Undivided: You Are God’s (1 Corinthians 3)

In the first two chapters of 1 Corinthians we have read the apostle Paul dealing with the fighting and divisions that were occurring in the Corinthian church by addressing the centrality of the cross. The message of the cross is not worldly wisdom but is the wisdom of God which shames the wise of this world. God chose the cross of Christ so that no one could boast in their own power, wisdom, or knowledge. Further, Paul made the point that the message he and the other preachers who came to them possessed the Spirit of God so that the words they taught were the Spirit’s words, that is, the very words of God, and not human words or wisdom.

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Relentless Grace: Wrestling With God (Genesis 29-32)

Jacob travels to Laban, who is his uncle, so that he can find a wife and not marry any of the Canaanite women. Laban takes him in and Jacob begins working for him. Laban tells Jacob that he must not work for him for free. So Jacob asks to work for Rachel so that he can marry her. Jacob loved Rachel and agrees to work for seven years for her. The text tells us that working those seven years “seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her” (Genesis 29:20). When the seven years were over, Jacob asks to marry Rachel. So the wedding festival is put together but when Jacob wakes the next morning he finds out that he had been given Leah, which was Rachel’s older sister, rather than Rachel.

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Undivided: The Gospel Is Wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)

We come to a text that is frequently misused and misapplied. It is a text that requires our careful attention so that we do not misunderstand or misapply what the apostle Paul is teaching. The apostle has been teaching about how he did not come preaching to these Corinthians with lofty speech or wisdom. He did not come to them with persuasive words from human wisdom, but came to them in weakness, fear, and trembling along with a demonstration of the Spirit and power so that their faith would not rest in humans but in the power of God. So our hope is not to be in great oration. Our hope is not to be in worldly wisdom or human perspectives. Our hope is not to be in philosophy, politics, or a particular worldview. So what does our hope rest on and how can we have this hope? The apostle Paul is going to explain this and then we will consider how this is to keep us from division.

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Relentless Grace: Stairway To Heaven (Genesis 28)

It is an interesting scene that can certainly be confusing. Angels walking up and down a staircase (Genesis 28:12). Why would they be doing this? Why is this revealed to Jacob? What does this mean for us? To understand these things we need to back up and consider what is happening in Jacob’s life.

Jacob Must Leave (28:1-9)

With the blessing given by Isaac, though he thought he was blessing Esau and not Jacob, Isaac confirms the blessing to Jacob and tells him to not marry a Canaanite woman. The promises given to Abraham are going to come through Jacob (28:3-4). With this, Jacob is sent away. Remember that the reason Jacob must leave is because Esau has openly declared that he is going to kill Jacob once Isaac passes away (27:43-44). Jacob is sent to Paddan-aram where he will be able to marry from his family and not from the Canaanites.

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Undivided: Boast In The Lord (1 Corinthians 1:26-2:5)

The apostle Paul is laying a foundation for how to deal with divisions. The first four chapters deal with divisions as it has been reported to the apostle that there is fighting and divisions among the Christians at Corinth. In the last paragraph the apostle Paul showed how God was pleased to confound worldly wisdom through the message of the cross. Preaching Christ crucified was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Christ is the display of the power of God and the wisdom of God. What else do we need to know so that we can keep from fighting and divisions? The apostle Paul continues to teach these Corinthians more foundational truths.

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Relentless Grace: Sovereign Over Sin (Genesis 26-27)

After describing Esau exchanging his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew, Genesis 26 returns our attention Isaac. A famine occurs in the land, so Isaac goes to Gerar in the land of the Philistines. While there God tells Isaac not to go to Egypt but to dwell in the land that God tells him to live in. Stay in the land and the Lord will be with you, bless you, and give all of these lands to you (26:3). In verse 4 God declares that he will multiply Isaac’s offspring as the stars of heaven and all the nations of the earth will be blessed. God is confirming his covenant made to Abraham through Isaac. These are the same covenantal promises God made to Abraham and now they are being confirmed to Isaac. With the blessings confirmed, Isaac does not go to Egypt but stays in Gerar.

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Undivided: Christ, the Wisdom and Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

We have become so accustomed to the cross that it is hard to understand what is so deplorable about the cross. In religious culture the cross has been turned into an icon. We are used to seeing pictures of a cross. You may have driven through various towns where you will see a large cross on the side of the road. Crosses are placed on the tops of many church buildings. People will even where jewelry that have a cross on it. Through these things the cross has become sanitized in our minds. To fully grasp what the image of the cross meant in the first century we must consider our own capital punishment devices in our culture. Today 33 states use lethal injection as the means for capital punishment for heinous crimes committed. The electric chair is used in 8 states and the gas chamber is used in 5 states. Can you imagine driving down the road and see large statues of gas chambers and electric chairs?

