God had every reason to reject His sinful people, Israel, but he chose to offer them forgiveness. In the book of Hosea, we learn that instead of bringing sacrifices they needed to bring sincere words of repentance and ask God for his gracious forgiveness. But what does that mean for us today? In chapter 14, Hosea shares hope for the Israelites that is also hope for us.
Discipleship is the process of becoming more like Jesus but what does that look like? How do we become more like Jesus? In Philippians 2, we learn that it has more to do with how we interact with others than anything else.
It has been said that working with people can be the biggest obstacle to getting anything done. As Christians, how can we find joy in work, and with people, that can be difficult? In Philippians 4, Paul encourages 2 co-workers in a disagreement to be reasonable.
Everybody is searching for joy. But life is hard. What we are hoping for doesn't always happen. So how can we find real joy in all facets of life? In Philippians 3, Paul tells us that, even with the outstanding resume he possessed, nothing compared to his relationship to Christ.
Is there something you expect or hope for when you think about your life in general? The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was in prison in pain, awaiting his execution. Despite these circumstances he wrote, “To live is Christ. To die is gain”. Where does that expectation come from? In the book of Philippians, we find out how we can have a similar attitude no matter our circumstances.
You’ll never find in the Old Testament a directive to hate your enemy. It’s not there. And yet as we look back on our history we’ll find many instances where we have justified our hate even while calling ourselves believers. In the book of Matthew, however, we read that Jesus tells us to love our enemies. But how do we love our enemies? When we’re trying to figure out how to love an enemy we start not with our feelings or the events that led them to become our enemy. We start with Jesus.
Pride causes us to stay horizontally-focused first. We are always looking around comparing ourselves to others instead keeping our focus on God. We know that humility is the opposite of pride but how do we truly live in humility? In the book of Luke we learn that the way up is down.
Our world is full of trouble. The Bible tells us so. If we don't remember this, we can have expectations for how our life should look. When those expectations are not met, there's disappointment. In the book of Genesis we read about Joseph who had great dreams for his future, that were delayed or even different from what he expected. We can learn from his experience that the grace of God is often found in the trials of life.
To some degree, we're all born with a need to be in control. As Christ followers, this can be problematic. In John 21, we learn about Peter who also struggled with giving up control and how God used that to point him to the grace and strength that comes only through a life of faith fully dependent upon Christ.
Oftentimes it is the extraordinary experiences in life to which we more readily apply our faith. However, life is filled with every day ordinary experiences that can trip us up. In the book of Genesis we learn about Abraham, who had extraordinary faith for the big stuff but failed from time to time with the small stuff, and yet he was still called a friend of God.
We all need an anchor that we can hold onto in the midst of storms, struggles and transition. But what is that anchor? What keeps our faith from drifting when we face difficulty? In the book of Hebrews, we find two unchangeable things to which we can hold fast regardless of our circumstances
Faith is not just something that touches us on the outside but it informs our minds. It does so by engaging our hearts. The result is that our lives are being transformed. In James 4, we learn that God sometimes interrupts our plans.
God's word is like a mirror and it has a purpose of reflection in our lives. In James, we learn we can either approach life angry at God and rebellious against his commands or humble before God and receptive of what he's given us.
Faith is progressive. It grows in us as we live and practice our faith. But how do we know if what we call faith is true and growing? In James 2, we learn what true faith looks like in a Christian.
We're all familiar with the word faith. A simple definition is trust in someone or something. But what does faith in Jesus look like? How do we move from faith that God exists to faith in God. In Hebrews we learn what faith really is.