What do you think about the idea of an eternally powerful divine being who created this universe? The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Some don’t believe there is a God. They have never seen Him, so how can they know there is a God? Paul helps us with this: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:20-21). What he is saying is that the only reasonable, logical explanation for this world is God. If not God, where did the world come from?
New resolutions. Talk to God about them. Let Him direct you in them. Keep Him in the center of each one of them. Use them for His glory.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
New relationships. Some are no longer with us. Others will come into our lives. All will change with time. Bring God’s love, understanding, patience and forgiveness to every relationship. Let Him give you a new heart for the New Year.
Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”
According to the King James Bible, Jesus teaches us to pray these words: “Lead us not into temptation.” Pope Francis says, “It’s not a good translation. It is I who fall, it is not God who throws me into temptation and then sees how I fell.” He suggests we pray “do not let us fall into temptation.”
The problem is not in translation. The King James Version of Jesus’ model prayer is a very literal translation. Jesus really did say, “Lead us not into temptation.”
1. When was Jesus born?
2. Was Jesus born in a stable?
3. Did the wise men come to the manger when Jesus was born?
4. How many wise men visited Jesus?
5. How many gifts did they bring to Jesus?
6. How many times does the Bible mention “Christmas”?
7. Did the church of the New Testament observe a Christmas holiday?
When Christians were being severely persecuted for their faith, Jesus revealed in a vision to John, His beloved apostle, a message of comfort and hope.
"And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?' And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals'" (Revelation 5:1-5).
According to statistics, places of worship are the safest places in the world. Yet, we all are very aware of church buildings that have been devastated by weather, blown up by bombs and attacked by gunmen. This past Sunday, a gunman attacked a Baptist church in Texas, killing and injuring most of the worshipers. This came just weeks after another gunman entered a church of Christ in Tennessee, killing one and injuring several others. While our hearts go out to these victims and their families, all of this has caused some to mock our faith in God and to ridicule the power of prayer.
You may say, “I’ll never amount to anything. Nothing is going well in my life. It is not ever going to get any better. So, why am I here?”
First, is it completely true what you are saying about yourself? Can you really say, “Never, nothing, ever”? Only, if you reject your Creator, Savior and Lord. Without Him you are nothing, you never will be anything and you will suffer for it in eternity. He has something better for you; an abundant and eternal life!
We sometimes talk about “placing membership”. There are many who don’t know what this is all about, some who don’t have any idea how to do it and others who don’t see the need. Perhaps, we have been negligent in our teaching concerning this matter. So, let me mention a few points from the Bible.
“Is it alright to have my body cremated when I die?”
When I first started preaching I didn’t get this question much, but as the years have gone by it comes up more and more. Here is what I gleaned from the Bible about it.
Burial was the customary and honorable practice of both Hebrews and Christians throughout the Old and the New Testament. The first explicit reference is in conjunction with the death of Sarah (Genesis 23:3-4).
When I speak of “the church”, I’m usually talking about all of God’s people that have been saved through Jesus Christ. Sometimes, I use the phrase when referring to a local congregation or to an assembled group of God’s people. The New Testament speaks of “the church”, in each of these ways (e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:18; 14:19, 28, 35).
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
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Fort Worth, TX 76135