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Relentless Grace: Despising Your Birthright (Genesis 25:27-34)

Genesis 25 introduces us to Isaac and Rebekah’s children, Jacob and Esau. Esau was a skillful hunter and a man of the field while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Esau is the outdoorsman while Jacob preferred staying at home. Genesis 25:28 tells us something unfortunate that will play strongly into the future problems we will read about. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game that Esau caught. But Rebekah loved Jacob. This information is told to us to explain some of the storm clouds that are brewing in this family…

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Relentless Grace: God’s Purpose of Election (Genesis 25:19-26)

In Genesis 25-36 we are given the stories of Isaac and Jacob. These are not mere narratives but a display of the relentless grace of God. Through broken people we are going to see the amazing grace of God which will give us hope in God’s grace as we study these accounts.

Genesis 25 opens with the death of Abraham. Remember the final important story concerning the life of Abraham is that he made sure that Isaac did not marry a Canaanite or leave the promised land. Abraham has his servant go to Haran where his extended family is and from there finds a wife for Isaac named Rebekah. Genesis 25:19 opens with the generations of Isaac. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. But you will notice Isaac experiences the same issue that his father Abraham experienced. Rebekah is barren. We have the same hopeless and helpless situation for Isaac that Abraham had…

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Undivided: The Appeal For Unity (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)

The apostle Paul was told that there was a problem in the Corinthian church. Verse 11 of 1 Corinthians declares that people from Chloe’s household have reported to him that there is quarreling among them. Now I want you to imagine this scene for a moment. When a letter was delivered to the messenger for the church, a person would read the letter before the whole congregation. So imagine that the Corinthian church has gathered to hear this letter from the apostle Paul. Listen to what Paul says:

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.  (1 Corinthians 1:10–11 ESV)

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Kingdom Themes in Acts

A sermon from Berry Kercheville.

No text available.

Undivided: Preparing to Overcome Divisions (1 Corinthians 1:1-9)

The city of Corinth was a city with a love for things and pleasure. The citizens were looking to advance on the ladder of upward social mobility. The culture of the city was of trade, business, and the pursuit of success. Of all the cities in the Roman Empire, the city of Corinth perhaps most closely resembles the culture in cities of America in the 21st century. This modern, progressive, cosmopolitan city was the place where the apostle Paul spent two years with the church. We know this was a church with many doctrinal problems. When we read chapters 5-16 we read about these Christians being involved in many sins as well as having many questions about various teachings. But in our zeal to read about those other issues, it is easy to skip over the primary issue that Paul must deal with in the Corinthian church. The problem is so significant that the apostle must spend the first four chapters of the book addresses it. The big problem in this church is divisions. After concluding the thanksgiving section, Paul immediately dives into this problem in 1:10.

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Inside Out: Love (Matthew 5:43-48)

We come to the final lesson of our Inside Out series, which is the final lesson of the fifth chapter of Matthew. This is the last of Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount where he quotes what the Pharisees and teachers of the Law were saying and answers that with what the Law of Moses actually taught. Remember that the teachers were lowering God’s standards so that they would think that they are accomplishing God’s law and have a way of righteousness. Jesus is destroying their thinking and showing them that they have not kept God’s law and they need the grace of God if they are going to be righteous in God’s sight…

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Love Your Neighbors (Exodus 20:13-21)

Jesus said that the Law could be summed up as loving the Lord your God with all your heart and to loving your neighbor as yourself. The final five commandments are succinct commandments regarding how to love our neighbors. We love our neighbors by not sinning against them.

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Inside Out: Sacrificing (Matthew 5:38-42)

What does “an eye for an eye” mean? Most of the time when people use this term they mean payback. We are a world that is built on giving payback. Movies are built upon the idea of getting people back. Today the idea of “an eye for eye” means retaliation or retribution. It appears from reading Matthew 5:38-42 that the Jews in the first century also had this idea. Is this what the Law meant when God taught the principle of an eye for an eye?

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Desiring God

A sermon from Dan Starr.

Salvation and the Word of God

A sermon from Andy Cantrell.

Shield of Faith

A sermon from Andy Cantrell.

Being Where God Is

A sermon from Dan Starr.

Hate What God Hates

A sermon from Dan Starr.

The Breastplate and Shoes For Armor

A sermon from Andy Cantrell.

Belt of Truth

A sermon from Andy Cantrell.

If You Love Me

A sermon from Dan Starr.

