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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

March 24, 2017

The last word

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

What do we learn about a person's relationship to God when he goes through difficult times? Persecution, financial problems, sickness – and even death? For centuries some people have tended to view such things as evidence of a disturbed relationship to God. Either the person was lacking zeal for God and His way, or God needed to punish the person for his sins. (more…)

March 10, 2017

What is our foundation? Sand or rock?

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What is the foundation of our relationship to God? Do we build on sand or rock? Those who build on rock live by the words of Jesus Christ. (more…)

February 24, 2017

Seeing with "four eyes"

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Do you have special "double vision"? There is a small fish in Central and northern South America that has this ability. Our creator gave them large, protruding eyes that have an air lens on the upper side and a water lens on the lower side of the eye. Called "four eyes" by local people, when they swim along the surface of the water, they can see what is happening above the surface of the water, but at the same time watch what is happening under the water's surface. (more…)

February 17, 2017

What "way out" do we choose?

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You can learn about the character of people who are experiencing serious problems or difficulties. What do they do to cope with their situation – or flee from it? (more…)

February 10, 2017

Are there "trivial sins"?

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To answer this question, we need to look at "trivial offenses" as they are called ("Kavaliersdelikt" in German). A trivial offense is doing something that is actually against the law, but the person doing it does it anyway out of convenience or a personal sense of justice. Examples would be traffic violations, not paying your fare on public transportation and ignoring a copyright on a small scale by copying texts written by others. (more…)

January 20, 2017

Can we be "someone"?

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Disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. often mean tragedy and death for many people and have us asking "Why?". On the other hand, the positive side of the human spirit is evident when disaster strikes, as people respond to help the victims. (more…)

January 6, 2017

Stay close to the shepherd

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Chris the sheep became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his wool grew without anyone there to shear (shave) it. (more…)

December 23, 2016

Taking things for granted

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Can you imagine that beautiful scenery could ever become boring? Probably not. That's what a young couple thought that moved to one of Canada's vacation paradises, surrounded by majestic mountains in the Canadian Rockies. (more…)

December 16, 2016

Our first thoughts each day

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While it is true that we learn the importance of preparing for the foreseeable future from the ant (Proverbs 6:6-8), we live our lives – including that preparation – now, not yesterday or tomorrow, but today. "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble", Jesus tells us in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:34). (more…)

December 9, 2016

Helping those who cry to cry

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In his poem "The Lover's Complaint" the English poet William Shakespeare declared that a grievance shared divides its weight (or burden), which in German is the proverb "Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid". Human experience confirms the playwright's declaration. (more…)

November 18, 2016

How are we to be peacemakers?

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In the sermon on the mount Jesus emphasized the quality of being a peacemaker for those who will enter the kingdom of God: "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). (more…)

November 11, 2016

Agreeing with God: Faith

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There are two possibilities for us when it comes to God's promises: We either take God at His word, or we don't. We either believe His promises, or we don't. (more…)

November 4, 2016

David and Uzzah

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King David planned to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The ark had rested some 20 years in the house of an Israelite farmer named Abinadab after the Philistines had returned the ark to Israel. 30,000 men accompanied David to witness the transfer of the ark to Jerusalem and David showed his reverence for God by having a brand new cart made to transport the ark. (more…)

September 23, 2016

Rejoicing then, now and in the future

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For the ancient Israelites the Feast of Tabernacles was the most joyful festival. Everyone's needs were taken care of – the widows, poor, Levites and even sojourners. Nothing was left undone to make sure that everyone was able to rejoice before the Lord. (more…)

September 16, 2016

Our imperishable crown

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It should not surprise us that the apostle Paul compared the life of a Christian to a race run by a trained athlete competing for a prize. Athletic contests were popular in ancient Greece, and the Corinthians knew exactly what he meant when he wrote: "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? . . . They do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown" (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). (more…)

August 19, 2016

The most difficult instrument

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You wouldn't know it by watching me, but my family was musical – at least some of my six brothers. My mother took care of that with her preference for classical music and her sense of rhythm and timing. (more…)

August 12, 2016

"Why is this happening to me?"

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For a research project an author once interviewed 24 people who had been prisoners of war during World War II. None of them had been tortured or in any other manner physically mistreated. Nevertheless, during their imprisonment they did suffer from cold, hunger, isolation and uncertainty concerning their own personal future. (more…)

August 5, 2016

"Good things come to those who wait"

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The well-known English saying was probably derived from a poem written by English author Violet Fane in 1892. In meaning it is similar to the German idiom, "Was lange währt, wird endlich gut". (more…)

July 22, 2016

Our words are monitored

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Richard Nixon is the only president in American history to have resigned from his office. He became the victim of his own recording system. During the hearings on the Watergate affair, a White House staff member was asked if the president's office was equipped with a recording system to automatically record conversations that took place in that office. (more…)

July 1, 2016

Our private life

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Years ago someone told me that a person isn't necessarily what he seems to be when he is around people – the way he acts when others are around or the impression he wants to make on others. Instead, as my conversation partner mentioned, the real person is how that person acts in private – when no one else is around and there is no need to make an impression. (more…)

June 3, 2016

Recognizing the caller i.d.

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Before taking office in January 2009 the newly elected president Barack Obama, a member of the Democrat party, reached out to Republicans to emphasize his desire to work together to make things happen. When he called a Republican member of Congress from Florida, she hung up on him because she thought it was a prank call. He called a second time, and again she hung up. On the third attempt she was able to be convinced that it really was Barack Obama. (more…)

May 27, 2016

Jesus' Facebook friends

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Most members are familiar with the social network Facebook, and some are active Facebook members, having even Facebook friends among their church brethren. (more…)

May 13, 2016

"But do not have love"

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In his epistle to the church in Corinth the apostle Paul emphasized how important true love is in a Christian's life. In 1 Corinthians 13 he says: If I could tell the future, knew all mysteries, had great faith to move mountains, distributed my wealth to others, but did not have love, then all those things would not benefit me. (more…)

May 6, 2016

Can we forgive ourselves?

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The spring festival reminds us of God's wonderful gift of forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. At baptism God no longer associates us with our old sins, so should we put the past behind us. (more…)

April 15, 2016

Never lose sight of the goal

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When the Israelites stood near the shore of the Red Sea and saw Pharaoh’s army approaching – a symbol for sin – the Israelites were filled with fear. Perhaps they thought to themselves: "We are not going to make it!" Their immediate goal of leaving Egypt seemed totally out of reach. (more…)

April 8, 2016

Our neighbor's well-being

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What kind of love did Jesus Christ have in mind when He spoke about loving our neighbor? (more…)

April 1, 2016

Our sure hope: the kingdom of God

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"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1; NIV). We do not now see the Kingdom of God on the earth, but God tells us it will be a reality. We will inherit the Kingdom via the resurrection to eternal life at Christ's return (1 Corinthians 15:50-52). Our belief in this coming Kingdom is, in itself, an act and expression of faith. (more…)

March 25, 2016

Watch – and pray!

