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    Heartprints

    Tips for Teaching #1

    I want to share some tips that will hopefully help us better prepare our children for the difficulties of standing strong in the faith. Encourage children to ask the hard questions. If they aren’t asking, ask them! Teach them how to wrestle with the Word of God to find the answers. We tend to shy away from the questions that are hard to answer or maybe can’t really be answered. Learning that we can’t demand answers but must be humbly thankful for the revelations God gives is a hard lesson to teach and even harder to learn. I was recently talking with a woman who grew up in a Christian…

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    The Devil Made Me Do It

    In 1985, Richard Ramirez, a Satanist, killed fourteen Californians. Ramirez claimed evil spirits made him mutilate the elderly, women, and children. His savagery even terrified his trial judge. What do we make of this monstrosity? Or of racially motivated violence, where even Christians misappropriate Scripture to deny the basic human dignity of those they deem inferior to them? The testimonies of Christ and the apostles give evidence that demons work by seducing us with pride, greed, and lust. But can we hold demonized humans responsible for the sins committed under demonic influence? Who bears ultimate responsibility for 9/11 or the Nazi genocide of Jews? Satan, or those who commited the…

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    Heartprints

    When Obedience Isn’t A Product of Faith

    I'm a parent of two beautiful young ladies. My oldest is studying to be a family counselor. My youngest is an RN, working in administration, overseeing the functions of an entire department of a hospital. I am very proud of them and their achievements. I love who they are as sweet caring people and I admire the way they have worked hard to get ahead in life. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Desiring to raise our girls in a Christian home, we taught them that God’s Word says for children to obey their parents. We had consequences when they didn’t. Obedience seemed easier for our oldest. Our younger…

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    What’s Love Got to Do with It?

    Some would argue that a loving personal God could not allow the existence of evil and social injustice. Others blame an omnipotent God for malignancies like terrorism and the trafficking of young girls for sexual slavery. God foreknew evil. By the act of creation, God instilled evil's feasibility. But does that make Him responsible for it? Not according to 1 John 2:16. Enter: Free Will. Some may scoff at the notion, as if by supplying it God has given us license to misbehave. But free will does not hinder God’s ability to encroach upon choice. He can stop the madness anytime he chooses. And let’s not forget Jesus Christ—the one…

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    Impact

    The Clarity of Death

    “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). My father died recently. He was always sharp, quick with a pun or a play on words, an accountant by trade who worked until he was seventy-seven years old. He was a student of the Bible for almost sixty years. He did a lot of reading, writing, and “sparring” (personal debating) over the years, quoting folks like Barnhouse and Spurgeon in the process. But dementia overtook him these last few years. He could no longer…

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    Adjustments for Life

    I recently purchased some new eye glasses. Within the first hour of wearing the glasses, I knew the hinge on one side was loose. Because of traveling, it took about 2 weeks before I could go back to my optometrist to get the glasses adjusted. When I walked in, the associate asked what he could do for me. I replied, “I can see great and I love these new glasses, but they need to be adjusted.” He quickly said, “I can see how they are slipping on your nose.” I was surprised he said that because I had gotten so used to dealing with glasses over the years that slipped…

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    Advent: Hope in the Darkness

    “Advent” means arrival. This season looks ahead to Christmas, the miracle of God’s entrance into our world. We anticipate the baby born to die to redeem us from our sin. Although Jesus arrived in a broken world marked by rebellion, division, and sorrow, the Jews found hope in a wealth of prophecies that the promised Messiah was indeed coming to deliver them from the darkness. The gloom will be dispelled for those who were anxious. In earlier times he humiliated the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali; but now he brings honor to the way of the sea, the region beyond the Jordan, and Galilee of the nations.…

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    Ezekiel, a visionary prophet

    Title:Ezekiel, a visionary prophet Aim:To comprehend that God’s holy presence and infinite power encourage us to heed His Word. Scripture:Ezekiel 1:1–28   Ezekiel, the prophet, Ezekiel 1:1–3   Ezekiel name means “God strengthens.” He was the son of Buzi, a priest of the family of Zadok (Ezek 1:3).    What is known about Ezekiel’s life comes from the information he gives in his book. Also, his prophecies contain dates more specific than almost any others in the Old Testament. This makes it possible to correlate Ezekiel’s declarations with Babylonian records and date many of the prophet’s oracles (e.g. 1:1–3; 8:1; 20:1; 24:1; 26:1; 29:1, 17; 30:20; 31:1; 32:1, 17; 33:21;…

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    Isaiah, a willing prophet

    Title:Isaiah, a willing prophet Aim:To answer God’s call to serve. Scripture:Isaiah 6:1–12   Isaiah’s vision of God’s throne room, Isaiah 6:1–4   Isaiah 6 is the prophet’s record of how he heard and responded to God’s call to serve. At first, it may seem odd that Isaiah’s commission to prophesy does not come until after five chapters of oracles.    These chapters deal with such themes as judgment, discipline, exile, restoration, and blessing. Yet, Isaiah placed his commissioning account here to prove he had the credentials to deliver the opening series of oracles against Judah.    God dramatically called Isaiah to his prophetic ministry “in the year that King Uzziah died”…

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    Christian Cliques – A Problem to Overcome

      What we want and what we get are often two very different things! You would think that inthe church of all places we would easily find community. However, our churches often consist of a large group ofpeople coming together for worship but leaving in cliques. New comers may be welcomed in word while excluded from our conversations and activities.   Even Jesus had close friends with whom He spent more time than He did with the large crowds that came to Him for healing or to hear Him preach. Was that a clique?  By definition a clique is “a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially:one held together…