Category Archives: New Testament

Praying for our cities (Jeremiah 29)

In this passage, Jeremiah was writing to a people who had just been exiled to Babylon. Many of them were scared and discouraged. Perhaps some of them even wanted to rebel against their captors. But God told them this, Pursue … Continue reading

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Speaking God’s word faithfully (Jeremiah 23)

How faithfully do we speak God’s word to those around us? The prophets and priests in Jeremiah’s day didn’t. Nothing they said turned people away from their sin and to God. How about our words? Do they turn people away … Continue reading

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A prayer for the nation (Jeremiah 18, Isaiah 64)

I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as … Continue reading

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Verses to remember (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

In a time when many people are living in fear and worry, Jeremiah 17:5-8 is a great passage to remember. May I make a suggestion? Memorize this passage. If you belong to a small group, have all your group members … Continue reading

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Our hope for a lost world (Jeremiah 16)

Jeremiah had a pretty depressing job. He was preaching to a nation that was being judged for their sin, and God had outright told him to stop praying for the nation. That even if Moses or Samuel prayed for Israel, … Continue reading

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Listen! (Jeremiah 13)

Last Sunday, I preached a message by the same title as this article. I was preaching from Mark 4, where Jesus commanded the crowds, “Listen!” Here we see God saying the same thing to the Israelites. But here’s what I … Continue reading

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A fountain of life (Proverbs 10)

This chapter in Proverbs has a lot to say about the words that come from our mouth. Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning. (13) The tongue of the righteous is pure silver. (20) The lips of the … Continue reading

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Seeking the Lord (2 Chronicles 20)

As we read about the imminent attack on Judah, it’s hard to miss what Jehoshaphat’s response was. Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, who gathered to seek the … Continue reading

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Thankfulness and worship (2 Kings 4; Psalm 145-146)

Today, I was reading 2 Kings 4 as part of my Bible reading plan, but I was also reading Psalm 145-146. And I could just imagine all the people God helped in 2 Kings 4 worshiping him with those two … Continue reading

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Though we may not see (I Kings 19)

I’ve read this story dozens, if not hundreds of times. Today I saw something new. Here is Elijah, fresh off an incredible victory in which God answered his prayer with literal fire, and people are proclaiming, “The Lord, he is … Continue reading

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Praying for our nation (I Kings 18)

As I read this passage today, I thought about Japan, where I live. Like Israel, the Japanese worship gods with no voice, gods that do not answer, gods that do not pay attention. And so I pray for Japan, and … Continue reading

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Trusting the Lord and heeding his voice. (Hebrews 1-13)

The danger of reading the Bible one chapter at a time is that you can lose the overall message of what is being said. And the overall message of Hebrews  is to put your trust in the Lord, paying heed … Continue reading

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Commended (Hebrews 11-12)

As I read this passage, the word “approved” or in some translations “commended” strikes me. You see it in 11:2, 4, 5, and 38. The word also has the idea of someone testifying to something. The question is, “who is … Continue reading

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Better (Hebrews 7-10)

It’s worth noting that the letter to the Hebrews were written to Jews who because of persecution by their own people, were being tempted to turn their backs on Jesus and return to Judaism. And so the whole theme throughout … Continue reading

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The reason for our hope (Hebrews 5-6)

Sometimes, because of our weakness, we wonder if God can truly accept us as his children. We look at all our sins and failures, and as a result, our faith starts to shake. But thankfully, our salvation is not based … Continue reading

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Receiving our King (Matthew 2)

Today is the “Feast of Epiphany,” the day when many Christians remember the visit of the three wise men. (Though honestly, I have never been in a church that has celebrated this feast or thought about its significance). But reading … Continue reading

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A new start? (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

Happy New Year all! With the new year, often comes New Year resolutions for a lot of people. The idea is, “Let’s have a new start, a fresh start.” But the truth is, we don’t need a new start. We … Continue reading

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Walking in truth and love (2 John)