God of Truth

A sermon from Dan Starr.

Stand Firm

A sermon from Andy Cantrell.

Introducing God’s Armor

A sermon from Andy Cantrell.

Seeing As God Sees

A sermon from Dan Starr.

Honor Your Parents (Exodus 20:12)

The first four commands centered on God and worship of him. You must have no other gods before him. You must not make any graven image that would be worshiped or treated as an image of God. You must keep God’s name holy. You must keep the Sabbath holy by stopping your work and focusing on God’s deliverance. The final six commandments center on the treatment of other people. But the first commandment regarding others is not about murder, stealing, or adultery. Rather, the first commandment after the commands directed toward God is about family. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12 ESV) This is a commandment that we know very well. Its location in the decalogue reveals that the relationship between the child and the parent is paramount. It is critically important. But what does it mean to honor your father and your mother? What does this look like?

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Truthfulness (Matthew 5:33-37)

We come again to another text within the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is addressing how the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees were incorrectly teaching and misapplying the Law of Moses. As we have seen so far in our study, Jesus is correcting these errors and showing the heart needed to be God’s people as well as identifying the high standard of God’s law.

Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.” (Matthew 5:33 ESV)

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Honor God’s Rest (Exodus 20:8-11)

The Hebrew people have been rescued by God from Egyptian slavery and brought to Mount Sinai to meet God. God is declaring to his people the Ten Commandments so that they can know the character of God. God is revealing the laws by which they can stay in relationship with their Lord who has rescued them. The fourth commandment is the longest of all the commandments given.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8–11 ESV)

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Inside Out: Divorce (Matthew 5:31-32)

We are in a sermon series called Inside Out. In Matthew 5:21-48 Jesus is showing his disciples how their righteousness is to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). The teachers had lowered the standards of the Law of Moses so that they believed they were attaining righteousness. Jesus is showing the true standard of God’s law and how the people have fallen woefully short. Remember that Jesus preaching repentance (Matthew 4:17) and the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23). Jesus is teaching that there is depth to the law.

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Honor God’s Name (Exodus 20:7)

Is saying “God” wrong? For many years people speak the name of God for all kinds of situations rather than addressing God himself. When people get upset they will say “Jesus Christ” or “Oh God.” Today is the popular OMG shorthand when texting which stands for “Oh my God.” If you grew up in the pews, then you might have heard that this is taking the Lord’s name in vain, which is the third commandment. Is this what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain? Is this what God was condemning? This particularly came to mind for me a few years ago with Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She was a radio talk show host in Los Angeles for a long time and then some time later went national which practical and often godly advice to people who were calling in with relationship problems. She is Jewish but at some point was called out by a caller for saying, “Oh God” because she was breaking this commandment. She responded that she was not taking the Lord’s name in vain and that the caller needed to go look at what this commandment was really about. So this struck me as I happened to hear that episode and wondered if Christians have misunderstood the command God gave.

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Inside Out: Lust (Matthew 5:21-26)

We are in a sermon series called Inside Out. In Matthew 5:21-48 Jesus is showing his disciples how their righteousness is to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). The teachers had lowered the standards of the Law of Moses so that they believed they were attaining righteousness. Jesus is showing the true standard of God’s law and how the people have fallen woefully short. Remember that Jesus preaching repentance (Matthew 4:17) and the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23).

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God Governs Worship (Exodus 20:4-6)

God declared in the first commandment that Lord is the only God and he alone must be worshiped. The first commandment focused on the object of people’s worship. The second commandment focuses on how people are to worship the Lord.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4–6 ESV)

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Inside Out: Anger (Matthew 5:21-26)

In the last paragraph we saw that Jesus calls for a greater righteousness than that of the scribes and Pharisees. The point was to show that Law was to cause a person to sense their need for God’s help to attain righteousness. This is why Jesus is going to end this section of the Sermon on the Mount with the declaration, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48). Rather than feeling their inadequacy before the Law, what the teachers of the Law did was lower the requirements of the Law so that they could feel like they were doing the Law. Jesus is going to set the record straight about the intention of the Law. What Jesus is going to call for is a change from the inside out. The Law was not calling for outward conformity but an inward transformation that led to fruit of obedience. Jesus is about the clean out the heart. He will explore how the Pharisees’ righteousness had failed.

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REWIND: A Great Salvation (Hebrews 2:1-9)

Chapter 2 begins by presenting the author’s exhortation to his audience now that he has argued the superiority of the Son over angels and over the message given through the prophets.

