What Makes Heaven Rejoice? Part 2 (Luke 15:1-10)

Luke 15 contains three parables about lost items. In each story, extreme measures are taken to seek the lost; when each is found, there is great rejoicing. These stories are pictures of how God seeks us and the joy heaven experiences when we are found. In Part 1, we examined the first parable Jesus told […]

What Makes Heaven Rejoice? Part 1 (Luke 15:1-10)

Luke 15 may be one of the greatest chapters in the entire Bible. It contains three parables about things that were lost and then found. These stories are pictures of how God seeks us and the joy heaven experiences when we are found. Let’s begin reading in verse 1: Now the tax collectors and “sinners” […]

Turning Trials into Triumphs: Part 1 (James 1:2–3)

Perhaps you have seen the bumper sticker that reads: “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!” It is easier to smile at that statement than to practice it, but the basic philosophy is sound. In fact, it is biblical. Throughout the Bible are people who turned defeat into victory and trial into triumph. Instead […]

Learning How to Count: Part 1 (Philippians 3:1-11)

Circumstances and people can rob us of joy, but so can things; and it is this “thief” that Paul deals with in Philippians 3. It is easy for us to get wrapped up in “things,” not only the tangible things we can see, but also the intangibles; such as, reputation, fame, and achievement. Jesus warns […]

The Ins and Outs of Christian Living (Philippians 2:12–18)

“Few things are harder to put up with,” wrote Mark Twain, “than the annoyance of a good example.” Perhaps the thing most annoying about a good example is its inability to accomplish the same achievements in our own lives. Admiration for a great person can inspire us, but it cannot enable us. Unless the person […]

The Great Example: Part 2 (Philippians 2:1–11)

Jesus illustrates the four characteristics of the person with the submissive mind. In Part 1, we saw the first two traits. Now, we will look at the last two virtues of the person with the submissive mind. He Sacrifices (2:8) Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the […]

The Great Example: Part 1 (Philippians 2:1–11)

People can rob us of our joy. Paul was facing his problems with people at Rome (Phil. 1:15–18) as well as with people in Philippi, and it was the latter who concerned him the most. When Epaphroditus brought a generous gift from the church in Philippi and good news of the church’s concern for Paul, […]

The Advance of the Gospel: Part 2 (Philippians 1:12–26)

God sometimes uses strange tools to help us pioneer the Gospel. In Paul’s case, there were three tools that helped him take the Gospel to the elite guards, Caesar’s special troops. In Part 1, we looked at the first tool: Paul’s chains. Now, we will consider the next two tools. Paul’s Critics (1:15–19) It is […]

The Advance of the Gospel: Part 1 (Philippians 1:12–26)

Paul wanted to go to Rome as a preacher, but instead he went as a prisoner! He could have written a long letter about that experience alone. Instead, he sums it all up as “the things which happened to me” (1:12). The record of these things is given in Acts 21:17–28:31 and it begins with […]

True Christian Fellowship: Part 1 (Philippians 1:1–11)

“How about coming over to the house for some fellowship?” “What a golf game! Man, did we have great fellowship!” “The fellowship at the retreat was just terrific!” That word “fellowship” seems to mean many things to many different people. Like a worn coin, it’s losing its true impression, so we had better take some […]

Love, Honor, and Obey (1 John 4:17–5:5)

The prospective bridegroom was extremely nervous as he and his fiancée were discussing their wedding plans with their pastor.  “I’d like to see a copy of the wedding vows,” the young man said and the pastor handed him the service.  He read it carefully, handed it back, and said, “That won’t do!  There’s nothing written […]

Sharing Life that is Real (1 John)

Once we have experienced the exciting life in Christ that is real, we will want to share it with other people, just as the Apostle John wanted to “declare” it to all his readers in the first century.  Many people (including some Christians) have the idea that “witnessing” means wrangling over the differences in religious […]

Secret of Contentment

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do […]