I’m not sure, but this may be my last blog article of the year. And as we end this year, and look into the next, it’s good to remember the truths John sets forth here. Namely. each day we are … Continue reading

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Losing that which we cannot possibly keep (Judges 14)

A missionary named Jim Elliot once wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Sadly, Samson was a man who gave up what God had intended for him to gain … Continue reading

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Why Jesus came (Matthew 19:16-30)

As I was reading this passage today, I saw it in a slightly different way. This man comes to Jesus and says, “What good must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you ask me about what … Continue reading

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For you (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:11)

I was reading the prophet Isaiah yesterday, where he proclaims, For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty … Continue reading

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What your faith is leaning on (Judges 4)

What is your faith leaning on? On your pastor’s faith? On your spouse’s? On your friends’? Or do you yourself truly trust in God? For Barak, his faith rested on Deborah’s. He was confident God was with Deborah. He wasn’t … Continue reading

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Glorifying God and showing him gratitude (Romans 1:18-22)

It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Here in Japan where I live, we don’t have such a day, unfortunately. But even in the States, it seems many people have lost sight of what Thanksgiving is about. Namely, who … Continue reading

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Living by grace (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

I was thinking on a passage I was reading with my small group yesterday. It’s a pretty famous passage in which Paul talks about his “thorn in the flesh.” Three times Paul asked that it be taken from him, and … Continue reading

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Beloved and righteous in his sight (Deuteronomy 32-33)

I suppose I’ve known for some time that the name Jeshurun was another name for the nation of Israel. But until today, I never thought to actually look up what it means. It basically means “upright” or “righteous.” But when … Continue reading

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Empty words? (Deuteronomy 32)

After singing a song warning the Israelites not to turn against God, Moses said them, Take to heart all these words I am giving as a warning to you today, so that you may command your children to follow all … Continue reading

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A bitter root (Deuteronomy 29)

The writer to the Hebrews wrote this: Pursue…holiness—without it no one will see the Lord. Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and defiling many. … Continue reading

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Remembering the mercy we have received (Deuteronomy 24:17-22)

When life is good, it’s easy to forget the times it wasn’t, and our struggles become a distant memory. Of course, it’s great when we see God’s work in our lives and how he has delivered us. But we should … Continue reading

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Applying the Old Testament to ourselves (Deuteronomy 17)

All of the Bible is relevant to us. All of it was meant to to teach us something (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But not everything in the Bible is equally applicable. We see that in this passage. We see how the … Continue reading

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Our motive for holiness (Deuteronomy 7)

God’s words here seem very harsh. “Devote the nations in Canaan to complete destruction. Make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.” Why so harsh? Because they hated God and were in rebellion against him, their Creator … Continue reading

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Resting to remember (Deuteronomy 5)

I talked last week about the danger of taking God for granted. It is a danger that the Israelites definitely fell into time and again. It was for that reason that God instituted the Sabbath. In recounting the Ten Commandments, … Continue reading

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When we rejoice (Philippians 4)

I wrote last week about how we are commanded to rejoice. We see it again in this passage. And as I read it, it made me think, “What happens when we rejoice?” First and foremost, it gets our eyes on … Continue reading

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Because Christ took hold of me. (Philippians 3)

As I read this passage, it made me think about a wrong way of thinking that many Christians have. What is that way of thinking? “I need to get God to accept me. I’m not worthy of his love, so … Continue reading

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Kingdom people (Philippians 1)

Recently, I’ve been thinking about discipleship and what it means. What kind of people are we trying to raise? When Jesus raised his disciples, what kind of people was he trying to raise? The best words I could put to … Continue reading

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Making the most of our time (Ephesians 5)

Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (15-17) As I read Paul’s … Continue reading

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What God has done for us (Ephesians 1-2)

As I look at these two chapters, I can’t help but think how God-centered they are. They’re all about not what we have done, but about what God has done and will do. Think about it. He has blessed us … Continue reading

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A reason to rejoice (Matthew 28:18-20)