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The news can give us cause to ask about the times in which we live. Or perhaps more precisely: about the course of events relative to biblical prophecy. (more…)

March 18, 2016

How faithful are you?

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The divorce statistics in western countries are reason enough for some to joke about changing the traditional marriage vow from "Till death do us part" to "Till the judge parts us". (more…)

March 11, 2016

To judge or not to judge

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We are familiar with Jesus' exhortation concerning judgment in Matthew 7, verses 1-2: "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (more…)

February 26, 2016

Achievements and recognition

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Some people who have great achievements to their credit seek fame. And sometimes their achievements are readily recognized by others. Images of famous people honored for what they have done have appeared on postage stamps. Some have monuments erected to honor them, others have streets, squares or schools named after them. (more…)

February 19, 2016

Knowing the Father

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In Luke 10 Jesus rejoices over the knowledge that God was revealing through Him: "At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure" (Luke 10:21; NIV). (more…)

February 12, 2016

Can you "suffer long"?

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Longsuffering is no longer an everyday word, but it is a virtue needed more than ever when impatience, intolerance, oversensitivity and impulsive anger are so prevalent. If we are growing as Christians, "longsuffering" will be part of our character, since it is part of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:21-22). (more…)

February 5, 2016

The right path

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33 years ago my family and attended the church's winter camp in Austria as guests. Sport in the winter for me as a child and youth meant ice skating and ice hockey, but not skiing. Nevertheless, one day we went cross country skiing with other families who were at the camp. (more…)

January 29, 2016

Bearing with one another

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In his epistles the apostle Paul exhorted Christians to be tolerant of one another in their fellowship. (more…)

January 22, 2016

Joy is internal, not external

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As the associate pastor of a church in Ohio 38 years ago I got to know a young married couple that asked me for advice. They were having financial difficulties because their expenses were at times higher than their income. The husband had a good job with a good salary. What was the problem? (more…)

January 15, 2016

Problems and Promises

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Who can say that he never has problems? We can have them when we least expect them or are not prepared for them. Sometimes they can make us feel like we are on a roller coaster: We are going along just fine, and then all of a sudden we experience a big "drop". Everything seems to go wrong. (more…)

January 8, 2016

Walking by faith

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There is a similarity between eyesight and faith simply in the effect that they have – one on the physical, the other on the spiritual. "Seeing is believing", man says. People learn from what they see and it helps to shape their life. Seeing in this sense can also mean experience; we learn from experience. (more…)

January 1, 2016

Righteous Judgment

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Jesus, the righteous judge, does not base His judgment on the way things seem to be, but on the way they really are. He expects those who will assist Him as kings and priests in the world tomorrow to do the same: "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). (more…)

December 25, 2015

The importance of prayer

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As Christians we all know that prayer is an important part of our relationship with God. In the parable of the unrighteous judge, Jesus describes the righteous in this manner: "And will God not grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?" (Luke 18:7). (more…)

December 18, 2015

Those called will be tested

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In the parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus said that persecution often arises when people begin to turn to God. The same thing occurred in the apostle Paul's life. Paul had an active role in the persecution of Stephen and the early Church (Acts 7:58; 8:1, 3). (more…)

December 11, 2015

Preaching the gospel with boldness

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What did Jesus preach first when He started to preach? He preached the gospel of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15). Today Jesus, as the head of the church, continues to work through us to preach that same gospel. (more…)

December 4, 2015

The commanded assembly

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One important aspect of God's Sabbath commandment is the special "holy convocation" God provides for His people. Leviticus 23:3 says, "Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings." (more…)

November 13, 2015

The "fruit" of miracles

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Have you ever wondered how people in today's liberal Europe will be motivated to persecute those who have a different belief system? That seems unrealistic in our society today, where being tolerant is the norm and almost any lifestyle is acceptable. (more…)

November 6, 2015

Living water

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30 years ago my wife and I visited Israel. We accompanied a group of Ambassador College students on their summer tour of the country. On one of the last days of our visit, when the students were busy participating in an archaeological project, our tour guide took us along to show us an area not far from Jerusalem where Joshua's long day (cf. Joshua 10:11-13) took place. (more…)

October 30, 2015

The good shepherd

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In January 1982 a Boeing 737 crashed into the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. just 73 seconds after takeoff. The plane broke through the thick ice on the river, leaving just the tail of the plane out of the water. Only 6 of the 79 people on board the plane survived the crash. (more…)

October 23, 2015

The cultural context (2)

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Sometimes a knowledge of the cultural context can be helpful in understanding certain statements in the Bible. One of the questions a "Gute Nachrichten" subscriber asked in a recent nearly one hour conversation was: "Was Jesus during His earthly life God or was He just the son of God?" (more…)

October 16, 2015

The cultural context (1)

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Sometimes a knowledge of the cultural context can be helpful in understanding certain statements in the Bible. Two examples from the time of Jesus illustrate this principle. (more…)

October 9, 2015

"My servants would fight"

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When Pontius Pilatus asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews and what He had done to be delivered up by His people and the chief priests, Jesus answered: "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here" (Johannes 18:36). (more…)

September 11, 2015

Our job interview with God

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Can you remember your first interview for a job? How did you feel? Perhaps frightened? Or perhaps apprehensive? Perhaps your potential boss looked like he had been sawed out of a piece of granite. Maybe he didn't smile or was not overly friendly. (more…)

September 4, 2015

Our walk together

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The prophet Amos tells us what us needed for people to walk together: "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed" (Amos 3:3). Our relationship with God – our calling as Christians to serve Him – is compared to a path that we walk with God. But whether or not we walk this path with other Christians depends on whether we "are agreed". (more…)

August 28, 2015

Do we love little or much?

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In Luke's gospel we find the story of a woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears as he sat as an inivted guest in a Pharisee's home. Then she dried His feet with her hair and anointed them with expensive oil (Luke 7:36-38). (more…)

August 21, 2015

"Follow my example!"

