Category Archives: Encouragement

Is a “personal relationship” with Christ necessary for salvation?

A “personal relationship with Christ” is a phrase used among born-again believers to contrast an impersonal relationship with God. (Another popular phrase among born-again Christians is, “Relationship, not religion,” which says the same thing.) But is this idea actually taught in … Continue reading

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What part of life is religious?

How much of life is religious, and how much is not? How much has to do with God, and how much does not? Is “church time” the religious part, and outside church, life is not? A response of Jesus addressed … Continue reading

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The Pharisee in Church

The frequent run-ins between Jesus and the Pharisees were a clash between the Pharisee’s preoccupation with external things and Jesus’ emphasis on the spiritual kingdom. The Pharisees were interested in keeping their status quo, the rigid forms of religious law, … Continue reading

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The Bible and Atheist agree: Blind Faith is Wrong

The popular meaning for faith is to believe something without proof. This is the “popular” meaning, and as with the meanings of several other words, it doesn’t match up with its meaning used in the Bible. For instance, the popular … Continue reading

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Armor of God Series: the Belt of Truth

“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14). With the truth, we are seeing things as they really are. The truth is not just facts, but facts acted on. … Continue reading

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The Faith to Endure Hardship

In Hebrews 11, we are introduced to a series of individuals who were known for their faith. Noah prepared an ark, expecting a flood. Abraham moved out of his country at the word of God, not knowing where he was … Continue reading

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A Clean Conscience At Last

At the coming of Jesus, God introduced something new. With the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ, God creates a new covenant with believers that results in a clean conscience. The tenth chapter of Hebrews explains this feature of … Continue reading

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“Love your neighbor as yourself”

Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves in Mark 12:31. Some people have said that they cannot love their neighbor as they ought because they do not love themselves. On the contrary, the Bible is clear … Continue reading

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The Salvation of the Soul

What is the salvation of the soul, and what does it look like? The first few verses of 1 Peter chapter one give us a strong sense of this salvation and then concludes with, “receiving the end of your faith … Continue reading

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The Neglected Deliverance

We tend to seek the Lord’s deliverance when we get into personal trouble. But there is a deliverance that keeps us out of the trouble in the first place. Which would you like – to fall into trouble and try … Continue reading

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Faith and the Spirit’s Leading

What is faith? A definition is in order. What is faith? If faith means to believe something without proof, as many claim, then how is it different from blind faith? What I find funny is that those who dislike faith … Continue reading

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Does the Holy Spirit still lead believers today?

The book of Acts relates several accounts of men who were directed by the Holy Spirit to say certain things, do something, or go somewhere. Is this direction of the Holy Spirit supposed to continue in today’s church? Or did … Continue reading

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What is intimacy with Jesus?

What does it mean when Christians talk about having intimacy, or a deep relationship, with Jesus? There are many ways to describe it and experience it. I will talk about one way of entering into that intimacy or fellowship with … Continue reading

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Do we need the power of the Holy Spirit?

Recently one of my prayer group regulars talked about our need of the Holy Spirit’s power upon us just as it was on the disciples in Acts. He seemed to think it was a matter of just asking for it … Continue reading

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Why do people not change or grow in their faith?

Jesus made clear what is the greatest commandment: to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:34-40). Here is God’s highest aspiration for His creation. Yet so many of us, religious and non-religious, fail … Continue reading

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Paralyzed When Making New Year’s Resolutions?

A centurion came to Jesus and told Him, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” Have you felt paralyzed at home lately? You have decisions to make, but feel too frozen to move? You have things to … Continue reading

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How do I deal with out-of-control sexual urges?

You deal with sexual desires the same way as with any other feelings, whether of envy, hatred, avarice, pride, and so on. The foundational teaching is Romans 6. There, we learn that when Jesus was buried, He took our “old … Continue reading

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