Last Sunday, my pastor gave a message on Acts 16, in which Paul and Silas were worshiping in prison. That’s a pretty remarkable thing to do when you think about it. Most people would be throwing a pity party.  “God, … Continue reading

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How will they remember me? (Matthew 26)

In verses 6-16, we see two people that Christians remember. We remember Mary for the great love she had for Jesus. In fact Jesus said of her, Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, … Continue reading

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Loving our brothers and sisters (Matthew 25)

A lot of times, people use the end of this chapter to talk about how we are to be kind to all the hurting people in the world: the sick, the poor, the hungry, and those in prison. Of course, … Continue reading

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Living by grace (Matthew 19-20)

To understand the parable at the beginning of Matthew 20, you really need to look at the end of chapter 19. Peter had just seen a man walk away from the Lord because that man couldn’t let go of his … Continue reading

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The standard we follow (Matthew 19)

We live in a world now where things that were once common sense are now openly questioned. More, you are condemned if you dare to question what the world now believes. For example, according to the world’s standard, the ideas … Continue reading

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Listen to him! (Matthew 17)

It wasn’t long ago that I wrote on the parallel passage from Mark concerning Jesus’ transfiguration. But the Father’s words, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!” still ring in my heart. The writer … Continue reading

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A hindrance to Christ (Matthew 16)

Jesus’ harsh words to Peter really made me think. Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns. (23) Just a few minutes earlier, he had told Peter, I … Continue reading

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A life of rest (Matthew 11)

Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your … Continue reading

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Say the word (Matthew 7-8)

“Say the word.” Those words ring in my heart. They are words that recognize the authority of Jesus. An authority that the people marveled at, and even his own disciples marveled at. (7:28-29; 8:27.) It’s an authority that instantly brought … Continue reading

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Where our eyes are focused (Matthew 6)

Here in Japan, we often talk about how 99% of the population don’t know Jesus. And in that environment, Jesus’ instructions on how we should pray becomes all the more urgent. Your kingdom come. (10) But as I looked at … Continue reading

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Living by the Word of God (Matthew 4)

Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (4) Jesus’ words strike me on two levels. We live in a world where the world is trying to impress its values … Continue reading

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Living as Jesus did (Matthew 3)

I can’t help but notice in this passage that Jesus sets us an example for how we should live as Christians. In getting baptized, though he had no sin to repent of, Jesus showed that he was submitting himself to … Continue reading

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The one who saves his people (Matthew 1)

I heard news today of a well-known former pastor who has now renounced his faith and is now going down a different path. And the question that is often asked at this kind of time is, “What happened? How could … Continue reading

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Handpicked (Acts 22)

I find Ananias’ words to Paul very interesting. The God of our ancestors has appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the words from his mouth, since you will be a witness for … Continue reading

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Angry at evil? (Acts 17)

This past week, in Japan (where I live), a terrible incident happened in which 34 were people were killed due to an arsonist who set fire to an anime studio called Kyoto Animation. A friend of mine, who is an … Continue reading

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How people respond to the gospel (Acts 17)

The response of the Atheniens to Paul’s message on Mars Hill is interesting to me. Paul gave a marvelous presentation on who God is and was starting to give the message of the gospel when he was forced to stop. … Continue reading

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The hand of the Lord (Acts 12)

Yesterday, we saw the hand of the Lord reaching out to lead and empower his people. Today, we see it in three other ways. We see his hand reaching out to save, rescuing Peter from prison. We see his hand … Continue reading

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The hand of the Lord (Acts 11)

Verse 21 really struck me today. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. It’s really easy to look at this chapter and see how the hand of the Lord was with … Continue reading

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Taking God lightly (Acts 5:1-11)

This passage is not a comfortable one. But I don’t think we should be avoiding uncomfortable passages. God put them there for a reason. Here you have God striking down Ananias and Sapphira for their sin. Why? Not only did … Continue reading

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In order for our souls to be refreshed (Acts 3)

Last Sunday, I gave a message at church, and I talked about the phrase from Psalm 23:3: “He renews my life.” “Renews” is a word that can translated many ways: “restore” (ESV), “refresh” (NIV), but most often is translated “bring … Continue reading