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If other brethren were unsure of the right thing to do concerning proper Christian behaviour, could you tell them to follow your example? That's what the apostle Paul told the Corinthians to do: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul's reference is interesting: "just as I also imitate Christ". (more…)

August 14, 2015

Our daily bread

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During the nearly seven years that I lived in the Philippines I often visited provincial churches. The normal diet of the Filipinos living in those areas, like many others in Asia, was different than our western diet. The basic daily food staple for them was rice. Some of them rarely ate bread, and eating unleavened bread during the spring festival was unusual for them in the sense that they rarely ate leavened bread. (more…)

August 7, 2015

Killers of Faith

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What undermines our faith? What destroys faith in the life of a Christian? We live in an age where Satan has influenced the culture of the day to destroy living faith. Doubt, fear, compromise and a lack of obedience all torpedo our convictions. (more…)

July 31, 2015

Appearance and reality

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In six weeks we will be keeping the Feast of Trumpets as the first of the fall Holy Days this year. Soon afterwards we will be observing the Feast of Tabernacles with our brethren. Most of us have kept God's feast days for many years, along with the weekly Sabbath. Have these days become a ritual for us? (more…)

July 24, 2015

God's shepherd rod

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The prophet Ezekiel wrote an interesting prophecy about the future of God's people Israel: (more…)

July 17, 2015

Love toward God and the fifth commandment

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When Jesus was asked about the great commandment in the law, His answer was: (more…)

July 10, 2015

Humility and service

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In his first epistle the apostle Peter exhorts us to be humble: (more…)

June 26, 2015

How do we respond when we are wronged?

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I once read about an employee in a butcher shop who was caught stealing some of his employer's meat products. (more…)

June 19, 2015

Noah’s day

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In His Olivet prophecy Jesus Christ said that the days prior to His return will be similar to Noah's day before the flood. What was the pre-flood world like? "The earth was filled with violence" (Genesis 6:13). (more…)

June 12, 2015

Our father in heaven

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Ever since man was created Satan has been trying to thwart the incredible potential that God has purposed for man. God has designed us to have a family relationship with Him. In 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, God is described as our Father, and when we become converted we become His sons and daughters. The relationship between God and humans is a family relationship. (more…)

June 5, 2015

Remember the Sabbath

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We find the Ten Commandments in two chapters of the Old Testament: Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. It is interesting to note the difference in these two lists concerning what we are to remember about the Sabbath. (more…)

May 29, 2015

The state of the temple

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During the Old Covenant period, God "dwelled" symbolically among the Israelites in the temple, in the rear room of the two rooms of the temple. It is interesting to note that the physical condition of the temple as God's dwelling place reflected the health of Israel's relationship to God. If the temple was in a state of disrepair, then Israel's relationship to God was not in the best condition, either. (more…)

May 22, 2015

Powerful pawns on God's chessboard

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We live in turbulent times. We are to battle every day until our Lord and Master Jesus Christ returns to this earth. In our personal battle we face a spirit world that affects our physical environment. At times we can lose hope when we consider the dimension of the battle we must fight in our Christian life. We realize then how weak we are. (more…)

May 15, 2015

True Freedom (2)

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"How else does the Truth of God make us free? What comes to mind? Let me know and we will continue our list at a later date." Here are your responses: (more…)

May 8, 2015

Pray for those in authority

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In his first letter to Timothy the apostle Paul exhorts us to pray for other people, and it is apparent that he means people who are not of our faith: "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority" (1 Timothy 2:12). (more…)

May 1, 2015

True Freedom (1)

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In a conversation with His fellow Jews Jesus Christ said: "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32). (more…)

April 24, 2015

Faithful stewards of holy time

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The Bible tells us what God did on the seventh day of creation week: "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Genesis 2:2-3). (more…)

April 17, 2015

"But not so among you!"

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It is hard to believe, but on the evening when Jesus kept the Passover with His disciples and gave them the New Covenant symbols of bread and wine, they had an argument about which of them would be considered the greatest (Luke 22:24). (more…)

March 27, 2015

Access to God

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Three of the four New Testament evangelists mention an event that occurred when Jesus died. Matthew describes it for us: "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:50-51). (more…)

March 20, 2015

Today's solar eclipse and heavenly signs

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In past times people did not know why the sun sometimes disappeared and fear was the result. There were superstitions explaining why this happened. In China, for example, it was thought that a large dragon or some other monster had swallowed the sun. Shouting and noise scared the beast off and the sun returned. (more…)

March 13, 2015

Missing the goal

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The apostle Paul tells us that the experience of the Israelites in leaving Egypt is an example for us: "All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (1 Corinthians 10:11). (more…)

March 6, 2015

Humility as a building block of fellowship

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Humility has a very positive influence on our relationships within the body of believers. Using the analogy of the human body in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul shows us that we are all "members" of the body of Christ, each with its particular "place" within the body. Humility promotes the smooth interaction of all members so we can achieve the purpose that God has given His church. (more…)

February 27, 2015

Mobbing prohibited

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When I visited my grandchildren's grade school in Texas a few months ago to eat lunch with them, I noticed several posters on the wall of the long hallway leading to the lunchroom. They all had the same wording: "Mobbing is a foreign language in this school." (more…)

February 20, 2015

"Watch therefore"

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In answering the question asked by His disciples about the sign of His return Jesus outlined developments in His Olivet prophecy that would lead to His return. How should we respond to Jesus' prophecy? (more…)

February 13, 2015

Fear, the mental paralysis

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Recently my four year old grandson Dylan asked me about zombies. He has never seen the television series "The Walking Dead", but it influences him anyway because there is almost a zombie mania in the USA among the fans of the show. He was apparently afraid of zombies, so I told him that they are just fantasy, they don't really exist and we don't need to be afraid of them. (more…)

February 6, 2015

The love of the truth

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In His Olivet prophecy Jesus warned His disciples three times concerning deception and false teachers. Aside from the exhortation to be watchful and vigilant, it is the most often mentioned topic in the prophecy. (more…)

January 30, 2015

Whose side are we on?

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God doesn't like indecisiveness. We see that in His reaction to the church at Laodicea, which considered itself to be spiritually advanced, but in God's eyes was neither warm nor cold – i. e., undecided. (more…)

January 23, 2015

Are we good listeners?

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As one of eight children I sometimes had difficulty making myself heard. My brothers (six of them) and my sister wanted to say something, too. So my mom would say: "You have twice as many ears as mouths, maybe you should listen more." (more…)

January 16, 2015

Spiritual Inventory

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At the end or beginning of the year many retail companies take inventory of their stock: What is the value of the goods on hand? How often do we as Christians take our "spiritual inventory" to determine our condition? (more…)

January 9, 2015

What's the difference?

