Category Archives: Pauline epistles

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Remembering grace (Galatians 6)

In the first part of this chapter, Paul tells us that when others are caught in sin, we are to restore them with gentleness. So many times, however, this is simply not done. Instead, often times, Christians do this with … 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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Out of step with the gospel (Galatians 2)

Verse 14 really strikes me. …I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel… (14, ESV) Obviously, in this context, Peter’s conduct was out of step with the gospel in that by his actions, … Continue reading

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A grace and love that is not weak (2 Corinthians 12-13)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (13:13) Those are extremely famous words. But I wonder how often they are misunderstood. Some people think … Continue reading

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Characterized by surpassing grace (2 Corinthians 9:14)

There are more than a few famous verses in this passage related to giving. But today, it was one less often quoted verse that struck me today. In talking about how people would respond to the generosity of the Corinthians, … Continue reading

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Because we are loved (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)

Something struck me as I read this passage for perhaps the thousandth time. A single word: beloved. Paul says in chapter 7, verse 1, Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and … Continue reading

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Philemon — If our faith is genuine

In II Corinthians 5:16-17, Paul wrote, So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he … Continue reading

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Titus 3 — No room for license, no room for pride

We covered the first part of Titus 3 in the last blog, but because it connects with what we’re talking about today, I might as well put it all together. Again in verse 1, he talks about how we are … Continue reading

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Titus 2:2-3:2 — A call to godliness

This is a passage that is nothing short of a call to godliness among God’s people. There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians. But as Paul said in chapter 1, They claim to know God, but … Continue reading

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Titus 1:1-2:1 — Standing for truth

This is the last of the pastoral letters, in which Paul instructs a man named Titus on what he needed to do with the churches in Crete. Apparently, there was a lot of false teaching there, similar to what Timothy … Continue reading

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II Timothy 4:16-22 — Though we may stand alone

I can’t help but think that Paul felt the same thing Jesus did during his trial. Like Jesus, Paul stood alone when he stood on trial for his life. All the people he could have reasonably expected to support him … Continue reading

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II Timothy 4:9-15 — The unfaithful, the faithful, the restored, and the condemned

As we near the end of this letter, Paul mentions several different types of people, the unfaithful, the faithful, the restored, and the condemned. Demas, unfortunately, was one of the unfaithful. He had worked with Paul previously (Colossians 4:14, Philemon … Continue reading

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II Timothy 4:1-8 — Finishing the race

I don’t know if Paul could have given a stronger charge to Timothy than he does here. Paul foresaw a time when people would no longer put up with sound doctrine. Rather, they would simply gather to themselves teachers who would say … Continue reading

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II Timothy 3:10-17- Though this world goes from bad to worse

If anyone thinks that this world will get any better, they’re not reading the same Bible I am. Until the day Christ comes back, things will get progressively worse. And that shows most starkly in the ungodliness of the people … Continue reading

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II Timothy 3:1-9 — A mere form of godliness

There are many people in this world who are religious. Who go to church, a mosque, a synagogue, a shrine, or a temple. They perform religious rituals, praying, reading their sacred scriptures, and perhaps even giving up some of their … Continue reading

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II Timothy 2 — To be a good teacher

As I look at this passage, I am challenged as to the kind of teacher I should be. What does it take to be a good teacher of the Word of God? 1. Pass on what you know. Especially pass it … Continue reading

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II Timothy 1:15-2:13 — The grace to endure

One of the reasons Paul asked Timothy to come visit him was that many people had abandoned him, and except for a precious few, he was all alone. For every Onesiphorus who went out of his way to find out … Continue reading

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II Timothy 1 — Because we have hope

Although there are two more letters from Paul to go through after this one, this was the last letter Paul ever wrote. And it’s a very poignant one, because it came at a time when Paul knew he was going … Continue reading

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I Timothy 6:5-19 — What we pursue. What we put our hope in.