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United in prayer (Acts 1)

Recently, I’ve been thinking of the importance of God’s people praying together. And so verse 14 really struck me today. They all (the Christians) were continually united in prayer. How often are we, God’s people, united in prayer? How often … Continue reading

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Our hope (Luke 21)

In this passage, Jesus predicts a dark time in Jerusalem’s history when the city would fall to the Romans, many Jews would be killed, and many Christians would be persecuted. Jesus’ words would be fulfilled in 70 A.D. But he … Continue reading

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A small thing (Luke 16)

I saw a couple of new things today as I read this passage, but I’ll focus on one today. Jesus said, Whoever is faithful in very little, is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is … Continue reading

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Losing our flavor (Luke 14-15)

In the last part of Luke 14, Jesus said, Now, salt is good, but if salt should lose its taste, how will it be made salty? It isn’t fit for the soil or for the manure pile; they throw it … Continue reading

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My prayer (Luke 11:1-4)

Father. When others see me today, let them see you. Don’t let your name be blasphemed because of me and my actions. May your name be honored as holy in my life today. Father, give me your perspective. Don’t let … Continue reading

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The most important thing (Luke 10:38-42)

I have read the story of Mary and Martha many a time, and it never fails to make me stop and think. Think about what Luke says. “Martha welcomed him into her home.” (38) And yet when he entered, she … Continue reading

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How a true “5” thinks (Luke 7)

Recently at my church, we’ve been talking about how God sees us as “5”s. (In Japan, a perfect grade in a report card is a “5,” similar to an “A” in western culture.) In other words, God looks at your … Continue reading

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Though we were unclean (Luke 5)

Throughout this passage, we see Jesus cleansing those who were “unclean.” He of course cleansed the leper of his disease, but more importantly he also cleansed Peter, the paralytic, and Matthew of their sins. But it’s Peter that I want … Continue reading

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If you want to live the Christian life (Luke 4)

Living the Christian life is not always easy. If fact, most times it is not. We face all sorts of trials, temptations, and hard choices every day. People sometimes reject us because we are Christians. And sometimes, they place all … Continue reading

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Our foundation (Luke 3)

I’ve talked about Jesus’ baptism before in a previous blog, talking about how when the Father looked upon Jesus, he said,”You are my Son. I love you. I am well pleased with you.” And one of my points was that … Continue reading

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A God who does not doubt our love (John 21)

This is a very famous passage in which three times Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Why did Jesus ask this? Because he doubted Peter’s love? That would have been a reasonable response by Jesus. After all, Peter had … Continue reading

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Behold the Man! Behold your King! (John 19)

Pilate’s words strike me. “Behold the man!” (5) What did the Jews see that day? They saw God incarnate, bloodied, beaten, a crown of thorns on his head, and in a purple robe. Amazing love! How can it be, That … Continue reading

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Truth (John 17-18)

Back in John 10:26-27, Jesus said to the Jews, But you don’t believe because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. We see Jesus saying something similar to Pilate … Continue reading

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Changing yourself? (John 15)

When Christians struggle with sin in their lives, one thought often pops up in their minds. “I have to do better.” It is of course good to want to be victorious over sin. But that way of thinking can also … Continue reading

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Believing in yourself? Believing in Jesus? (John 13-14)

“You can do it! Believe in yourself!” How often do we say that to people? Peter certainly believed in himself. He said, “Even if I have to die, I will follow you. Even if everyone else runs away, I won’t.” … Continue reading

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Knowing who we are and where we’re going (John 13)

In this passage, we see Jesus doing the lowly job of washing his disciples’ feet. That included Peter, who Jesus knew would deny him. That included Judas, who Jesus knew would betray him. And that included the other ten disciples, … Continue reading

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To be where Jesus is (John 12)

There are a lot of things I could talk about from this passage, but verse 26 struck me, probably because I talked about it this past Sunday. Jesus said, If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, … Continue reading

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Ramping up our faith (John 11)