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How does God describe those who are called today? In the apostle Peter's first letter we find an answer to this question: (more…)

January 2, 2015

Spiritual Body Builders

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Most of us are not body builders in the physical sense of the word. Others are. They spend a lot of time with their weights or at special conditioning machines, developing certain muscles or muscle groups. (more…)

December 26, 2014

When things don't go as planned

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A new year is about to begin, according to human time reckoning. Some look forward to the new year by making plans and resolutions. New year's resolutions, we call them. In order words, we have a wish: to purchase something, to change jobs or to improve ourselves. (more…)

December 19, 2014

God's guiding hand

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The Germans have a proverb: "Der Mensch denkt und Gott lenkt", meaning "We think and God guides". (more…)

December 12, 2014

A practical application of forgiveness

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We all are familiar with Jesus' admonition concerning the willingness to forgive, which we find at the end of the "Lord's prayer": "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15). (more…)

December 5, 2014

He who comes to God

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A song often song in some protestant churches says "Just as I am". Some interpret the refrain "Just as I am" to mean that God accepts us without any preconditions or without us having to meet certain requirements for a relationship with Him. The Bible contradicts this notion. (more…)

November 28, 2014

Modern Israelites?

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"And the people complained against Moses": This was not a one-time occurrence in the history of the Israelites in the wilderness after the exodus. In reality, though, the people were not complaining against Moses, but against God. (more…)

November 21, 2014

Acting on our own (Part 2)

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When Rebekah, Isaac's wife, was pregnant with her twins Esau and Jacob, God told her: "Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger" (Genesis 25:23). (more…)

November 14, 2014

Judge not

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In the sermon on the mount Jesus Christ warns us about being judgmental: "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (Matthew 7:1-2). Jesus doesn't mean that we cannot discern whether an action is righteous or not. (more…)

November 7, 2014

Acting on our own (Part 1)

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We all know how Abraham, acting on a suggestion made by his wife, tried to fulfill God's promise of a son with the maid Hagar. We find a similar example in the actions of Rebekah and Jacob, when the time came that Isaac wanted to bestow the birthright blessing on an heir. (more…)

October 31, 2014

Worthy in God's eyes

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When Saul was called on his way to Damascus, Jesus let him know that he would suffer in his service for the gospel: "I [Jesus] will show him [Saul] how many things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:16). (more…)

October 24, 2014

"When it comes to pass"

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Today there are those who think they know the exact dates for certain biblical prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. But does God intend prophecy for setting dates? Not really, at least if we take Jesus seriously. (more…)

September 26, 2014

"Your God will come"

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There is a joke about cemeteries being popular places, because people are just dying to get in there. However, spending time at the cemetery has never made the list of the top ten leisure activities. But in the state of Utah, in Salt Lake City, there is a grave that attracts many visitors. It is Matthew Robinson's grave, who died in February 1999 at the age of ten and a half years. (more…)

September 19, 2014

A source of strife

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In the sermon on the mount Jesus warns us about false teachers and in so doing gives us a general principle for recognizing the true source of something. (more…)

September 12, 2014

Are there thorns in your life?

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In the parable of the sower and the seed (Mathew 13:3-9) the seed sown by the sower also fell "among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them" (verse 7). Jesus explained this aspect of the parable in verse 22: "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful." An analysis of Jesus' words is very interesting. (more…)

September 5, 2014

The unverifiable healing

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On one occasion when Jesus preached in Capernaum, a handicapped person was brought to Him: "They came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven you” (Mark 2:3-5). (more…)

August 29, 2014

"O you of little faith"

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We all know the story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus had fed the 5000, he "made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away" (Matthew 14:22). After He sent the multitudes away, Jesus stayed to pray and was only ready to join His disciples after nightfall. By then their boat was "in the middle of the sea". (more…)

August 22, 2014

The unrecognized treasure

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In the summer of 1866 Daniel Jacobs, a South African farmer, asked his 15 year old son Erasmus to find him a thin branch. Jacobs needed the branch to unclog a stopped pipe. As Erasmus was looking for a suitable branch, he noticed a shiny stone in the sunlight. He picked it up and use it for several months in a game played with five stones. (more…)

August 15, 2014

The wisdom of God

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Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that his speech and preaching there at the time God used him to raise up the church "were not with persuasive words of human wisdom" (1 Corinthians 2:4). Paul emphasized the difference between human wisdom and Godly wisdom. (more…)

August 1, 2014

The new man

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In chapter 6 of his epistle to the Romans the apostle Paul compares baptism to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our "old man" dies and is buried in baptism, just as Christ died and was buried. Then we arise from the baptismal pool to "newness of life" (Romans 6:3-6). (more…)

July 25, 2014

Renewing our strength

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As God's called out ones, we are not to be of the world, but we live in the world (John 17:15-16). However, living in the world does not mean that we are immune to what happens around us. Today's world can be a discouraging place. (more…)

July 18, 2014

The beginning of sorrows

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When Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples about the signs of His promised return, He told them to look for a series of developments that would culminate in His 2nd coming. (more…)

July 11, 2014

Sanctified by Truth

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If you ask the average Christian what is the most important thing for a Christian, you might hear that love is the only thing that matters. After all, Jesus' disciples are to be recognized by their love for one another (John 13:34-35). Yes, that is true. But love is not the only characteristic of Jesus' disciples. (more…)

June 20, 2014

God's Jewels

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The prophet Malachi brought a message from God to the Jews in Judea at a time after the return of some of the Jews from Babylonian captivity and prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. (more…)

June 13, 2014

The Father's call

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How do we come to Jesus Christ? Do we just look for Him on our own and then find Him? That's what you hear at times in today's Christianity. But Jesus Himself contradicted this idea: "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). (more…)

June 6, 2014

Power and growth in knowledge

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Nearly 2000 years ago at this time of year a miracle occurred when the New Testament church was born. God poured out the holy spirit on the disciples. (more…)

May 30, 2014

Keep your heart

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King Solomon exhorts us in the Proverbs to be mindful of our heart, i.e. our general inward attitude: "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). We know that our heart is not the source of eternal life, so "life" in this verse pertains to living, our general quality of life. The Proverbs tell us what a positive effect a merry heart can have on our general outlook in life. (more…)

May 23, 2014

Speaking the same thing

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Because of its past as the capital of the British Empire it comes as no surprise that more languages are spoken today in London than in any other city of the world – more than 250 of them! When reading a statistic like this, who realizes that this variety of languages is not a human invention but rather the result of God's intervention? (more…)

May 9, 2014

Break with culture: Mary's testimony

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Among the Greeks, women held a near slave status. Wives were not allowed to eat with their husbands' guests nor to leave their house unescorted. Infanticide for baby girls was seen as justified. Women were looked upon as inferior and impure compared to men. (more…)

May 2, 2014

A lesson from the ant

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Diligence is a topic we find several times in the Bible, especially in the book of Proverbs. There diligence is often contrasted with the results of laziness in a picturesque way, as in Proverbs 10, verse 26: "As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him." (more…)

April 25, 2014

God's motivation

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Today there are motivational trainers for managers, employees, athletes and others. Motivational courses are designed to motivate people. What motivates God? (more…)

April 5, 2014

Our offering for God

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At this time of year we are reminded of offerings for God. (more…)

March 28, 2014

A famine of the word

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The prophet Amos foretold a time when people would search in vain for the word of God: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it" (Amos 8:11-12). (more…)

March 21, 2014

The love of God

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In the sermon on the mount Jesus referenced the love of a father in providing for his children to illustrate God's love: "What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him" (Matthew 7:9-11). (more…)

March 14, 2014

Winners and losers

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Jesus Christ warned his contemporaries about greed: "Take heed and beware of covetousness,[b] for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses"(Luke 12:15). (more…)

March 7, 2014

"Where are you?"