I suppose I could have finished up I Timothy yesterday. But there were a lot of things that Paul talked about in that passage that I couldn’t get into yesterday, and so that’s what I want to finish with today. The … Continue reading

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I Timothy 6:3-21 — When we get away from the words of Christ

We live in a world today that wants little or nothing to do with the words of Christ. They take the parts they do like, and reject the parts they don’t. But if we claim to be followers of Christ, … Continue reading

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I Timothy 6:1-2 — That God and the gospel not be slandered

I talked last time about how pastors are held to a high standard so that God and the church might not be slandered. But as you look throughout this letter, you see that all Christians are Christ’s representatives. And as … Continue reading

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I Timothy 5:19-25 — The standard to which pastors are held

The standard to which pastors and elders are held is a very high one. Why? Because they represent Christ to their congregation and they represent the church to the world. We’ve all seen what happens when they fail in this and … Continue reading

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I Timothy 5:17-18 — Supporting and honoring our pastors

Pastors are not perfect. And because they’re up on the pedestal at church, they often become easy targets for criticism. And far too often, we neither honor nor support them the way that God commands us to. And God does command … Continue reading

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I Timothy 5:9-16 — Though we may grieve

There are few things more painful than the loss of a spouse or a loved one. And it is easy to start going into free-fall when that happens, both in our lives and in our faith. That’s apparently what was … Continue reading

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I Timothy 5:5-10 — Dead, even while you live

Paul is talking specifically here about widows, but the words he speaks is relevant to all. In talking about the kind of widow the church is to support, he says, The widow who is really in need and left all … Continue reading

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I Timothy 5:3-8 — Practicing our faith within our homes

I suppose our faith gets no more practical than within our homes. Because while we can hide our true faces from our pastors and fellow church members, we can’t hide them from our family. They see us as we really … Continue reading

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I Timothy 5:1-2 — Our attitudes towards those in the church

As a pastor, Timothy had to deal with people from a variety of ages, people older than him, people who were his peers, and people who were younger than him. And the thing that Paul reminds him here is, “You … Continue reading

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I Timothy 4 — To be a leader of God’s flock

As I look at the whole of this chapter, the words resonate with me, and it shows me just how powerful these words Paul gave to Timothy were. They were words that challenged Timothy to be the leader in the … Continue reading

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I Timothy 4:7-12 — To become truly godly

As I mentioned before, in Paul’s day, there seemed to be people in the church that preached a superficial spirituality through asceticism and through a strange teaching involving myths and genealogies. But Paul makes it clear to Timothy, “Don’t waste your … Continue reading

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I Timothy 4:1-6 — Seared consciences

We live in a world where people no longer seem to know what good or evil is. Things that are evil, they call good. Things that are good, they call evil. Why? What has happened to us? The problem is … Continue reading

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I Timothy 3:16 –The wonder of the gospel

Christmas is right around the corner, and I think it can be so easy to take for granted what it’s all about. Do we truly wonder at what it really means? Paul did. He said, Beyond all question, the mystery … Continue reading

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I Timothy 3:14-15 — Why our conduct matters

From the beginning of chapter 2 until verse 13 of chapter 3, Paul has been talking about the church. About how the men and women should conduct themselves during the service. About the types of people that should be pastors and … Continue reading

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I Timothy 3:8-13 — So you want to be a leader?

We talked yesterday about being a pastor or elder in the church. And for most Christians, they have no desire to be those things. There are more people, however, who seek to be leaders of ministries. They seek to be the person … Continue reading

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I Timothy 3:1-8 — So you want to be a pastor

This passage, admittedly, is not for many people very practical for the reason that they have no desire to become a pastor. I myself have not sensed any calling at this point from God to become a pastor. Whether that … Continue reading

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I Timothy 2:11-15 — The leadership role (part 3)

There’s one last part to this passage that has yet to be addressed and then I’ll make a few closing comments on it. Paul writes in verse 15, But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love … Continue reading