Therefore we must pay the most careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

Now we come to the theme of sermon — encouraging these Christians to not give up. This “therefore” in 2:1 reaches back to the introduction of the writing. Since God has spoken in these last days through the Son, we must pay the most careful attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away. The writer says to look and listen more carefully to the message of the Son.

All of us listen to something. We make provisions to listen to the things we want to listen to. I listen to sports, financial, and Christian podcasts. I make sure that I download these podcasts because I want to listen to them. We position ourselves to listen to the radio or listen to the television. We make ourselves ready to listen. But do we make ourselves ready to listen to the message of the Son? Are we positioning ourselves to hear the word of God?

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REWIND: 1 Peter – A Living Hope

God has given us a new birth. The idea of a birth has a number of implications. “Born again” tells us that we are a new person, belonging to a new family, and having new relationships. We get a new start in life. This new birth has been achieved through the resurrection of Jesus.

We have been born into two great things by God’s great mercy: a living hope and into an inheritance. In hard times we have a living hope. We live in a world that is often called hopeless. A hopeless world of despair is often how many people feel about life. The Christian, however, has hope that is alive and of immense value. We have something to set our eyes upon when life becomes full of suffering and difficulty. We have a hope that is not based on the futile things of this world. Our hope is not in this country. Our hope is not in its financial system. Our hope is built upon the resurrection of Jesus.

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God Alone (Exodus 20:1-3)

No other document has had such a great influence on Western culture than the Ten Commandments. Many rulers and nations established their legal system based on the biblical laws that included the Ten Commandments, including our own nation. John Adams wrote, “As much as I love, esteem, and admire the Greeks, I believe the Hebrews have done more to enlighten and civilize the world. Moses did more than all of their legislators and philosophers.” In 1929 the White Plains (NY) Reporter observed, “No man in more than two thousand years has been able to improve upon the Ten Commandments as the rule of life.” Harvard Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said, “The Ten Commandments are clearly a precursor to all Western Law, including American Law.”

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Exceeding Righteousness (Matthew 5:17-20)

It is tempting to come to Matthew 5:17-20 and consider this section of the Sermon on the Mount to be a departure from the theme thus far about describing who belongs in God’s kingdom. This paragraph is not a defense of himself (though certainly the text does defend what Jesus is teaching) but teaches us about the kingdom of God. The first sixteen verses of the Sermon on the Mount (the Beatitudes, salt and light teachings) were the preamble to this discourse about the kingdom. Recall that we saw in Matthew 4:23 that Jesus was going through Galilee “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.” The Sermon on the Mount is the contents of this gospel proclamation of the kingdom. What we are going to see is that Matthew 5:17-20 is the hub of the whole sermon. What Jesus teaches here is the critical foundational teaching of the gospel of the kingdom upon which the rest of the sermon (all the way through chapter 7) hang. Without understanding this paragraph we will be apt to misunderstand the rest of Jesus’ teaching in this sermon. In this paragraph, Jesus makes two important declarations that we will look at today.

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God Raises (Daniel 11-12)

As we come to chapter 11 we are beginning in the middle of a scene with Daniel and an angel sent by God. Recall in chapter 10 we read that Daniel has been troubled, seeking an answer through prayer. An angel was sent to answer his prayer, but the angel was delayed for three weeks because the prince of the kingdom of Persia was hindering him. The angel finally arrives to Daniel and is now going to give the answer to Daniel concerning the vision he saw. Time will not allow me to go through detail by detail through the explanation of the vision. What I will do is give you the pictures that we are seeing in Daniel 11 so that you can have the information you need to go back in history and put all the pieces together. Then we will consider the great message of the vision and its meaning for us today.

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Light of the World (Matthew 5:14-16)

After giving the Beatitudes which describe who the people are who are blessed and belong in Christ’s kingdom, Jesus continues to describe who his people are. There is an identity that Christ’s people understand that they possess. First, Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth. It is not that we have salt but that we are salt. We are to influence people for Jesus. We asked who do we influence, where do we influence, and how do we influence. Jesus’ concern was that we would lose our saltiness. We are to influence in a way that brings grace to the person and to the situation. We must consider our words and actions to determine if we are bringing graciousness that glorifies Jesus. Jesus gives us another picture of our identity in Matthew 5:14-16.

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God Hears (Daniel 10)

Have you ever wondered what was happening when it seems that prayer is unanswered? Why is God not answering my request? Why does it seem there is a delay in a response? These are questions we can frequently consider when we have been diligently praying and do not seem to see a response from God. Daniel 10 helps us learn about God and prayer because Daniel is going to experience the same delay in answered prayer like we experience. We should be interested that Daniel’s prayer is delayed in being answered because we know that Daniel is faithful and greatly loved by God (Daniel 9:23). Further, we saw God immediately answer Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9. We were told at the moment Daniel began to pray, God sent an answer to him (9:23). But this time the answer to prayer is delayed. What happened? Why are prayer’s answers delayed?