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We discover important lessons in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. One of those lessons involves the question that God asked Adam after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit. As we all know, God had prohibited them from partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (more…)

February 28, 2014

Who gets the credit?

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Years ago I heard someone say that you can achieve more in life if you aren't so concerned about who gets the credit. Some would disagree with that viewpoint, but there is a biblical example of a man who exemplified the principle. In his own way he made a considerable contribution to our New Testament. (more…)

February 21, 2014

The greatest pain

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The evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do not describe Jesus' suffering in the hours prior to His death in great detail, in contrast to the often very graphic portrayal of news events we can see every day on television. But the evangelist's contemporaries did not need a detailed description, because they were aware of the brutal methods of punishment used by the Romans. (more…)

February 14, 2014

Who defines love?

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There were two trees in the garden of Eden that represented two ways of life. They are in reality the only two ways of life that exist. (more…)

February 7, 2014

Values that vary

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In the garden of Eden our ancestors Adam and Eve decided to set their own standards for right and wrong, and for nearly 6000 years their descendants have followed their example. And in society, when the majority is willing to accept or tolerate something, then it becomes okay, although it was considered wrong in the past. (more…)

January 31, 2014

Pride comes before a fall

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In the garden of Eden Satan tempted Eve with an offer she could not refuse: "Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). (more…)

January 24, 2014

Out of sight, out of mind

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Just over four months after the Israelites left Egypt a human tendency reared its head among them that has bothered the people of God – physical and spiritual Israel – througout their history. After the Old Covenant was ratified, Moses was on mount Sinai for forty days and nights, receiving additional instruction from God. (more…)

January 17, 2014

He who has the Son

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A consistent message of the New Testament apostles is that we obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ. In his letter to Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul expressed it this way: "If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:10). (more…)

January 10, 2014

Remember the question at baptism

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When someone is baptized in the church of God, the minister asks the question: "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal saviour?" (more…)

January 3, 2014

Self-confidence or confidence in God?

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In some self-help books the importance of self-confidence is emphasized. We are told that failure is assured in our lives if we lack self-confidence. (more…)

December 27, 2013

In the world, but not of the world

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In His prayer prior to going to the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus mentioned His will for His followers: "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15). (more…)

December 6, 2013

Mythological interpretation of the Bible?

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The influence of ancient Greek culture on today's Christianity is evident for anyone who examines its teachings with an open mind. The "immortal soul" is "an idea utterly contrary to the Israelite consciousness and is nowhere found in the Old Testament" (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1960, Vol. 2, "Death," p. 812). (more…)

November 29, 2013

Perfect through suffering

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Trials and sufferings serve to purify our faith which is thereby shown to be genuine (1 Peter 1:6-7). Our faithfulness in trials shows God that we did not receive the word on stony ground (Matthew 13:20-21). (more…)

November 22, 2013

"Talk to me!"

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While standing in front of a statue of Christ in a cathedral, Swedish movie director Ingmar Bergman is reported to have said: "Talk to me!" Of course, God did not react to Bergman's request. (more…)

November 15, 2013

"If they kept My word"

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Jesus commissioned His church to preach the gospel, leading to people being made His disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). The wording of the commission shows that people will be called to baptism. That is true today as it has been for the last 2000 years. (more…)

November 8, 2013

Are you an oxymoron?

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Are you a passive Christian – someone who sits around passively in his relationship to God, waiting for God to intervene or impart a blessing? (more…)

November 1, 2013

Should we be surprised?

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How would you react if someone were to tell you: "The day of Jesus' return is set. It will take place at midnight on the Feast of Trumpets in the year 2020!" My mother's sense of humor might influence my reaction: "Congratulations! You are better informed than Jesus!" (more…)

October 25, 2013

"Is this not the carpenter?"

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After Jesus had started to preach, He came to Nazareth, where He had grown up as a child. He wanted to preach His message there, too, and Mark describes what happened. (more…)

October 18, 2013

"Sufficient for the day"

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There is a story about Francis of Assisi as he was working in his garden one day. Someone asked him what he would do if he should find out that he was going to die that very day before sunset. According to the story, Francis supposedly replied: "Finish working in my garden." (more…)

October 11, 2013

"Six days you shall labor"

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The fourth commandment does not only mention God’s directive for us to keep the seventh day holy as a day of rest, but also the admonition to work on the other six days of the week. (more…)

October 4, 2013

The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven

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After Jesus told the parable of the sower and the seed to a large group of people, His disciples asked Him: "Why do You speak to them in parables?" (Matthew 13:10). (more…)

September 13, 2013

Familiarity and the gospel

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"Familiarity breeds contempt" – a statement with proverbial character in the English language. Jesus Christ did not speak English during His earthly ministry, so He used different words to express this human tendency. (more…)

September 6, 2013

Rejection at home

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During the prophet Elijah's time God closed up the heavens for many months because of Israel's disobedience. The time came when Elijah could no longer be sustained in Israel, so God sent him to a widow to the north of Israel. (more…)

August 30, 2013

Zeal for God according to knowledge

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In the first three verses of Romans 10 the apostle Paul talks about his countrymen, the Jews. He tells his readers that they had great zeal for God, but their zeal was misdirected: "I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God" (verses 2-3). (more…)

August 23, 2013

Putting God first

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During the prophet Elijah's time God closed up the heavens for many months because of Israel's disobedience. The time came when Elijah could no longer be sustained in Israel, so God sent him to a widow to the north of Israel. (more…)

August 16, 2013

God's mustard seed

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Jesus set the tone for His disciples living in the world when He told them they would be a little flock: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lukas 12:32). Jesus’ words reflect several key aspects. (more…)

August 9, 2013

Manasseh's repentance: too little too late?

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Manasseh's change of heart in Babylonian captivity is one of the most remarkable examples of repentance in the Bible. God accepted Manasseh's repentance and allowed him to be king of Judah again. (more…)

August 2, 2013

A merciful God

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God tells us through the prophet Jeremiah that He will react to heartfelt repentance: "The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it" (Jeremiah 18:7-8). (more…)

July 26, 2013

Half full or half empty?

