A Clean Heart and a Steadfast Spirit
King David had a moral crisis when he lusted after and committed adultery with a beautiful woman named Bathsheba. He complicated and multiplied his sin by deceit and murder after it was revealed to him that she was pregnant with his child. The husband of Bathsheba, Uriah, was a trusted soldier of David’s who was numbered in the elite thirty-seven of 2 Samuel chapter 23. Uriah was ordered from the front lines for the sole purpose of obscuring his wife’s pregnancy as a product of adultery. When Uriah refused to keep company with his wife while his men were roughing it on the battlefield, David took the sin to an even lower level of murder. He wrote orders for Uriah to be put in the most dangerous position of battle guaranteeing his death. This strong faithful soldier faithfully carried his own sealed, death sentence to the commander of the army. Yes, he died in battle and David brought Bathsheba into his palace as his wife.
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Abraham and Isaac: A Foreshadow of our Father and Jesus
Abraham had been called out by God to leave his relatives and move to an unknown land. God chose Abraham and made some strong and far-reaching promises to him and his descendants. This is the promise quoted in Genesis 12:2-23 (NKJV), “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. / I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
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Following Jesus with No Options:
I hate picking out colors of paint because there are just too many options. Some foreign restaurants I have eaten in, only give you a choice of available meat and you have no option with the side dishes; you get what they usually serve. When it comes to the side dishes, you either eat it or leave it. Of course, I usually eat it!
When it comes to being a true disciple of Jesus Christ, why do some folks think they have options?
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THE WHY BEHIND FASTING:
To be honest, I love to fast and I hate to fast. I love food and I am a ‘snacker’ by nature so I hate the thought of fasting. This sounds like a contradiction but this is what I love about fasting-it crucifies my flesh. I have come to realize the spiritual benefits of fasting. Simply put, it makes me stronger spiritually.
During a fast, especially in the beginning, our flesh will cry out for food and we just wag our parental index finger at our naughty little flesh and say, “No, no you little spoiled brat, you can’t have everything you want.”
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End the Old and Begin the New
The hope of the New Year is found in fresh starts and new beginnings. This time of year we talk of New Year’s resolutions and the like, all with the expectations of getting a new grip on life. I am thankful with God; we can get a fresh start anytime.
I like the words Paul wrote to the church of Philippi, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, / I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV).
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The New Year is just around the corner and on the top of many resolution lists will be to lose weight. That resolution along with many others will end in the ash heap of frustration in just a few weeks. I have never been a big New Year’s resolution guy to begin with but I do like to evaluate myself from time to time. In that evaluation, I always see some things I need to lose and some things I need to gain.
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The few days following Christmas is like coming down from a sugar high. This Christmas season started right after Walmart put away their scary masks and it began in earnest the day after Thanksgiving. The weeks leading up to Christmas is filled with scheduling family gatherings, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and decorating. There is a lot of energy that goes into the Christmas season.
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I love Christmas! I love most of the trappings of Christmas–I even love fruitcake but Christmas is not just about the trees, lights, presents, or even the family get-togethers. Beyond all these things, Christmas represents the great love of God for the world, manifested in the First Advent of His Son, Jesus Christ. The scripture says it so well, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).
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No, it’s not a diet plan. It is so simple but requires some dedication–reading through the entire Bible every year. This is something I have done for many years and one of the best things I have ever done. The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 NKJV). It takes some diligence but it has great rewards. Here are a few reasons I do it:
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I remember feeling a burden and calling from God to do ‘something’. At the time, I did not know what the ‘something’ was and what it would look like but the ‘something’ was nagging at my heart. Eventually, I stepped out and began to do something. The genesis of Pathway Outreach Ministries began with a ‘something’ — reaching out to kids in a local trailer park. Pathway Outreach has evolved over time as God has opened more and different doors of opportunities.
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