Life is full of peaks and valleys, ups and downs, highs and lows. While we’d love to live on the mountaintop all the time, that’s not reality. You will face some dark valleys in life, so don’t be surprised or despair. We all experience disappointments, failure, betrayal, conflict, broken relationships, financial stress and the loss of loved ones. That’s not negativism—that’s realism! We all deal with negative thoughts and emotions, but we must keep walking by faith, not by our feelings. Emotions fluctuate like a Yo-Yo, but our devotion must remain constant.
An altar is a place where God alters our lives. Altars are mentioned over 400 times in the Bible indicating their prominent role in lives of God’s people. Most Old Testament characters built or used them to offer animal sacrifices as atonements for sin and to worship Yahweh—the one, true God. In ancient times, an altar was usually a simple stone structure on which religious rites were performed. Pagans sacrificed at shrines often called “high places” (elevated or hilltop sites) to please and appease their false gods or idols. In Christian churches, an altar is a place to stand or kneel before the Lord to worship or pray. Salvation often occurs on an initial trip to an altar, but the altar should be used regularly thereafter. Done properly, the altar experience brings us and keeps us close to God. An altar is not limited to a fixed location inside a church building; it can be anywhere we contact heaven and make a spiritual connection with our Creator.
Imagine you’re on death row. Your only crime is preaching the Gospel. Your execution looms over you like an ominous cloud. You are confined to a dingy, dark, dank dungeon. To make matters worse, there is no plumbing in your cell, no toothpaste, no deodorant, no air conditioning, no Wi-Fi. You can only bathe occasionally. You look bad, you feel bad, you smell bad. How can you have peace in this miserable situation? Oh, and by the way, you can request three things. What would you ask for?Read More
Skeptics say God doesn’t speak anymore. Even some Christians claim God only speaks through the Bible. Really? Did He get laryngitis and lose His voice? Did He change? Did He cease being God? Malachi 3:6 (NKJV) affirms, “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” That means if God saved in Bible times, He still saves today. If He healed then, He still heals now. If He spoke to people in the past, He still does. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The question is not, is God still speaking? The question is, are we listening? Jesus implored all seven churches of Asia, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 2:7). Consider 12 ways God still speaks today:
Too many people are stuck in the valley of decision. Indecisive about following Christ, they straddle the fence and leave themselves enough wiggle room to have one foot in the church and one foot in the world. This lack of commitment leads to a life of compromise and mediocrity. Jesus cautioned, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:62, RSV). We are called to sell out for the cause of Christ.Read More