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Most of us have seen the question asked in advertizing, with a picture of a glass filled half full with water. The answer to the question is a matter of individual perspective. What about God’s heroes in the faith? (more…)

July 19, 2013

Love is an action verb

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What is love? A lot of people think love is a strong emotional feeling toward another person. That may be true to some degree, in human terms. (more…)

July 12, 2013

A building block of good health

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We all wish for ourselves what the apostle John wishes his readers in his 3rd epistle: "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (3 John 1:2). We all would like to be in good health. Where does good health start? With exercise and proper nutrition? (more…)

July 5, 2013

The sixth commandment

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Most, if not all Christians would say that they don't have any problem with the sixth commandment: "You shall not murder." But do we realize that we all have a potential "weapon" at our disposal that could cause us problems with the sixth commandment? What "weapon" is that? (more…)

June 21, 2013

Reaching the finish line

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The apostle Paul compared the life of a Christian to a race run by a trained athlete competing for a prize: "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? . . . They do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown" (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). (more…)

June 14, 2013

Knowing enough about the future

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What will happen in the coming months and years with Europe's common currency, the euro? For some time now various conflicting "expert opinions" on the future of the euro zone are being circulated. (more…)

June 7, 2013

Knowledge by itself is insufficient

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The flood of 2002 in Germany and the Czech Republic was called a "century flood". It had a big effect on the city of Grimma in the German state of Saxony ("Sachsen"). (more…)

May 24, 2013

The highest price

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There are people willing to pay a very high price for things when others would question whether the price is justified. (more…)

May 17, 2013

God's firstfruits

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The firstfruits of God's plan are those who are called now, in this age, and are having their minds and attitudes changed to become like Jesus Christ through God’s Spirit working within them. (more…)

May 10, 2013

A remedy for sleepiness

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Do you think that the New Testament warnings against sleepiness apply to you? Could you one day be among those who are surprised by the return of Jesus Christi – as if surprised by a thief in the night? (more…)

May 3, 2013

The sower and the seed

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Judging by the title, one might think that this week's message is about the first great parable in Matthew 13. No, this message is not about the sower and his seed of the gospel. It is about us and the principle of cause and effect. (more…)

April 26, 2013

Our exemplary friend

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"Trouble shared is trouble halved, and joy shared is twice the joy" is a saying in German. Israel's King Solomon wrote something similar 3000 years ago. (more…)

April 19, 2013

Wisdom for future kings and priests

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There are people who are called "know it alls". They appear to be full of wisdom, giving (unsolicited) advice. For those among us who aren't as fully developed, the apostle James has some encouraging advice. (more…)

April 12, 2013

The name of the Lord

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In a prophecy about the day of the Lord the prophet Joel wrote under divine inspiration: "Whoever calls on the name of the LORD [YHVH] shall be saved" (Joel 2:32). The apostles recognized what the name of the Lord is by which we have salvation. (more…)

March 22, 2013

A challenging one-way street

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When we drive en route to a destination, one-way streets can be along our route. Even though the traffic flows in only one direction, some one-way streets can be difficult to navigate. (more…)

March 8, 2013

The willingness to wash feet

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Washing people's feet in Jesus' day was a task normally performed by a lowly house servant. Jesus used the foot washing to illustrate His attitude of humility and His willingness to serve not only His disciples, but all people. (more…)

March 1, 2013

Our highest priority

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Priorities are important to God. We see that in the sequence of the Ten Commandments, which begin with these words: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:2-3). (more…)

February 22, 2013

The physician and His model patient

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As we all know, Jesus said that the righteous do not need the physician, but sinners do. The occasion for His comment was a festive meal to which Jesus had been invited. (more…)

February 15, 2013

Despised but blessed

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In an exchange with the chief priests and elders of the Jews Jesus said that those individuals despised by the Jews would enter the kingdom of God before the religious leaders with whom He spoke. Who were those despised individuals? They were whores and tax collectors (Matthew 21:31-32). (more…)

January 31, 2013

A soft answer

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David's men had accompanied Nabal's shepherds for days, who were watching over his 3000 sheep. The shepherds confirmed the assistance provided by David's men: "The men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields. They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep" (1 Samuel 25:15-16). (more…)

January 25, 2013

In good company

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Do you sometimes ask yourself why your example doesn't the people who know you to praise God? Jesus tells us, His disciples, that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). He expects us to let our "light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (verse 16). (more…)

January 18, 2013

Less can be more

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This week's "confession" of a professional cyclist in an American talk show was a reminder of what is most important for some in athletic competition and what they will do for it: to have more than the competition. More speed, more endurance, more strength. (more…)

January 11, 2013

God knows our limit

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The story of Job shows us important lessons about suffering and our relationship with God. At the beginning of the book we see that God knows His servant Job quite well. In a conversation with Satan God asks His adversary: "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" (Job 1:8). (more…)

January 4, 2013

God is a social being

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On the sixth day of "re-creation" week God told Adam to name all the animals. Afterwards God said: "It is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18). (more…)

December 28, 2012

God, our partner

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God told Noah to build the ark so human life would be able to survive the flood. Animals were also supposed to survive: "And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive" (Genesis 6:19-20). (more…)

December 21, 2012

Love of neighbor and love of God

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When a Pharisee asked Jesus which commandment is the greatest in the law, Jesus did not give just one law as an answer, but two: "Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). (more…)

December 14, 2012

To whom much is forgiven

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We get to know the apostle Paul via his epistles. We learn that his awareness of his sinful past accompanied him through life. (more…)

November 30, 2012

"For you are all one in Christ Jesus"

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Imagine that you are living in 53 A.D. and you are attending Sabbath services in your local congregation. During the service a letter from your pastor is read to the congregation. (more…)

November 16, 2012

It will all work out

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Abraham "is the father of us all" (Romans 4:16), because "the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith" (verse 13). Abraham received that promise while he was still uncircumcised (verse 12). (more…)

November 9, 2012

"Honor the king"

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The presidential election in America is now over. Those who supported Barack Obama are happy and Mitt Romney's supporters are disappointed. (more…)

November 2, 2012

God's "All Saints' Day"

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"All Saints' Day" is a church festival commemorating all saints. With the increasing number of church saints over the centuries, it became impossible to remember every saint on an individual day, with the result being an "All Saints' Day". (more…)

October 26, 2012

Our great privilege

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Some 1450 years before Jesus' birth the Levitical priesthood was established in Israel. Among their duties the priests offered sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people of Israel. (more…)

October 12, 2012

The "feast" lies ahead

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Are you experiencing "post-Feast letdown" after returning home from this year's Feast of Tabernacles? (more…)

September 21, 2012

Celebrating Jesus' resurrection

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Have you ever been asked the question, "Why don't you celebrate Jesus' resurrection?" That question was once the reaction to my comment that I do not celebrate Easter. The other person assumed that Jesus' resurrection wasn't all that important for me. (more…)

September 14, 2012

A letter from death row

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Did you know that one of the books of the New Testament is like a letter from death row? It is the apostle Paul's second epistle to Timothy. Paul had been arrested, most likely as a result of the Christian persecution initiated by the Roman emperor Nero in 64 A.D. (more…)

September 7, 2012

The apostles' doctrine

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On the day of Pentecost in 31 A.D. the apostle Peter gave a sermon that convicted many of his listeners: "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:41). Those first Christians didn't just accept Peter's word on that day, "they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (verse 42). (more…)

August 31, 2012

Don't lose sight of the goal

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Success in life depends on setting goals for ourselves. (more…)

August 24, 2012

What do you see?