Martha’s faith was pretty remarkable when you think about it. Even though Jesus had delayed in coming when her brother was sick, and as a result her brother died, her faith in Jesus never wavered. So many people in her … Continue reading

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What are you seeking? (John 7)

I don’t mean for this to be a series or anything, but I keep seeing this question throughout John. (Maybe because I’m preaching on this question on Sunday). In verses 37-38, Jesus cries out, If anyone is thirsty, let him … Continue reading

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What are you seeking (John 6)

I asked the question last week, “What are you seeking?” We see this theme again in today’s passage. At the start of this passage, many people were seeking for Jesus. Why? For healing. (2) Then in verse 24, they went … Continue reading

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The water we’re drinking (John 4)

Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman strike me here. If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. (10) … Continue reading

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Only by the Spirit (John 3)

I live in a country, Japan, where less than one percent of the population is Christian. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. And it can be easy to despair. To wonder if things can ever change. … Continue reading

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What are you seeking? (John 1)

“What are you seeking?” That was the question Jesus asked two men who had just left John the Baptist, and were following Jesus from a distance. At this point, these two men knew almost nothing about Jesus. All they knew … Continue reading

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Valuing Jesus. Valued by Jesus. (Mark 14)

As I read this chapter, I marvel at Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha. (See John 12:1-8.) She valued Jesus so much, she was willing to sacrifice some very costly perfume in order to honor Jesus. It makes me think: … Continue reading

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Be on your guard (Mark 13)

It’s hard to miss the repetition Jesus uses here when he talks about the last days. Three times, he says, “Be on your guard!” All three times, it’s different things we are to be on our guard about. The first … Continue reading

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A+? F? (Mark 12:13-17)

I wrote something very similar to this some time ago, and it probably gives a better explanation of  this passage’s context and what it is about. But today, I wanted to focus on something a bit different. Last Sunday, a … Continue reading

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Listen to him! (Mark 9)

I don’t find it much a coincidence that shortly after Peter had been arguing with Jesus over his mission, the Father said what he did. On that high mountain, for the first time, Peter, James, and John, caught a glimpse … Continue reading

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Who Jesus really is (Mark 8)

Who is Jesus, really? The disciples should have known. But somehow, they didn’t. It should have been clear to them after Jesus fed the 5000. But after Jesus calmed the storm, it’s clear that they still didn’t really know. (Mark … Continue reading

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The teaching we hold to (Mark7)

Jesus’ words strike me in this passage. Quoting from Isaiah, he says, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands. (6-7) And then he … Continue reading

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Making our Lord marvel (Mark 6)

Two verses strike me from this chapter. So they were offended at [Jesus]. (3) And, …he was amazed at their unbelief.” (6) To this day, people are offended at Jesus. At least when he makes claims of authority over our … Continue reading

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Jesus’ authority (Mark 1-3)

As I’ve been reading Mark this week, one word has come to mind: Authority. Namely, Jesus’ authority. You see it first in his message. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15) You … Continue reading

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Walking in the truth (3 John)

It’s hard to escape the word “truth” in this letter. John uses it six times in this very short letter. What is he talking about when he says, “the truth”? Most likely, he’s talking about the truth of the gospel. … Continue reading

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Who we sound like (I John 4)

I wish I could give a whole message on John 4, because there’s a lot of good stuff here. But let me focus on one thing. John says, They (the false prophets) are from the world. Therefore what they say … Continue reading

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God’s love? Love for God? (1 John 2)

After a flood of insights last week, it’s been a quiet one for me this week. Not that I haven’t learned anything, but nothing stood out to me that I haven’t already written about. But today, verse 5 stood out … Continue reading

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Humility (I Peter 5)

All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. (5) Here Peter addresses specifically the relationship between leaders in the church and their sheep. Leaders are to clothe themselves with humility to the people they are shepherding. Why? Because … Continue reading

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Saved with difficulty (I Peter 4)

