For Americans, the Fourth of July is a time to look back - and look up. On Independence Day, we take a break from our busy schedules to appreciate the blessings of freedom and liberty - the noble values upon which our nation was built. We look back with gratitude at our founding fathers' vision. We appreciate the courage of those who have protected our freedoms.
When God uses ordinary people beyond what is usual, ordinary or regular, He establishes the extraordinary. People do not usually think they are noteworthy, remarkable or exceptional in character. Outside of occasionally having a special, often temporary, task or responsibility, we may not address the possibility of being extraordinary. But there are "gifted" people among us. We celebrate their accomplishments with enthusiasm and amazement. What we may not consider is that God depends on ordinary people. The Bible shows us that ordinary people are chosen by God for phenomenal and special service.
When I was 16 years old, I had my dad drop me off at a lake to go fishing on his way to a church board meeting. This 30-acre private lake sat about a half of a mile off the road.
I have to admit that I love to sing. I sing along with the radio in the car. I sing in the shower. I sing as I work. (I'm not a good whistler, so I can't follow the advice of the Seven Dwarfs).
God made man a free moral agent: "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).
In the book of Psalms we are told that God has a purpose for each one of us.
I have a friend who is an author. Mark has published multiple books in the past decade. He served as a pastor for 15 years but has spent the past 10 years writing and submitting manuscripts.
In the preceding weeks, we have talked about pleasing God. Last week, we saw that if we really want to please God, we must understand that Christ is a part of God's plan and must be followed. As we think more about that, there are a few more things we need to know about Christ.
"Here at Live Oak, we have declared that this is the year of total prosperity," said Pastor Aaron Cowart, senior pastor of Live Oak Church of God in Hinesville.
King Solomon, a man who had great wisdom from God - examined life and summed up the greatest milestone of a person's life. King Solomon said the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments.
Society tends to hold mothers in high regard, but fathers - and the important roles they play - sometimes are overlooked. Dads are special too, and they deserve to be honored and recognized, which is why we have Father's Day.
Today's scripture reading is Acts 4:32-35 (NIV): "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed ...
One of the bad habits that I have is goofing off with my grandkids.
In life it seems we are always trying to please someone. It may be our parents, or it may be our children, a spouse, friends, employers, teachers, etc.
By the time you are reading this, I will be in recovery mode. Our church just will have completed its vacation Bible school on Thursday night.
Nearly a year after the Supreme Court ruled that a privately held corporation can, on religious grounds, refuse to provide contraceptive health insurance coverage for its employees, the issue of religious exemptions to the Affordable Care Act's mandates may again be headed for the nation's top court.
A man was a regular diner at a restaurant, and the owner always did his best to please him. One day, the diner complained that he received only one piece of bread with his meal, so the waiter promptly brought him four slices.
Blues guitar legend B.B. King, who died earlier this month at his Las Vegas home, wasn't the only popular musician whose work started with, or was influenced by, gospel music. Artists ranging from Aretha Franklin to Elvis to Paul Simon and Katy Perry have been touched by a musical angel, too.
Each of us is living out a legacy, something to be remembered for.
It would be stretching things to suggest Memorial Day was Dad’s favorite holiday.
We are approaching Memorial Day weekend, and it is sneaking up on many of us. It is a bit of a quirk that Memorial Day does not follow the last Sunday of May this year. Nevertheless, we pause this weekend to remember.
President Obama will be among worshippers Friday evening at a Washington, D.C., synagogue to mark "Solidarity Sabbath," in which Jews and others around the world will stand against anti-Semitism.
Rohingya Muslim refugees from Burma — which now denies them citizenship — are risking their lives on the sea or in earthquake-ravaged Nepal to seek safety. The Rohingyas say they are victims of religious persecution.
"The Holy Words — it matters not how I got them, it's 'have I retained them?'"
As I've written before, Paul wrote, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). The Old Testament serves as a lesson to all to see how God has dealt with man and how man has dealt with God.
Grandmothers have lived quite a life being kids, teens, adults and raising children from birth to adulthood. Naturally, they may be willing to take more risks, but they also have wisdom to pass along.
"The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us." Billy Graham said this best.
Pope Francis' upcoming visit to the United States in September — his first as pontiff — is maxing out available lodging in Philadelphia, where he is due to celebrate an outdoor Mass attended by between 1.5 million and 2 million people.
Learning of a terminal diagnosis causes us to pause and focus on things that really matter in life. If you're a parent, you realize all the "firsts" you will miss in the life of your child — dates, school dances, graduations and weddings.