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Jesus told His disciples that they were privileged to see things other did not see: "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it" (Luke 10:23-24). (more…)

August 17, 2012

For the man (or woman) who has it all

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What do you give someone who has it all? Sometimes you find this question in advertizing for gift ideas. Yes, there are people who seem "to have it all." (more…)

August 10, 2012

Ambassadors for Christ

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Christians are familiar with the apostle Paul's reference to believers being ambassadors for Christ. (more…)

August 3, 2012

The absolute standard

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How far have we come in our relationship with God? How should we measure our progress? (more…)

July 27, 2012

A pillar in God's Temple (part 2)

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Jesus Christ promised the faithful brethren in the ancient congregation of Philadelphia that they would be pillars in God’s future temple: "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more" (Revelation 3:12). (more…)

July 20, 2012

A pillar in God's Temple (part 1)

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Probably everyone who will read these lines has seen a photo of the Acropolis in Athens with the famed Parthenon. This ancient temple has been a part of the Athens' skyline for about 2500 years. (more…)

July 14, 2012

The unmentioned imaginary third son

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Jesus used a parable to illustrate the wrong attitude of the Jewish elders and high priests. He talked about a father and his two sons. (more…)

July 7, 2012

Wants and needs

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Do we know the difference between wants and needs? As Christians we should know the difference if we don't want to be overcome by the materialism of our age. (more…)

June 22, 2012

"Are you going to die soon?"

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That was the question that my five year old granddaughter Maia asked me this week when she found out that I am 61 years old. After all, 61 years is pretty old when you are only five years old yourself! (more…)

June 15, 2012

Do you have a "doctrinal drawer?"

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You probably have never heard of a "doctrinal drawer." But all Christians need one in their walk with God – and one another. (more…)

June 8, 2012

How sleepy are you?

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The Olivet prophecy is recorded in Matthew 24. There we find the signs given by Jesus that will precede His return to this earth. Near the end of the chapter Jesus exhorts his disciples to be vigilant: "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (verse 44). (more…)

May 25, 2012

The flesh is willing . . .

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. . . but our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41)! Humanly speaking, no matter how hard we try not to, we still sin. (more…)

May 18, 2012

Our words and interpersonal relationships

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When Jesus Christ was asked about the greatest commandment in the law, He answered concerning the second great commandment: "And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). (more…)

May 11, 2012

Stay positive!

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How do we react when something goes wrong? (more…)

April 27, 2012

Is it worth it?

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The gospels tell us that Jesus' disciples accepted their calling to follow him. They were with him constantly, which was not unusual back then for the students of great teachers. (more…)

March 30, 2012

Christ, our Passover

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In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul wrote that "Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." This statement holds profound meaning for Christians. (more…)

March 23, 2012

Admitting our mistakes

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Everyone makes mistakes. That is part of being human. (more…)

March 16, 2012

"Abba, Father"

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In his letter to the church at Rome the apostle Paul highlights the special relationship that we have with our heavenly Father via the holy spirit. (more…)

March 9, 2012

Leaving the past behind

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In four weeks we will keep the Passover and remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins. (more…)

March 2, 2012

This, too, shall pass away

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Life has its peaks and valleys. When we go through a valley of disappointment, remember that time is a great healer. (more…)

February 10, 2012

Christian sustainability

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In the last 40 years or so the term "sustainability" has gained importance relative to the earth’s natural resources, the global economy and individual business undertakings. (more…)

January 27, 2012

"A cloud of witnesses"

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The world we live in seems designed to undermine faith. (more…)

December 30, 2011

"Honor the king"

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In his first epistle the apostle Peter reminds us of our calling to be pilgrims in this life. (more…)

December 23, 2011

The resurrected Jesus Christ

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At this time of year traditional Christianity celebrates the birth of Christ. (more…)

December 9, 2011

Worthy to open the first seal

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The centerpiece of the prophetic message of the book of Revelation is a scroll sealed with seven seals. (more…)

December 2, 2011

Out of the valley

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Everyone experiences discouragement in life. Even King David, who knew spiritual triumphs in his life, had emotional struggles. (more…)

November 25, 2011

Heroes known only to God

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One of the striking images of the post-World War II era is that of German chancellor Konrad Adenauer at America’s Arlington National Cemetery on his first visit to America less than 10 years after World War II. (more…)

November 18, 2011

"Strike the shepherd"

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Inspired by God, the prophet Zechariah gave a prophecy that is also a spiritual principle: "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered" (Zechariah 13:7). (more…)

November 11, 2011

The right foundation

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After cleansing the temple in Jerusalem for the first time, Jesus was asked by the Jews what sign there was for His authority for having taken action. (more…)

November 4, 2011

The right offering

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23 years ago I was in the Philippines for the first time on "Good Friday." I was on a church visit to Naga City in southern Luzon. (more…)

October 28, 2011

After the feast is before the feast

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There is a saying in German politics: "After the election is before the election." (more…)

September 30, 2011

The elect "to the rescue"

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All people alive today owe their existence in one sense to one righteous man, Noah. (more…)

September 23, 2011

Sleepless nights

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Sooner or later most people experience a sleepless night or two. (more…)

September 16, 2011

Two summary statements for our life

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We find two possible summary statements in the Bible for our life as a description of our walk with God. (more…)

September 9, 2011

The game is not over yet

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The most exciting games in sports are often those when the underdog doesn’t give up but keeps on playing hard and then takes the lead in the final minutes to win the game. (more…)

September 2, 2011

Don’t sorrow "as others" do

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The apostle Paul spent about three weeks in Thessalonica before the Jews there incited a riot, causing him to leave the city (Acts 17:2-8). (more…)

August 26, 2011

In every situation

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Imagine that your world would be turned upside down unexpectedly. (more…)

August 19, 2011

What we are thankful for?