Peter’s words in verses 17 and 18 really struck me, but particularly verse 18, where he says, And if the righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and sinner? The ESV puts it, “…the righteous … Continue reading

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Called to bless (I Peter 3)

There are many good things in this passage, but verse 9, struck me today. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a … Continue reading

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What are we drinking? (2 Peter 1-2)

“You are what you eat.” Or so the saying goes. In this case, Peter might change that to, “You are what you drink.” I talked in my last blog about living by the gospel. But what kind of things do … Continue reading

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Living by the gospel (2 Timothy 3)

One thing that Paul wanted Timothy to remind the Christians is to live by the gospel. What does that mean? It means that we daily remember the goodness and loving kindness of God toward us. That when we were lost … Continue reading

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Being faithful in what God has called us to do (Acts 6:1-7)

I have been continuing for the past couple of years to translate my original blog posts into Japanese, and am now in Acts. As I translated what I originally wrote, another aspect of this passage struck me. Obviously, the apostles … Continue reading

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Remember Jesus (2 Timothy 3)

I really love this passage, but two things really stand out to me. …be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (1) Paul doesn’t say, “Man up. It’s all up to you! So do it!” He says, “Be … Continue reading

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Standing in awe of God (I Timothy 6)

You’ll have to forgive me if I seem to be beating the same drum at times. But this is one drum that I’ve been trying to keep in mind, because if I don’t, I’m likely to forget it. I was … Continue reading

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Words of grace, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt. (6) I don’t know about you, but those words are hard for me to live out. “Always gracious.” When I’m annoyed, are my words still gracious? When I’m angry, are my … Continue reading

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How our awe of God affects our attitudes (Philippians 4)

I did want to write one last thing (for now about our awe of God). It should affect our attitudes. It strikes me that with Euodia and Syntyche that was one thing they were lacking in their spat with one … Continue reading

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Rejoicing in the Lord (Philippians 3)

Recently, I preached a message on standing in awe of God. And so as I have been reading through Philippians, I see that theme everywhere. It struck me as I read chapters 3 and 4, that in rejoicing in the … Continue reading

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The grace of ministry (Philippians 1:7)

When I was reading Philippians 1 this week, it struck me that Paul saw ministry as a grace he received. He said, “you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation … Continue reading

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Working out your own salvation (Philippians 2)

I was reading John 21 yesterday, and as I read this passage, I was reminded of it. Paul told the Philippians, Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even … Continue reading

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Partakers of grace (Philippians 1:7)

I’ve been meditating this morning on Philippians 1, but especially on verse 7.  It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of … Continue reading

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Spiritual amnesia (Ephesians 1)

It is so easy to forget as Christians. We forget how much God has blessed us. We forget how he chose us before the foundation of the world. We forget the riches of his grace that he has lavished on … Continue reading

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Take pleasure? (2 Corinthians 11-12)

2 Corinthians 12:9 is probably one of the most famous in the Bible. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” I wonder, though, how often we notice Paul’ application … Continue reading

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Who we are pointing to (2 Corinthians 10)

It’s so easy to compare ourselves with others. I do it all the time. We say things like: “I read my Bible every day.” “I pray.” “I fast.” “I tithe.” “I sacrifice for the church.” And then we look at … Continue reading

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For you know… (2 Corinthians 8:9)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. Take some time to meditate on those words. Memorize … Continue reading

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My God. My Father. (2 Corinthians 6-7)

It’s been a fun week: I caught the flu on Saturday and only yesterday have started to get back into normal life. Anyway, whenever you look at this kind of passage, particularly 6:16-7:1, it’s easy to focus on the commands: … Continue reading

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A word to think on (2 Corinthians 1:12)

This verse struck me as I read this, and it’s one I’m trying to memorize. Let’s try to do this without looking. For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we have behaved in the world with … Continue reading

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Approved. Chosen. (Romans 16)

In Paul’s greetings, two things stood out to me today. He says of a man named Apelles: “he is ‘approved in Christ.’” And of a man named Rufus: “he is ‘chosen in the Lord.’” The truth is, both things can … Continue reading

