s promise to Abraham (and by extention, to his spiritual seed). Here is a tidbit: “The Abrahamic Covenant is remarkable in its disclosure of how God will move from an otherwise insignificant band of Semitic peoples, to a land in turmoil, to a nation, to a spiritual realization of the covenant that will bring forth the Messiah, and descendants of Abraham that include the entire world.” From Crosswalk.com…………………….
I believe all believers are tasked with serving Christ by being beacons of light and leading others through our actions. This article fleshes that basic idea out. From Gospel-Centered Discipleship………………….
by Josh McDowell and Ben Bennett (Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2021)
The authors, well-known author and apologist Josh McDowell, and pastor and speaker Ben Bennett have joined forces to examine why so many Christians struggle through life rather than thrive as children of God. Due to their own experiences and their years of ministry, they believe most believers are suffering due to unmet needs in their lives.
McDowell and Bennett make the case that God has designed all people with seven basic needs:
- Acceptance — to be included and approved of, as you are, no matter what.
- Appreciation — the longing to be thanked and encouraged for something we have done.
- Affection — the longing to be cared for with touch and genuine emotional engagement.
- Access — the longing to have the consistent emotional and physical presence of key persons.
- Attention — the longing to be known and understood by someone who enters into your world.
- Affirmation of feelings — the longing to have our feelings validated and confirmed by others.
- Assurance of safety — we need to feel protected and provided for emotionally, physically, and financially.
The authors contend that hurting Christians with unfulfilled longings suffer because they try to satisfy those longings themselves or with other earthly things or people. But God placed those longings in us so that we might always go to Him with our needs.
McDowell and Bennett are unusually open and honest in sharing their own unmet longings and the adverse effects those had in their personal lives and ministries. Writing as fellow strugglers, they encourage readers to understand that they are not unusual in trying to satisfy their longings without God and give practical steps to begin looking to God for help and comfort. The book concludes with helpful appendices of the Longings Table and websites and books for further ongoing support. I heartily recommend this book.
I am an anxious person. But the Bible tells me that I don’t have to be defeated in my anxiety. This article takes an out-of-the-ordinary approach to working through anxiety. From PierceTaylorHibbs.com blog……………..