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Salt of the Earth (Matthew 5:13)

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. (Matthew 5:13 ESV)

What does Jesus mean when he tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth? Much has been done with this text as people try to explain what it means that we are the salt of the earth. If you pick up any number of books you will find two things that most of them will tell you. Salt was used in a number of different ways in ancient times. Therefore scholars are vexed as to what attribute of salt to consider that Jesus is emphasizing…

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God Is Faithful (Daniel 9)

Daniel 9 gives us a very strong picture of what the Christ was going to do when he comes. This chapter presents the future of God’s working in the nations and in the world to accomplish his purposes to save the world from sins.

Daniel 9 opens by telling us that it is the first year of the new Medo-Persian Empire. The setting is the year after the handwriting on the wall that we read about in Daniel 5 and would be at the same time as the events of chapter 6. Now that Babylon has fallen, Daniel recognizes that Jeremiah’s prophecy is coming to fulfillment. Jeremiah prophesied that it would be 70 years until the end of Jerusalem’s desolations. Approximately 68 years have passed since the Babylonians first invaded Judah. This is the occasion by which Daniel goes to the Lord God in prayer.

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God Limits (Daniel 8)

Two years after Daniel received his first vision which is recorded in Daniel 7, Daniel has another vision. The vision begins with Daniel seeing a ram with two high horns, but one horn was higher than another and the higher horn came up last. The ram was charging west, north, and south and no beast could stand before him or be rescued from his power. The ram did as it pleased and became great…

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The Son of Man (Daniel 7)

In our last study we looked at the overall message of Daniel 7. In Daniel 7 he sees a vision of what is going to happen in the days of the fourth kingdom, which is the Roman Empire. What is presented in this vision is a very calm picture in heaven in the midst of seeming chaos on earth. Beast after beast rises from the sea with the last beast the most terrifying of all. Further, there is a little horn that is uprooting other horns and has a mouth speaking great, boastful things. But the Ancient of Days simply sits on the throne, passes judgment, and destroys the beast. They are all given a time, but their outcome of destruction is certain. In particular we noticed that God’s eternal kingdom would destroy all evil kingdoms, nations, and people. But this does not mean that God’s people will not be given over to persecution and suffering for a limited duration.

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Blessed Are The Persecuted (Matthew 5:10-12)

We have been studying the beatitudes that are found at the introduction to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We have observed that these blessing statements are counter cultural and not natural to human thinking. But Matthew 5:10-12 may be the most counterintuitive and countercultural statement Jesus makes in the beatitudes.

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God’s Eternal Kingdom (Daniel 7)

A picture is worth a thousand words. People often ask why there are books in the scriptures have such amazing imagery. But our saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” gives us the reason why we have imagery like this. Symbolism is a key element in apocalyptic literature. Usually the meaning of figures is explained in the text itself. When this is not the case, their significance is often found in other scriptures (Miller, New American Commentary, 193). While there is the temptation to stop study the book of Daniel at this point, we are encouraged to continue forward, not only because this is the word of God and all scripture is valuable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, but also because these visions continue the message of Daniel of hope in hopeless times by seeing our Sovereign Lord reigning on the throne. Our focus will be on our great Lord as we study these visions, looking for the message of hope for life and the message about who God is and what God does…

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Blessed Are The Peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)

Jesus is describing the characteristics of those who belong to his kingdom. As he sits on the mountain, he declares to the crowds, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  Peacemakers do not create strife, hate, fights, division, or disputes. Rather, they assist in reconciliation. Peacemakers make an active entrance into the middle of warring parties for the purpose of creating reconciliation and peace. While peacemaking seeks to reconcile, true peacemakers recognize that this reconciliation is not through tolerance, pretending there are no differences, nor suppressing differences.  Peace comes by creating love for the other that transcends the differences or permits reconciliation in spite of the differences.

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God Saves (Daniel 6)

As long as we continue in life, the temptation can grow to longer trust in the Lord. This temptation can be particularly true when we have been enduring a life that we did not expect. When life does not go according to plan and when trials are nearly life long, maintaining trust in the Lord can be an increasing challenge. For Daniel, life has certainly not gone according to plan. Who would have visualized as a teenager that you would live a foreign your whole adult life? So how can we maintain our faith and continue to trust in the Lord even life seems to be falling apart and not going according to plan. This is the message of Daniel 6.

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