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In honor of the Lord (Romans 14)

As I read this passage, today it was verses 5-9 that strike me. In telling the Romans not to quarrel about things that are not a matter of God’s word, but a matter of conscience, Paul says, One person judges … Continue reading

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Peace (Romans 13)

As we face the new year, Paul’s words strike me. Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. … Continue reading

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True worship (Romans 12)

What is worship? I used to think it was just singing songs. But to Paul, it was so much more. He says, Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies … Continue reading

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The grace on which we stand (Romans 11)

Happy New Year all! I realize I haven’t been blogging much the past couple of weeks because of the winter holidays, but God willing, I should be starting to get back into the swing of things again. It is so … Continue reading

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Under grace (Romans 6)

I was just thinking of Paul’s words in Romans 6:14 and what they mean. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. That is not the most easy sentence to understand. … Continue reading

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When Jesus comes again (Revelation 11)

This time of year, Handel’s Messiah is very popular, and of course one of the most famous songs is the Hallelujah Chorus. One of the lines comes directly from this chapter in verse 15. The kingdom of this world has … Continue reading

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To become like him (I Corinthians 15)

There are lots of good stuff in this chapter. I particularly like verses 9-10. But this being the Christmas season, it is verses 48-49 that strike me. In those verses Paul compares the first man Adam with the second man … Continue reading

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Just a choice? (1 Corinthians 13)

One thing I have often heard (and taught for that matter), is that love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. After all, how can you command a feeling? And yet God commands us to love. As I think on … Continue reading

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Having heaven’s perspective (Revelation 4)

One thing that will happen when we finally see God face to face is that we’ll have heaven’s perspective on who he is. How do they see him? Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and … Continue reading

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Truth, but not love. Love, but not truth. (Revelation 2)

Considering the theme of the last blog I wrote, the need for us to walk in truth and love, I find this chapter very apropos. For in it, we see the problem of having truth but not love, and of … Continue reading

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Two indispensable things (2 John 2)

As  I read this passage, I find two indispensable things that must be part of a true Christian’s life: truth, and love. John says, Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, … Continue reading

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The one who keeps us (I John 5:18-20)

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the … Continue reading

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No cause for stumbling (1 John 2)

The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother or sister remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling … Continue reading

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Faithful…and just? (I John 1:9)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I have read this verse hundreds of times, and taught on it multiple times, but something struck me … Continue reading

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By his righteousness, by his power, by his promises (2 Peter 1)

The more I read this chapter, the more Peter’s words strike me. He says in verse 2, May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. How many of us know … Continue reading

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The love of God and the endurance of Christ (II Thessalonians 3)

I wrote something similar to this post last month, but as I was writing this for my church today, and there are a few additional points, I thought I’d put it here too. All of us face trials at one … Continue reading

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Regarding Christ as Holy (I Peter 3:15)

I was just meditating on these words today from Peter.  …but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy. (I Peter 3:15) The context here is of not fearing persecution for following Christ. Peter says, “Don’t fear what other … Continue reading

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Let us sing praise (James 5:13)

As today is Thanksgiving in the States (as I write this, anyway), James words struck me as I read them. Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. I think most people are … Continue reading

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The hope of holiness (I Thessalonians 3-4)

I wrote on this passage not too long ago, but my church’s reading plan brought me back to this, and as I read it this time around, something else struck me about Paul’s words to us about holiness. I think … Continue reading

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Living by the law that brings liberty (James 2)

As I was reading this passage, something connected for me that I had never seen before. I can’t say for certain that it was what James had in mind when he wrote this, but considering his Jewish background, it wouldn’t … Continue reading

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Faith, hope, love (I Thessalonians 1)

No, the scripture reference is not a mistake. It is indeed I Thessalonians 1, not I Corinthians 13. The truth is, faith, hope, and love are three things that Paul often links in his letters. I Corinthians 13 just happens … Continue reading

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The reason for our hope (Hebrews 9-10)