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I Timothy 2:11-15 — The leadership role (part 2)

We looked yesterday at Paul’s instructions that the women were not to teach or have authority over the men when the Christians were gathered in the church setting. I pointed out that I don’t think these were church or culture-specific … Continue reading

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I Timothy 2:11-15 — The leadership role

I suppose I should say right off, considering the controversial nature of this topic, that the views I express here are not necessarily the views of my church. These are my views that I have come to as I have … Continue reading

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I Timothy 2:9-10 — Where your beauty lies

“Beauty is only skin deep.” It’s a phrase that is often said, but how often do we truly believe that? More, how often do we act as though we believe it? For the Ephesian women, it seems as though they … Continue reading

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I Timothy 2:8 — Manning up

No, this has nothing to do with Peyton or Eli or any football player for that matter. 🙂 It has everything to do with being a man. The man that God has called all Christian men to be. In verses … Continue reading

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I Timothy 2:1-7 — Where our battle starts

In chapter 1, Paul starts by condemning those who were stirring up all kinds of controversies based on false doctrine that were taking the Ephesian church away from its main mission: to spread the gospel to those around them (1:3-6). … Continue reading

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I Timothy 1:18-20 — When we violate our consciences

Our consciences are a gift from God. God has given them to all people, even non-Christians to give them a sense of right and wrong. Without our consciences, this world would be far worse than it is now. The problem, … Continue reading

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I Timothy 1:12-17 — Wondering at the grace of God

How often do we fail to wonder at the grace of God in our lives? How different would our lives be if we truly did so. That was one of the differences between the false teachers and Paul. The false … Continue reading

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I Timothy 1:5-11 — Failing as a teacher

James once said, Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1) Many Christians like the prestige that comes from being a Bible teacher. But … Continue reading

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I Timothy 1:1-6 — Wasting our time on vain speculations

There are a lot of strange ideas that float about concerning the Bible. Some people try to cast doubt on the authorship of Paul’s epistles. There are many today that strongly doubt I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus were written … Continue reading

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II Thessalonians 3:16-18 — Finding peace

I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in Paul’s words in verse 16 and his words in I Thessalonians 5:23-24. In the latter, he writes, May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole … Continue reading

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II Thessalonians 3:6-15 — When we discipline a brother or sister

It’s never pleasant to confront a brother or sister in Christ. Anyone who thinks it is should probably be the last person to do so. Still, there are times when it is necessary. And here Paul gives us some insight … Continue reading

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II Thessalonians 3:6-13 — A hypocrite? Or an example?

Too often, Christians are called hypocrites. Too often, they are. But Paul wasn’t. Apparently, when he came to Thessalonica, he noticed from the beginning some problems with people who were lazy. It was so bad, he actually straight out laid down … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 5:16-28 — Because the Lord is coming (part 2)

As Paul concludes this letter, he gives the Thessalonians some final instructions on how to live in light of the Lord’s coming. He told them, Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 5:1-11 — Being ready for Jesus…whenever he comes for you

A lot of people wonder when Jesus will come back. The Thessalonians wondered about it back in Paul’s day. People wonder about it today. But Paul essentially reiterates what Jesus said: “We don’t know when Jesus will come back. So … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 4:13-18 — The hope that we have

“Hopes are for the living; the dead have no hope.” Those were the words of an ancient Greek poet, and it epitomizes how many people in Paul’s time saw death. For that matter, I talk to many Japanese today that … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 4:9-12 — That we may win respect

Hypocrisy. If there is a word that people like to throw at Christians, it’s hypocrisy. And too often, it’s all too fitting. Unfortunately, it was also true in the time of Paul. By the way some Christians were living, they … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 4:1-8 — To be sexually pure

We live in a world much like the times of the New Testament, a world in which sexual impurity is rampant. We see it in TV shows, movies, commercials, the internet; wherever you look, it’s there. But in buying into … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 2:14-3:13 — Ready to face opposition

Nobody likes persecution. Nobody likes being disliked. But as Christians, that’s a reality that we have to prepare ourselves for. There are some people that simply will not like us because of our faith in Christ. This is a truth … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 2:13-16 — Words of God? Words of men?

