Give Thanks to the LORD (Psalm 118)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever..png

Psalm 118

I came across an online article entitled “3 ways to harness positive psychology for a more resilient you.” This was the first way: “Expressing gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have – from a roof over your head to good health to people who care about you. When you acknowledge the goodness in your life, you begin to recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside yourself. In this way, gratitude helps you connect to something larger than your individual experience – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”

This pop psychology is not wrong. However, Christianity can give a “name” to that goodness outside ourselves better than any other worldview. Continue reading

“You intend to bring this man’s blood upon us” (Acts 5:27-32)

Acts 5:27-32

“…you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us (Acts 5:28).” This accusation was lodged against the apostles, and the world continues to lodge this complaint against Christians.

Few crimes are more grievous than murder. After Cain killed his brother Abel, God said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground (Gen 4:10).” Abel’s blood cried for justice! 

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God ensures the gospel goes out (Acts 5:22-26)

Acts 5:22-26

God sovereignly ensures that the gospel of his Son always goes out into the world. Throughout church history the number of the faithful may wax and wane; nevertheless, a faithful remnant always remains to tell the world the good news of Christ.

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Afraid but attracted (Acts 5:12-16)

Acts 5:12-16

I was invited by a friend to a Christian music festival when I was sixteen. Having not grown up in a religious home, I expected no more than a fun time with my friend. However, after a speaker presented the gospel message that first night, two seemingly contradictory feelings gripped me. I was at once deeply afraid. These people really believed all this. And, at the same time, I was deeply attracted. I never met a kinder, more joy-filled, cooperative group.

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Can the way to salvation be explained away? (Acts 4:12)

Acts 4:12

Many people have tried to explain away verses in the Bible such as this one: “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).”

John Hick tried to describe all major religions as looking at the same thing from different perspectives. He said that all religions have equally valid paths of salvation. One might start here, he asserted, and another there, but they all really lead to the same place.

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Finding beauty even in death (Ecclesiastes 3:11-15)

Ecclesiastes 3:11-15 is commonly read at funerals. Outside of its calming rhythmic poetry, few have considered exactly what it means. Space does not allow me to quote the passage, so please click the read link to read it on your own.

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A lesson in prayer from the apostles (Acts 4:23-31)

Acts 4:23-31

Pray we should. But how should we pray. Are there right and wrong ways? I think there are. Many give up on prayer because no one has ever taught them how to pray. Though not exhaustive in the least, the apostle’s prayer in Acts 4:23-31 gives us some pointers.

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They chose to obey God (Acts 4:19-20)

Acts 4:19-20

After the healing of the lame man at the gate called beautiful, the religious leaders had the apostles Peter and John arrested. Though they could find nothing to convict them of, they tried to silence them by commanding them to neither speak nor teach any more in the name of Jesus. The apostles responded as all Christians ought to respond to such persecution. They said to these very powerful men, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:19-20).”

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What Do You See in the Face of Your Enemy (Matthew 5:43-48), Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 4

Click here to read Matthew 5:43-38

What do you see in the face of your enemy? An object of revenge or justified wrath? Or, an object of love and altruistic prayer?

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The Overflowing Thankfulness of Christians (Colossians 2:6-7)

The Overflowing Thankfulness of ChristiansColossians 2:6-7

In the town of Wellsboro, Pa, where I live, we reached record-breaking rain fall. Water was overflowing everywhere. Every stream roared with rushing water. Every hollow was filled. Every depression in our yards seemed fit for an ant’s kayak. The apostle Paul identified overflowing with thankfulness as one mark of the Christian life (Colossians 2:7). Continue reading