Faith is Working With God through Difficult Circumstances

Esther 4.16 comments, If I must die, I must die.image

One of the heroes of the Bible is the young woman Esther. An oft quoted statement from the book in her memory is ‘perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this.’

The story of Esther is one of tragedy and triumph, of faith and courage, of God’s faithful work behind the scenes when people risk all for His purposes.

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What Christianity Looks Like

Acts 26.20 records Paul’s message to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do.image

One of the knocks on Christianity is how easy it is to be ‘successful’ in the religion, if success is defined as going to heaven. All of the other religions require great effort and sacrifice if the adherent is going to earn their eternal reward but Christianity promotes itself as a free gift only to be received in order to become an eternal member.

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Receiving What We Want in Prayer

Matthew 21.22 promises, you can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. image

This verse makes many Christians nervous because on the surface it appears God is promising us anything we ask for in prayer. This is what we want His words to mean for there are many things we wish we had but don’t have but if having them was only a matter of asking for them then that would be awesome.

Our experience however tells us this is not what He meant for we have all asked God for things in prayer and did not receive them. So what does this verse mean?

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Who Desires to be Great?

Matthew 20.23 says, I have no right to say who will sit on My right or My left. My Father has preparedimage those places for the ones He has chosen.

Men want to be great, and recognized as such, for as long as possible. Imagine being the number two or three person in an eternal kingdom.

Forever recognition of personal greatness. Its sort of what we have in a hall of fame except we can enjoy the recognition without ever dying!

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What it Means to Become Little Children

Matthew 18.3 demands unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will neverimage get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Many people are familiar with this requirement God gives for getting into heaven. The difficulty is understanding what it means.

Some extrapolate that it means we must be pure like little children.

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How Hard is it to Get to Heaven?

Acts 13.39 observes everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God—something the law of imagesMoses could never do.

The One True God has made entrance into His eternal dwelling place quite easy really: repent, believe and receive. Every other religion including atheism and agnosticism, are trying to accumulate enough good works so that God is forced to accept them.

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All In for God

Nehemiah 1.11 is the prayer; O Lord, please grant me success today by making the king favorable toimage me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me. In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.

Things were bad in Nehemiah’s day, real bad. The nation of Israel, the people of God, were no longer living free under their own rule but were disbursed and distributed to the nations around them to live as slaves and servants of their captors. But some still had hope in God.

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Why is God’s Way to Heaven so Narrow?

Mathew 7.13 instructs us that you can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The images
highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

People have a hard time with the idea that God has only one means to heaven. If we really think about it though, it makes the most sense that this is how it would have to be.

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God has Always Preferred Certain Worship

Genesis 4.4 describes Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock.
The LORD accepted Abel and his gift.

The first religious service recorded was of the first two brothers born on earth bringing their offerings to God. God rejected the offerings of the first brother but accepted the offerings of the second brother. This account is immensely instructive on the nature and ways of God considering it occurs on page 5 of His story without any indication that He had previously prescribed certain requirements for worship of Him.

The clear message from this story is that there is a right way to worship God and a wrong way.

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Goals for 2016

2 Corinthians 13:5 commands test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you –unless indeed you fail the test?image

A new year, a new beginning, a new opportunity for being more and doing more than we have ever done before. What should be our focus as we begin the new year? We instinctively know the answer to this question: God, family and work but not necessarily in this order. Yet this is indeed the order that matters most spiritually, emotionally and eternally.

Before we take a step forward we must assess where we are by looking backward.

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