We saw in my last post that in Jesus we find rest because Jesus himself finished the work of salvation for us. And in these chapters (and for that matter, in the previous chapters as well), the author of Hebrews … Continue reading

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Striving…to rest (Hebrews 3-5)

I’ve been reading these chapters over and over, and as I do, I wonder, how much do we rest in Jesus? The writer of Hebrews says, Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered … Continue reading

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Ignoring the word of Jesus (Hebrews 1-4)

In my last post, we saw how Paul told Timothy, “Remember Jesus Christ.” Here we see similar words by the author of Hebrews: “Consider Jesus.” (3:1) I have probably read Hebrews dozens of times, but as I’ve been reading it … Continue reading

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Remember Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2)

“Remember Jesus Christ!” Paul cries out in verse 8. How well we would do to remember Jesus Christ in our daily lives. Put another way, remember Jesus the Messiah, our Savior, descendant of David, who was crucified for our sins … Continue reading

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Living with a clean conscience (Acts 23)

Paul’s words are very striking in verse 1. My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day. How many of us can say the same thing? That our consciences are clear before God? … Continue reading

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What we have in Jesus (2 Timothy 1)

Paul wrote this letter not long before he was put to death by Nero. It’s that fact that makes his first words to Timothy more than a little meaningful. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the … Continue reading

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Setting our eyes on God (I Timothy 6)

Paul says in verse 17, to not set our hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God. And as I read that, I thought about what Paul had just said in the previous verses about this God we are … Continue reading

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How Paul thought (Acts 20)

Paul’s words to the Ephesians always make a big impression on me. But here are a few things you might want to do after reading this passage: Read  Ezekiel 33:1-10 and then reread Acts 20:20-27. How did Ezekiel’s words influence Paul’s … Continue reading

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Prayers that every believer needs (2 Thessalonians 1-2)

As I was reading 2 Thessalonians today, Paul’s prayers really touched me. The things that he prayed for the Thessalonians is what I need prayer for. They’re what every Christian needs prayer for. He said, We always pray for you … Continue reading

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Children of light (I Thessalonians 5)

One small note. Yesterday, I said I was talking about chapters 2-3; actually, it was 3-4. (And thus we can see that there are benefits to having chapter and verse divisions after all. It keeps us on the same page. … Continue reading

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Holiness (I Thessalonians 3-4)

If there is one theme at the end of chapter 3 and the start of chapter 4 (which is why it was probably a bad idea to break this section up with the chapter division), it’s holiness. Time and again, … Continue reading

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A prayer of worship (Colossians 1-2)

I must admit, I don’t worship nearly enough as I should when I read the Bible. But this time, I couldn’t help myself. Lord, as I look at this passage, I can’t help but worship you. Jesus, you are the … Continue reading

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Living by grace (Philippians 4:9)

Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Those are pretty remarkable words, don’t you think? “Do you want the God of peace to … Continue reading

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Rejoicing in Jesus (Philippians 3)

“So on a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your walk with God this week?”  I used to hear this question a lot when I was in high school in the discipleship group I was in. A … Continue reading

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The affection of Christ (Philippians 1:8)

For some reason, this verse struck me as I read it. For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:8) Oftentimes, we talk about the “love of Christ” for … Continue reading

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What mark Christ’s people. What marks Christ’s church. (Ephesians 4)

Twitter, Facebook, Line, and other social networks can be a wonderful thing. But one thing I have noticed recently is a certain lack of Christ-like character in the things Christians sometimes post, particularly to one another. In Ephesians 2-3, Paul … Continue reading

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A God-centered salvation (Ephesians 1-2)

One thing I have been doing the last couple of days as I have read Ephesians 1-2 is noting all the “hims” and “his”s that are there, and really thinking through, “Who is this talking about, the Father, the Son, … Continue reading

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Losing our blessedness (Galatians 3-4)

What then has become of your blessedness? (3:15, ESV) That’s a good question. Many Christians today have lost their blessedness. Why? They’ve forgotten who they are. And they’ve forgotten how they came to be what they are. What do I … Continue reading

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