We often talk about the Bible as the Word of God. But do we treat it that way? As words that truly come from God and are to be obeyed? Or as words from men, to be followed if we … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 2:1-12 — Genuine ministers

I was reading Philippians 1 with my wife the other day, where Paul talked about how he praised God that the gospel was spreading even though it was through people who preached with impure motives. (Philippians 1:15-18) The implication being … Continue reading

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I Thessalonians 1 — A genuine faith

This is one of Paul’s earliest letters, perhaps his earliest, written during his second missionary journey. It was written to the church in Thessalonica, and many things that Paul alludes to in this letter can be found in Acts 16-17, from his … Continue reading

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Colossians 4:17-18 — Faithful

If there is one word that I think encapsulates this passage, it’s “faithful.” Tychicus, “a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” (4:17) Onesimus, a once unfaithful slave (see Philemon), but now a “faithful and dear brother.” (9) Aristarchus, … Continue reading

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Colossians 4:2-4 — Praying behind the front lines

I wonder if we understand just how important our prayers are behind the front lines. There are so many people, pastors and missionaries especially, who are out there on the front lines. And many times, we act as if they … Continue reading

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Colossians 3:17-4:1 — Living as Christ’s representatives

I love the way the NLT translates verse 17. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (3:17) Whenever we do something in the “name … Continue reading

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Colossians 3:1-17 — Living like Christ truly is our life

“Christ is my life.” As a Christian, can you say that? The truth is, he is our life whether we see that or not. Paul tells us in verse 3 that we have died and that our life is now … Continue reading

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Colossians 1:28-2:23 — The fullness we have in Christ

“Fullness.” It apparently was one of the catchwords of the false teaching that was creeping into the Colossian church. And basically, Paul threw it back in these teachers’ faces by saying, “You have know idea what true ‘fullness’ is all … Continue reading

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Colossians 1:15-29 — The only One we need

The Colossian church was facing some kind of false teaching that was slipping in among them. What exactly that teaching was is not clear. But one thing that seems to be clear is that people were teaching them that Christ … Continue reading

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Colossians 1:1-14 — A prayer for all believers

If you ever want to pray a prayer for a fellow Christian but are not sure how to do it, and you want to go beyond a simple, “bless so-and-so,” you don’t have to look any further than the prayers … Continue reading

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Philippians 4:14-23 — When we give

I mentioned in my last blog that the problem with many Christians is that they are still self-centered. That they’re always focused on their wants and needs. But that is not God’s will for us, and that’s not how the Philippians … Continue reading

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Philippians 4:10-13 — The secret of being content

It has been pointed out that we live in a microwave society. We want what we want and we want it now. And when we don’t get what we want when we want it, we grumble and complain. But is that … Continue reading

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Philippians 4:2-5 — Maintaining unity in the church (Part 2)

It’s hard to tell, sometimes, the flow of what Paul is saying. Did he mean to divide his thoughts between verses 3-4. Or did he mean to to keep verses 3-5 as a set? Or perhaps the whole line of … Continue reading

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Philippians 4:2-3 — Maintaining unity in the church

I wonder how much, as Paul was writing this letter, he was thinking about Euodia and Syntyche. These were two women who he had worked with closely in ministry, and cared about deeply. And yet there was a divide between them. … Continue reading

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Philippians 3:17-4:1 — Living as citizens of heaven

The Philippians were very proud of their status as Romans citizens. And many people today are proud of their status as citizens of their country, whether it be America, Japan, or wherever it may be. But Paul reminds us here … Continue reading

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Philippians 3:12-16 — Pressing on

