The New Testament world of the first century was divided by caste, social status, and gender.
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It was a society in social turmoil. The concepts of equal rights, freedom, and human dignity were not the accepted norms.
Then Christianity burst upon the scene. It created a social revolution. Jesus’ teachings of equality, justice, concern for the poor, and respect for the marginalized appeared radical. At the same time, New Testament believers united around the core values [...]
John 17 contains Jesus’ great intercessory prayer. It reveals what was on His mind at that momentous hour of earth’s history.
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Read John 17:9-11, 20-24. What was Jesus’ heartfelt longing? Why was this so important? How did the disciples’ relationship to one another demonstrate genuine Christian faith? See Acts 4:32-33.
The “oneness,” or unity, of the disciples prepared their hearts for the reception of the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power. Christ’s prayer for His church was fulfilled. They surrendered [...]
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24, NIV
It was a dreary day. The rain had come down in a drizzle that wet everything but didn’t clean it. The country roads were slick and dangerous.
We were returning from visiting relatives one Sabbath afternoon. My stepfather was at the wheel, Mother was sitting in the middle and I was by the window holding my 18-month-old son, Tony, on my lap. It was 1966 [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: John 17:9-11, 20-24; 1 Cor. 12:12-18; Acts 4:32-33, 1:8, 15:1-31; Matt. 18:16-20.
Memory Text: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NKJV).
Unity is an essential ingredient of revival. Conflict, division, and strife do not create an environment for nurturing revival. [...]
“Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin. The work that we have to do on our part is plainly set before us: ‘Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve [...]
Alexei scanned the classified ads of his local newspaper in Siberia, Russia.
Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com
He wanted to be sure that his ad for home improvements was attractive and his prices competitive. His eyes fell on the religious section of classified ads. The ads there offered to tell people’s fortunes or read their palms. So many ads for Satan, and not one for Christ, Alexei thought. He grabbed a paper and scribbled the words, “I will tell you about [...]
One of my life-long battles has been with colas. Actually I can’t honestly say I have battled it my whole life, which may be part of the problem.
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I am not going to debate temperance vs. abstinence concerning colas, but let’s face it, they have 0% nutritional value, and if you drink too much you have the risk of cancer, diabetes and acid re-flux. So you can’t really say the nutritional value is worth all [...]
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy”(Proverbs 28:13, NKJV)
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[Thought questions for The Conditions of Revival August 9, 2013]
1. The gift of repentance. If repenting of our sins means feeling sorrow for committing them, how can repentance be a gift? What are the benefits of repentance? Without repentance, where are you and I bound? Why? What is there about sin that [...]
Confession lances the boil of guilt and allows the poisonous pus of sin to drain. Confession is healing in many ways.
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It opens our hearts to receive God’s grace. Through confession we accept the forgiveness that Christ freely offers us from the Cross. Confession is healing because it allows us to receive grace. Confession also breaks down barriers between us and other people. It heals relationships.
Read Psalm 32:1-8. What does this teach us about confession and [...]
If you have ever been around a cat, you might have noticed its whiskers. Have you ever wondered about the purpose for those whiskers? Well, believe it or not, a cat’s whiskers work kind of like the Holy Spirit. They warn the cat that it is going into a dangerous place.
No, really! Check it out –
“… the whisker’s primary use is to help a cat judge whether or not he’ll fit through an opening. A cat’s whiskers are roughly as [...]
Have you ever been caught up in some activity that you knew was not right, but you rationalized it somehow so that you didn’t feel guilty? Rationalization takes a lot of mental and spiritual energy to maintain, but most of the time, the guilt drifts back into your consciousness often enough that you might gradually start to believe that you can’t be forgiven for what you’ve done.
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I remember several times rationalizing things that I [...]
There are some very specific examples in the Bible of people who sought repentance but were not forgiven by God. They wept.
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They were sorrowful. They confessed their sin but were not forgiven.
Read the accounts of Pharaoh, Balaam, Esau, and Judas in Exodus 12:29-32, Numbers 22:32-35, Hebrews 12:17, and Matthew 27:4. What common thread do you see running through each story in regard to repentance and/or confession?
One phrase in Hebrews 12:17, NKJV , sums it up well. Speaking of Esau, the passage says [...]