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Study the Promises

Ruth Bell Graham shares a story about when she awoke one night with a start.  Someone she dearly loved flashed into her mind and she was anxious and worried about them.  She knew there was no more sleep for her that night, and so she started praying.  Her pray time was constantly interrupted by her anxious thoughts.  She had trouble as she tried desperately to conquer her fears. But then suddenly the Lord seemed to say to her, “Quit studying the problems and start studying the promises.”  She turned on the light......

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The Cost of Freedom

When the fiftieth anniversary of our country’s birthday drew near, two great Americans closely connected with the Declaration of Independence and the establishment of our freedom – Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were asked to participate and share a few words at celebrations taking place in New England and Virginia.  John Adam’s agreed only to a short toast in his home town of Quincy Massachusetts, which was “I will give you independence forever.” On July 4, 1826, Adam’s health was failing, and Jefferson was bedridden at his home in Monticello.  While on......

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Reason to Obey

During my childhood I had a good reason to obey my parents and teachers – fear of punishment.  While that can be a deterrent to choosing evil in order to avoid disastrous consequences, it is purely a self-focused motivation to obey – so that I might avoid unpleasant consequences. Unfortunately, this same fear-based motivation has plagued me over the years as a Christian in my motivation to obey God.  I want to avoid pain and His displeasure.   This again is a reason based on how it profits me.  And, while it can......

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The Gospel Sets Us Free

In Galatians Paul describes the effect of the Gospel in terms of our freedom.  “For freedom Christ has set you free.”  But what are we free from? Here are a few freedoms the Gospel makes possible for those who believe in Jesus: I am free from failure for “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) I am free from want for “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19) I am free from fear for “God did not give......

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Foundations

Living near the city of Chicago you have probably had a chance to watch a skyscraper or two under construction.  For the first six months or so of the project, all the workmen do is make a big hole in the ground.  To build a tall building by starting below the surface level seems crazy.  But, as you would suspect, there is a good reason for the large hole.  To build a mammoth building that is going to be stable in the strong Chicago winds, it is first necessary to dig down......

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Teaching Moments

Parenting is filled with many impromptu teaching moments that will impact our children for the rest of their lives, if we take advantage of them. A father had just finished disciplining his four-year-old daughter for misbehaving, and, after her time-out he heard a gentle knock on his study door, and said “Come in.” His daughter came in and matter-of-factly said, “Daddy, sometimes I am good, and sometimes I am bad.  And that’s just the way it is.”  Then she left the room, acting as though she had completely explained her misbehavior for......

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