Very few days go by when I don’t realize just how far I have to go to be like Christ. I think marriage does that to a man. I look at the example of the husband Christ is to the … Continue reading

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Philippians 3:1-11 — Following the example of Christ (part 2)

I wrote a few days ago about how we are to follow the example of Christ. In looking at Paul’s words here in this chapter talking of himself, it struck me that a lot of what he said could be … Continue reading

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Philippians 3:1-11 — Where our focus lies

As we live the Christian life, it’s so easy to get off-focus. Of course, some people can get off-focus in terms of focusing on their jobs, their love life, their possessions, and their money. All these things can get Christians’ minds … Continue reading

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Philippians 2:19-30 — Following the example of Christ

After sharing with the Philippians how they should follow the example of Christ, Paul talks of two men who did just that. Paul says of a man named Timothy (the same one found in I and II Timothy), I have … Continue reading

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Philippians 1:27-2:18 — Shining as the stars

Chapters and verses in the Bible are great in one sense. They certainly make it easier to find passages. But often times, they interrupt the flow of the authors’ thinking, and make us think that they are starting entirely new … Continue reading

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Philippians 1:27-2:11 — What the gospel is all about

We saw last time that Paul tells us to live a life worthy of the gospel. But what is that gospel?  He makes it crystal clear in chapter 2. The gospel is all about Christ, who, being in very nature God, did … Continue reading

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Philippians 1:27-2:4 — Living lives worthy of the gospel

When you look at today’s title, “Living lives worthy of the gospel,” what do you think it means? To be a good Christian witness? To be sharing your faith? To live holy lives? Certainly all these things are true. But … Continue reading

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Philippians 1:19-26 — That Christ may be exalted

For me, death seems kind of far away.  I still see myself as young, although I guess I’m technically classified as middle-aged. But for Paul as he wrote this letter, he really had no idea how much longer he would … Continue reading

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Philippians 1:12-18 — When we choose to rejoice

Considering all that Paul went through in his life, you would have understood if he had grumbled and complained about all that he went through for the sake of the gospel. Maybe in times of weakness he did.  But according … Continue reading

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Philippians 1:1-11 — What God is doing in us

This letter that Paul wrote to the Philippians is one that is filled with joy, despite all the trials Paul was going through.  Paul was writing this in prison, probably from Rome, and yet time and again, you see the … Continue reading

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Ephesians 6:10-24 — Standing together in prayer

As we close Ephesians, we close with the same drum we’ve been beating for the last 4 chapters:  unity. Paul has been talking about the spiritual war we are in, and after talking about the armor of God we are … Continue reading

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Ephesians 6:10-24 — The armor we fight in

I said yesterday that we do not fight our battles with human weapons, whether it’s literal ones, political ones, or weapons of mere human rhetoric. Now don’t get me wrong, there is room for the latter two.  We do need to … Continue reading

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Ephesians 6:10-24 — Standing in the face of attack…together

We are in enemy territory.  I don’t know if you know that, but we are.  Paul says, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world … Continue reading

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Ephesians 6:5-9 — How we serve

We close up this section on family living with one more picture of our relationship with God, namely Christ. We saw how our marriage relationships are a picture of our relationship with Christ, how our parent-child relationships are a picture of our … Continue reading

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Ephesians 6:1-4 — Following our Father’s example

In this chapter, we see an extension of Paul’s teaching on our relationship with God and how it shows in our relationships with each other. In chapter 5, we see that just as the church submits to Christ as her husband, … Continue reading

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Ephesians 5:25-33 — Unity in marriage (part 2)

The very interesting thing we find in this passage is that marriage is meant to be a picture of our relationship with Christ.  In what way? Paul says, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave … Continue reading

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Ephesians 5:21-33 — Unity in marriage

I have never really thought of this before, but as I’ve been going through Ephesians, it seems to me that this passage is merely an extension of what Paul has been saying throughout.  That is, in Christ, the church has … Continue reading

