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Last Sunday Morning Print E-mail

WE ARE BLESSED IN CHRIST, pt. 2
Ephesians 1:11-14


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The promise of a future inheritance brings great hope for our present lives. The Bible’s teaching about Heaven is meant to give us great encouragement for the struggles we are daily facing. Paul ends his teaching on the resurrection with these words: Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your work is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). Peter concludes his discussion of the coming day of the Lord with these words: Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness (2 Peter 3:11). And John’s book on the return of Christ was written as an encouragement to churches who were suffering persecution for the faith (see Revelation 2-3). All of these authors wrote about our future inheritance through faith in Jesus to give us hope for our present lives.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 October 2017 )
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Ephesians 1:1-10: We Are Blessed in Christ, Part 1 Print E-mail

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As followers of Jesus Christ, we must walk worthy of the gospel. Our belief impacts our behavior and our identity defines our practice. We see such an expectation in character clauses of contracts. A corporation expects an employee to behave in a way that complies with their standards. A university expects its coaches to do the same. These men and women are representatives of their particular institutions and as such, they are under contract to live a certain way. I experienced this gowing up. In my family, I was expected to act like a Marshall (which my father often explained in mostly unpleasant situations). In my school, I was expected to act appropriately as a basketball player (of course our school mascot made that ironic since we were the Rebels). At church, the youth were expected to not get too crazy on trips because it looked bad since we were normally riding around in a bus with “First Baptist Dover” plastered on the side. There was a clear connection between who I was (son, student, member) and how I was supposed to live.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 October 2017 )
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2 Samuel 22-24: Blessings for the King Print E-mail

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It is good for us at times to stop and thank the Lord for all of the blessings that we have as followers of Jesus. Occasionally counting our many blessings is a good idea! I heard a good example of this from Jeanette Smith at her mother’s funeral. She told the story that every week when her mom got home from shopping for groceries she would bring in the bags and empty them all on their kitchen table. Then she would spend just a few moments in prayer thanking the Lord for His provision for her family. Everything that she had purchased to feed her family for the week was a gift from the Lord and she wanted to take the time to be thankful.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 October 2017 )
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2 Samuel 20-21: Some Final Words on the King's Enemies Print E-mail

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I normally judge a book or a show by whether or not all the different story lines are wrapped up in the end. I am not a fan of the hanging plot, unless it means that sequels are coming! I want the characters and the situations to be wrapped up by the end of the story, even if I don’t particularly like the way they wrap up. To leave things open or to not answer certain questions (see TV show “Lost”) is usually an indication of poor writing.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 October 2017 )
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2 Samuel 17-19: The Lord's choice for King Print E-mail

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The past few weeks have been particularly difficult for many people in our country. The events in Charlottesville were disturbing, reminding us that people continue to hate people for the color of their skin. Watching men and women line the streets to proclaim their hatred for non-whites was ugly and difficult to comprehend. Then a hurricane hit Texas this week and wreaked havoc on an entire state. The city of Houston was flooded, people died trying to escape, and thousands upon thousands continue to be stranded from their homes and lives. And the effort to recover is only just beginning. Yet, in light of all of this (and so much more that is going on throughout our world), Christian continue to believe in an important truth: God is on His throne. Some will mock us for such a belief when confronted with such tragedy and loss. And I understand that struggle. But I still hold to the biblical truth of God’s sovereign rule over all for at least a couple of reasons. First, I believe the bible is true and it teaches us of God’s forever reign, even in dark times. Second, I continue to see evidence of His providence. Men and women have stood up against racism and called it what it is: sin against the Creator. Thousands of volunteers have poured into the areas impacted by Harvey to serve those in need. I am thankful that God’s people are involved in both of these battles and I see it as evidence of His continued providential reign.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 October 2017 )
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2 Samuel 13-16: Dark Days for the King Print E-mail

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The fulfillment of prophecy can be mysterious and unexpected at times. Things do not always happen in the way that we might expect. Tolkien captures this idea well in his Lord of the Rings series. Among the enemies in the books were creatures called Ringwraiths, who were constantly hunting the all-important ring that the lead character possessed. A prophecy had been made about their king that he would not die at the hands of a man. Thus, he could go into battle without any fear because he knew no man could kill him. But in the last book, in one of the final battles, the King of the Ringwraiths is confronted by a soldier after the wicked creature had just mortally wounded a good king. When the soldier steps forward to protect the body of his king, the Ringwraith laughs and tells him that no man can harm him. Then the soldier laughs in return and says: “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.” And smite him she did (with the help of a hobbit). The evil creature took false confidence in the prophecy and walked right into his death at the hands of a female, who had pretended to be a man so that she could fight. The prophecy was fulfilled, just not in the way that we might have expected.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 October 2017 )
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