By The Open Statement Of The Truth

But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2 (ESV)

As believers, we have the privilege and responsibility of sharing God's word with those around us, but there is a lot of pressure to interpret the words of Scripture through cultural, political, and social filters so they seem more relevant or useful. As this passage points out though, the Bible does not need our embellishment or help to do its work.

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I Shall Not Be Afraid

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4 (ESV)

Fear rears its head as a result of a wide range of circumstances and expresses itself in myriad ways. From physical danger to loss of financial stability, there are plenty of reasons to be afraid throughout this life. Left unchecked, fear can take over and cause us to doubt everything we've ever believed. That is, unless we can find an antidote.

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All For The Sake Of The Gospel​

...I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (ESV)

We live in a time when many people feel they must identify with a group or "tribe" in order to have a voice. Despite the fact that our culture elevates individualism, there is palpable pressure to align with a voting bloc or social movement. Don't believe it? Just watch the news or scroll through your social media feed. We aren't exempt in the Church either, where there is a real tendency to place ourselves and others in denominational, theological boxes.

The Apostle Paul, however, had a very different understanding of identity.

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​So That No Human Being Might Boast

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (ESV)

The Bible often references the fact that to God, the things the world prizes are useless, while those things the world dismisses turn out to be what matters most. 

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​Satisfy Us With Your Steadfast Love

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!  Psalm 90:14-17 (ESV) 

The Psalms are filled with raw, honest reactions to life's difficulties. Balanced with bold questioning of God and requests for rescue, however, are reverent acknowledgments of His goodness and the rightness of His ways, even when we don't understand them. 

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​Meant To Lead You To Repentance

Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  Romans 2:3-4 (ESV)

It's part of the human condition for us to slip into patterns of judgment. We feel more comfortable when we can place people in "boxes;" as though the messiness of human relationship is more manageable when we have measured and quantified others. 

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As God in Christ Forgave You

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear...Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:29, 32 (ESV)

This is a time of what feels like unprecedented division in our nation. Especially on social media, there is the illusion of anonymity, which makes many feel as though they can go on the attack against others.

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​My Lord and My God!

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  John 20:26-28 (ESV)

After Jesus' resurrection, even among the apostles, there were those who struggled or refused to believe He was alive. Thomas, in particular, earned himself the dubious honor of representing all doubters throughout history because of his unwillingness to believe. 

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Truly This Was the Son of God​

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split...When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”  Matthew 27:50-51, 54 (ESV)

Have you ever had what you thought would be an ordinary experience turn out to be a life-altering one?

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This Man Has Done Nothing Wrong

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him...But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:39-43 (ESV)

There is very little room for ambivalence when we encounter Jesus. The cross in particular divides, demanding either rejection or acceptance of the Messiah

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