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Ephesians 5:15-21 — How we walk

One thing that strikes me is how often Paul uses the word “live” in this passage.  I like how the ESV (among other translations) translates it “walk.” “Walk in love.”  (5:2) “Walk as children of light.” (5:8) “Be careful then how … Continue reading

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Ephesians 5:3-14 — Taking sin lightly

If there is one problem in this world, it’s that it takes sin lightly, even to the point of joking about it.  But sin is not something to be taken lightly.  Especially by Christians. So Paul says, But among you … Continue reading

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Ephesians 4:25-5:2 — That we may be one (part 2)

Words are powerful.  They can build up.  And they can tear down. For this reason, Paul said, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their … Continue reading

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Ephesians 4:25-5:2 — That we may be one

As I’ve been looking at these passages this time around, I’ve been seeing them in a whole new light.  Up until now,  I’ve always thought of these verses as merely touching my personal life.  But as we have seen, Paul … Continue reading

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Ephesians 4:17-24 — Becoming all that we were meant to be

In the Disney film “Frozen,” there comes a point when Elsa, the queen, reveals her powers with ice and snow to the people, and because of their fear is forced to flee.  All her life, she had hidden her powers … Continue reading

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Ephesians 4:1-6 — Keeping our unity

Paul has spent the last three chapters talking about how we have all been made one in Christ.  That though Jews and non-Jews had been divided under the Old Covenant, in Christ, the dividing wall was smashed and we are … Continue reading

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Ephesians 3:14-21 — That we may be filled with his glory

In I Kings, it says about the completion of the temple Solomon had built, When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. And the priests could not perform their service because of the … Continue reading

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Ephesians 3:12 — Freedom and confidence

I wonder how often we take for granted what we have in Christ. I look at this whole passage in Ephesians 3, and it talks about this mystery that even the Old Testament prophets and priests never really understood, at … Continue reading

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Ephesians 3:1-13 — Being a steward of God’s grace

I think that for many Christians, they look at my last post that says we all are called to be stewards of God’s grace to those around us, and they say, “But I’m no Paul.  I can’t do the things … Continue reading

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Ephesians 3:1-13 — Being a steward of God’s grace

I like how the ESV renders verse 2 in this passage, …you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you. A steward of God’s grace.  That’s what we are called to be.  God … Continue reading

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Ephesians 2:11-22 — Accepted

It’s really amazing thinking about the total difference Christianity brought to the Jewish mindset concerning God and non-Jews.  To the Jews, theirs was a near exclusive relationship with God.  And if anyone wanted to have a relationship with God, they basically had to … Continue reading

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Ephesians 2:10 — God’s masterpiece

I really love this verse. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. The NLT puts it, “We are God’s masterpiece.”  We’re not simply some slop … Continue reading

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Ephesians 2:1-8 — The wonder of God’s grace

Paul had just finished praying for the Ephesians that they might see all they truly had in Christ.  Now in chapter 2, he lays it all out for them. Just as a side note, I think it’s important to remember … Continue reading

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Ephesians 1:15-23 — If we could only see

I wonder sometimes if we really see how much we are truly blessed in Christ?  My guess is no.  Oh sure, many of us know the truths of God’s grace and love in our lives.  But do we truly understand them? … Continue reading

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Ephesians 1:1-14 — Chosen and blessed in love, by God’s plan and for his glory

As I look at the first two chapters of Ephesians, I can’t help but marvel all over again at all that God has given you and me who have put our faith in Jesus. Paul starts this letter to the … Continue reading

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Galatians 6:11-18 — What really counts

Paul closes this letter by basically summarizing all that he has said in it.  And here he discounts all that doesn’t really count for anything in this world. What others think of us doesn’t matter, particularly their approval (12). Our own … Continue reading

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Galatians 6:7-10 — The seeds we sow

I would have never made a good farmer.  I remember as a kid trying to plant a seed.  I can’t remember if it was from an orange or an apple, but either way, I wanted it to grow right then … Continue reading

