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A Test of Faith (Part 2)

“You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (Lk. 1:31). Nothing would ever be the same. Gabriel’s announcement changed Mary’s life completely and for always. The sudden appearance of the angel left her perplexed. But his message even more. Mary would conceive a child, but as a virgin. She would give birth to a...

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Ten Tools for Your Prayer Toolbox

Prayer is an amazing privilege. To think that Almighty God pays attention to our words is hard to believe, but true. And yet I find that many Christians struggle to pray. I certainly do. I am easily distracted and repetitive in what I say. And If I don’t watch out, my prayers are quickly reduced to reading items on a shopping list instead of a genuine, heart to heart...

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Signs of Spiritual Growth

You will find the pencil marks on pantry door frames or kitchen walls in many houses. Measuring your children’s height is fun, encouraging and shocking at the same time. Wow, you’ve grown that much?! Over time these height marks turn into little treasures. Some parents even refuse to paint over them. We mark growth because we expect growth. It is part of a chi...

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About Movies

A friend asked me a question yesterday. He wanted to know my thoughts on a new movie that is coming out, Beauty and the Beast, a remake of the 1991 Disney Classic. According to its director, the movie will break ground as Disney features an openly gay character. The movie also includes a “nice, exclusively gay moment”. Did I think this was a movie Christians co...

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A Gratitude Boost

The most recent World Happiness Report ranked The Netherlands in sixth place of happiest countries in the world, trailing Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland. Being Dutch myself, I chuckled at these statistics because the Dutch are notorious complainers. Tourists often mention how friendly we are. Yes, ask the Dutch for directions and nine out of ten times ...

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Dreams and Unintentional Sin

Experts tell us that we dream at least two hours every night. Most of us don’t recall the mental escapades the next day. But when we do, we usually dismiss them quickly. But how should we think about a dream in which we sin? The content of these dreams can startle, even shock us. Would God want us to view these actions as real sin? It is a good question. Are we answ...

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The Suffering Servant

The fourth Servant Song in Isaiah (Is. 52:13-53:12) is often read or preached from during the Passion Week, and understandably so. Isaiah penned this poem 700 years before Christ’s death. Yet his depiction of the experience and essence of the cross pulsates with New Testament Gospel clarity. Since the Middle Ages, most Jews interpret The Servant as a reference to th...

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Parents, Don't Provoke Your Children

As a brand-new parent, I was unprepared for what awaited me. I thought that my experience with children’s ministry would give me a head start. Besides, I liked children and they liked me. But being a father was a different story. I felt like a Minor-League ballplayer thrown into the thrust of a Major-League game. It wasn’t so much the 24/7 nature of ...

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Puzzling Psalms and ISIS

Terrorist group Boko Haran pursuing Christian genocide in Nigeria. ISIS terrorists threatening to kill children unless their fathers renounce faith in Jesus. Gunmen firing at a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt. Violent hatred against believers is rampant in many parts of the world. We must pray for the persecuted church. But what about the bad guys?  There is ...

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God, Scripture and Despondency

If you do battle with feelings of gloom and thoughts of hopelessness you are not alone. The Bible tells many a story about God’s children getting stuck in the Slough of Despond, to borrow a phrase from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. We see Elijah sitting under the broom-tree begging God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4). We hear David’s painful wor...

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