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19Dec
It is more than a birth-to-death story NS

It is more than a birth-to-death story

Listen to Rick read this post: In the beginning the LORD created man without a man or a woman. That man was Adam Then the LORD created a woman without a woman. That woman was Eve. Then the LORD created people with a man and a woman. That is the rest of us. Then the LORD created a man without a man. He was Jesus. The virgin birth of Jesus is the most profound of His four creative acts, but what the LORD did by giving His Son to us is only part of what amazes me. To consider Read
18Dec
Salvation Management NS

Salvation Management

Listen to Rick read this post: Jonah said salvation belongs to the LORD (Jonah 2:9). There is no doubt about his statement. Salvation is God’s and He can choose to do with it what He wants. Salvation does not belong to us. Though Jonah messed up in several ways, he was not totally off his rocker when it came to how he thought about God and His salvation. Jonah was a prophet, so we cannot totally dismiss his life because he made a mistake and his mistake made it into the canon of Scripture. Praise God for His grace. What Read
17Dec
A theology of gift giving NS

A theology of gift giving

Listen to Rick read this post: On Christmas day people all over the world will be exchanging presents. It is a cultural event. It is a tradition that has evolved in meaning and application, which is common for traditions in that they can morph from their original intent. Christmas most certainly has lost its Christo-centric meaning among most of our culture. For many people it is no longer politically correct to say, Merry Christmas. Happy holidays has become the salutation of choice. Is it wrong to celebrate a cultural Christmas that is devoid of Christ? Probably not. In Read
16Dec
God Appoints Trouble NS

God Appoints Trouble

Listen to Rick read this post: And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1:17 (ESV) Let us pretend you are in Sunday school and your 3rd grade teacher tells you the story of Jonah and the whale. It sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? You go home and tell your mommy about the story of the man swallowed by a giant fish. Your mom begins to tell you how great God is and what He can do. She also tells you Read
16Dec
No more guilt - No more shame NS

No more guilt – No more shame

Listen to Rick read this post: Adapted from The Gospel Primer As long as I am stricken with the guilt of my sins, I will be captive to them. In such cases I will often find myself re-committing the very sins about which I feel the most guilty. The Gospel slays sin at this root point and, thereby, nullifies sin’s power over me. The forgiveness of God, made known to me through the Gospel, liberates me from sin’s power because it liberates me from sin’s guilt. The preaching of such forgiveness to myself is a practical and real way of Read
15Dec
The Storm Hurler NS

The Storm Hurler

Listen to Rick read this post: What do you think about when a storm comes into your life? When things are really bad for you, how do you think about the bad things? Where does your mind go? This chapter deals with those questions. I suppose most of us are tempted to focus more on the storm–the trouble–than the God of the storm. Let’s face it, the storm is more real and nearer to us than the Creator of storms. The storm also seems more manageable than the God of the universe. Logic would say, “I have a better shot Read
14Dec
Closing the Gap NS

Closing the Gap

Listen to Rick read this post: Have you ever wondered how it is possible to believe the right things, yet do the wrong things? It happens all the time–at least to me. I am daily put in situations where I have the opportunity to do the right thing. Sometimes, in those moments, I make the wrong choice–even when I know what the right choice should be. This creates a gap between what I know to do and what I actually do. If you are like me, then you too have a gap. Do not be discouraged; you and I are Read
13Dec
Getting Real NS

Getting Real

Listen to Rick read this post: The heart of the Gospel is about loving difficult people. This is the purpose and point of the Bible–to show us how to love the unlovable. The primary example of how this is accomplished is through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, who died for undeserving people (Ephesians 5:1). The LORD does not ask us to do things He is unwilling to do. We have a tested and sympathetic Savior (Hebrews 4:15). This is part of the reason we should not shirk our biblical responsibility to pursue those who rub us the Read
12Dec
A Christmas Carol - A Book Review NS

A Christmas Carol – A Book Review

Listen to Rick read this post: "Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out a generous fire, secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster." Who does not know everyone's favorite Christmas miser, Ebenezer Scrooge? Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol deserves its place as one of the best-known and most beloved Christmas stories ever written. I can't remember a time when I didn't know this story or when Scrooge did not make an appearance Read
11Dec
Enjoying the cultural and the Christian Christmas

Enjoying the cultural and the Christian Christmas

Listen to Rick read this post: My children were wishing the shoppers, who were walking out of Kohl's Department Store, a Merry Christmas. They were sitting on top of the van singing and spreading Christmas cheer to anyone who was within twenty-five yards of their voices. While they were singing, two ladies passed by and greeted them with a "Merry Christmas" and then one of them asked, "Do you think Santa can see you from the North Pole?" Somewhat under his breath, my 8-year old son leaned down to me and said, "No, but God can see us." I was Read
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