Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"—and you forgave the guilt of my sin. -Psalm 32:5 It's not easy to acknowledge our sins and discuss our faults and weaknesses with God. So why must we do it? "Why is it so necessary to our spiritual health?" His answer is simple: "It's because without confession there is no forgiveness—and God's grace and forgiveness are the foundation of

by TJ Bates The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. -Luke 4:18-19 I was brought up in a church that stressed all the sinful things we shouldn't do. In fact, during my high school years when someone would suggest doing something,

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning… You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." -Psalm 30:5, 11 Remember your mother telling you, after a bad day, that "everything will be better in the morning"? David is saying the same thing in this Psalm: “Through King David's words, we are assured that suffering (whether it comes as a result of our own fault or someone else's) is purely temporary. It's not permanent;

by TJ Bates "How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues." -Psalm 31:19-20 I can remember, when things weren't going as they should, my mother would start singing: "This world is not my home, I'm just a-passin'

by TJ Bates Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God,  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. -Luke 12:6-7 When you think about these verses, that the very hairs (even though there may not be as many as there used to be) are numbered, doesn't it make you realize just how much God cares about us and every "little

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all thing were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. -Colossians 1:15-17 I'm often amazed and confused by some of the judgments that come down from the Supreme Court. It is encouraging to

by Dr. Ryan Noel Fraser, author of Overcoming the Blues: Finding Christ-Centered Hope and Joy through Serving Others It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving week. Henry, a caring minister, had just closed out the morning service and was standing at the church door greeting and shaking worshipers’ hands as they left. Standing in line was a 44-year-old, divorced mother of two teenagers. She was attempting to smile, but her sad eyes told a different story. “Hi, Jeanette, how have you been getting

"For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men." -Lamentations 3:31-33 The question of the day: Why does God allow bad things happen to good people? "So there's a huge gulf separating God from Satan, good from evil, but God can still bring us grief and affliction whenever it contributes in some way to

As we enter the holiday season, beginning with Harvest and Thanksgiving, we all know of someone (it could even be ourselves) who is facing a situation that suggests anything but gratitude and joy. For some, this will be the first time they spend it without their spouses or other loved ones. We want holidays to be merry, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic cited some of the below as factors that tend to make the holidays

"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.'" -Mark 8:34-35 “Here's one of life's best-kept secrets: If we try to fulfill ourselves by ourselves, or to realize our dreams on our own steam and our

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