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Galatians 6:6 — Lifting those who lift you

Pastors have a hard job.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be one unless God specifically told me to do so. Not only do they have to prepare the Sunday message, they have to constantly deal with the people within the church. … Continue reading

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Galatians 6:3-5 — Focusing on what God has given us to do

It’s amazing, but on this day 20 years ago, I moved to Japan for the first time.  Over these past 20 years, I can honestly say I have seen God work to touch the lives of people through me.  At … Continue reading

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Galatians 5:13-6:2 — The fruit of the Spirit in our relationships

A lot of times, we think of our relationship with God merely in terms of how we relate to him.  We think, “Am I reading my Bible?  Am I praying?  Am I going to church?” But as we look at … Continue reading

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Galatians 5:16-25 — A whole new way of life

We talked yesterday about staying out of the pig sty of sin that we were set free from.  But once again, Paul reminds us that this is not a matter of keeping the law in our own strength. Rather, he … Continue reading

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Galatians 5:13-15 — Returning to the pig sty

For most of this book, Paul has been addressing those who thought they needed to turn to the law for their salvation.  And while Paul strongly disagreed with them, I think he did understand one of their huge concerns:  If we … Continue reading

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Galatians 5:7-12 — Abolishing the offense of the cross

I mentioned not too long ago that many people find Christianity narrow-minded.  They take offense at the idea that it is only through Christ’s work on the cross that we can be saved.  Paul calls this, “the offense of the … Continue reading

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Galatians 5:2-10 — Severed from Christ, fallen from grace

I don’t know about you, but I think most people looking at today’s title would think, “Wow!  What terrible thing must a person do to be severed from Christ and fall from his grace.” In fact, we often use that … Continue reading

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Galatians 4:21-5:1 — Children of promise

In this passage, Paul makes a very interesting allegory to drive home a simple point:  We are children of God based on His promise, not children of God based on our keeping his law. He talks about the story of Hagar and … Continue reading

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Galatians 4:14-20 — Zealous for what?

In this passage, we see two kinds of zealousness.  One that leads to good and one that does not. We see here that the Galatians used to be zealous for Paul.  Because of the gospel he had preached and the … Continue reading

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Galatians 4:14-16 — How to lose our joy (and blessing)

You can really see how perplexed Paul is with the Galatians in this passage (actually going all the way to verse 20). When he had first come to the Galatians, he had had some sort of physical problem, and yet, … Continue reading

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Galatians 4:8-12 — Going back to worthless religion

Many people wonder why Christianity is so “narrow-minded.”  Why can’t all religions be considered equally valid ways to God? I will admit that most if not all religions have some good in them.  Most preach avoiding evil and doing good, … Continue reading

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Galatians 3:26-4:7 — The wonder of adoption

It’s really amazing to me that God would actually adopt us into his family.  He could have accepted us as “pets.”  He could have recognized our status as people, and yet kept us at a distance as acquaintances.  He could … Continue reading

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Galatians 3:22-25 — What the law is and isn’t. What the law does and doesn’t do. (Part 3)

We saw yesterday that the law was not some alternative way God developed to bring about salvation, but rather was something that was meant to lead us to Christ.  Paul goes into further detail in the next few verses. Paul … Continue reading

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Galatians 3:15-25 — What the law is and isn’t. What the law does and doesn’t do. (Part 2)

We talked yesterday about what the law does not do, namely, it doesn’t replace the covenant God made with Abraham.  God’s covenant with Abraham was a one-way contract solely based on God’s promise, not on anything Abraham or any of … Continue reading

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Galatians 3:15-25 — What the law is and isn’t. What the law does and doesn’t do.

A lot of times, people look at the ten commandments and other laws that God gave in the Old Testament and they think, “This is what makes us righteous in God’s eyes.  If I want to have eternal life, I … Continue reading

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