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Have you ever thought about the importance of being thankful? Thankfulness is an antidote for worries! (more…)

August 12, 2011

The rest of the story

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When the apostle Paul went to Corinth to preach the gospel, he encountered opposition from the Jews. (more…)

August 5, 2011

"Pray for us"

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While in Corinth, the apostle Paul asked the church in Thessalonica to pray for him. Did God hear the Thessalonians' prayer? (more…)

July 15, 2011

The "unplucked chicken" (part 2)

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Jesus tells us what to do when we have to "pluck a proverbial chicken" with our brother. (more…)

July 8, 2011

The "unplucked chicken" (part 1)

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In German we have a saying, "ein Huhn mit jemandem rupfen," meaning to pluck a chicken with someone. The expression means to correct the person or discuss something wrong that the person did. (more…)

June 24, 2011

The body of Christ

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Yesterday was "Corpus Christi" in Germany, a holiday in the federal states that are predominantly Roman Catholic. (more…)

June 17, 2011

Are we with Him until the end of the age?

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After His resurrection Jesus told His disciples: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). (more…)

June 10, 2011

What if . . .?

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On this Sunday we will observe the Feast of Pentecost, the third of seven annual Sabbaths in God’s Holy Day calender and the second of the three major festival seasons during the year. (more…)

June 3, 2011

The biblical "Father’s day"

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In Germany yesterday was a national holiday, "Ascension day," the day ten days prior to Pentecost when Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:1-12). (more…)

May 27, 2011

The "work" of unity

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In a world full of strife and contention the words of King David almost seem to be utopian: "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity" (Psalm 133:1). (more…)

May 20, 2011

The new Messiah?

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Will Jesus Christ return tomorrow? (more…)

May 6, 2011

"With Liberty and Justice for all"

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The concluding words of America’s "Pledge of Allegiance" come to mind when reading German news media commentaries on the death of Osama Bin Laden. (more…)

April 29, 2011

"Go forward" confidently

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The first Feast of Unleavened Bread must have been quite an experience for the Israelites! (more…)

April 1, 2011

"Be sober, be vigilant"

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The apostle Peter tells us to "be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). (more…)

March 18, 2011

"Those poor Galileans"

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Just like six years ago following the tsunami in South Asia, the world watches the tragic events in Japan following the massive earthquake and resulting tsunami there. (more…)

March 11, 2011

Jerusalem in end time prophecy

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We all know that Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the time of the end and His return. (more…)

March 4, 2011

Our Passover lamb

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When John the Baptist saw "Jesus as He walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:36). (more…)

February 25, 2011

Are we "willing to yield?"

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The apostle James tells us what the characteristics of Godly wisdom are – the wisdom that He imparts to us: "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17) (more…)

February 11, 2011

The "price" of salvation: two deaths

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The Bible tells that us that all human beings (except, of course, Jesus Christ) have sinned: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) (more…)

February 4, 2011

The "orphan express"

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The United States is a country of immigrants. The "land of opportunity" provided millions of immigrants a new home and a new life. (more…)

January 28, 2011

Spiritual sensitivity

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There are medical conditions that destroy nerves, such as leprosy, injuries to the spinal cord and diabetes, to name a few. (more…)

January 14, 2011

The quiet after the storm

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Have you ever noticed how pleasant the weather seems after a storm has passed? (more…)

January 7, 2011

The accuser of the brethren (part 2 of 2 parts)

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Last week I mentioned how Satan can affect our attitude with his accusations: "He turns one or two to envy, jealousy and resentment over an imagined injustice (‘Look what God did!’)—then into disloyalty" (Mystery of the Ages, pages 85-86, hard copy version). (more…)

January 1, 2011

The accuser of the brethren (part 1 of 2 parts)

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The book of Revelation tells us that there will be a time before the return of Jesus Christ to this earth when Satan the Devil will be cast down to the earth, "having great wrath" (Revelation 12:12). (more…)

December 24, 2010

Let go and let God

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Several years ago I heard a story about a man who got into an elevator in a large hotel. (more…)

December 17, 2010

"Blessed are you if you do them"

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When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus if He were a king, Jesus answered: "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born" (John 18:37). (more…)

December 10, 2010

"Not by might"

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When we as individuals or as a church encounter challenges, what do we look to or consider as a means of overcoming or solving the problem? (more…)

December 4, 2010

"Resist the devil"

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We are called to be overcomers. What do we overcome? (more…)

November 26, 2010

"Wrestle with the Lord" (Part 2 of 2 parts)

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There are times in our walk with God when we "rest in the Lord" because we wait for His intervention to change to things that we cannot change ourselves. (more…)

November 19, 2010

"Rest in the Lord" (Part 1 of 2 parts)

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Some 15 years ago a book was published by a well-known German journalist with the title "Der Ehrliche ist der Dumme" ("He who is honest is the stupid one"). (more…)

November 12, 2010

"Carbonated or non-carbonated?"

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When you order mineral water in a restaurant, the question asked by the waiter is usually: "Would you like your water with or without gas?" (i. e., carbonated or non-carbonated). (more…)

November 5, 2010

What can I learn from this?

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There is a mentality some Christians have that says that whenever something bad happens to us God is punishing us for our sins. (more…)

October 29, 2010

A strong cable from a thin string

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In January 1848 when engineers wanted to build the first suspension bridge across the Niagara River near Niagara Falls in New York, they needed to get a cable across the 240 meter span of the river at a point 60 meters above the river. (more…)

October 22, 2010

Acts"R"Us (Part 2 of 2 parts)

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Many are familiar with the American toy store Toys"R"Us, which simply means "Toys Are Us," i.e., "Toys are what we do." (more…)

October 15, 2010

Acts"R"Us (Part 1 of 2 parts)

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Many are familiar with the American toy store Toys"R"Us, which simply means "Toys Are Us," i.e., "Toys are what we do." (more…)

October 8, 2010

"Given to hospitality"

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In describing how Christians should interact with each other, the apostle Paul wrote that we should be "distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality" (Romans 12:13). (more…)

September 17, 2010

A world built on lies

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The real god of this "present evil world" (Galatians 1:4) is Satan the Devil (2 Corinthians 4:4). (more…)

September 10, 2010

Trumpets and faith

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Theologians have analyzed the prophecies of the Bible and determined that there are more than 100 prophecies predicting that Jesus would come to this earth. (more…)

September 3, 2010

Redeem the time

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In the parable of the sower and the seed we learn something about one of Satan’s favorite tactics. (more…)

August 27, 2010

Building the temple

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God calls the Israelites of the Old Testament a stiff-necked people. (more…)

August 20, 2010

Remember your Creator

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The fall festival season is about to begin with the Feast of Trumpets on September 9. (more…)

August 12, 2010

The importance of prayer

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As Christians we all know that prayer is an important part of our relationship with God. (more…)

August 6, 2010

Gentleness is Godliness

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We look forward to the time, according to the Scriptures, when we will do what we have been called to become – kings and priests (civil and religious leaders) in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 5:10). (more…)

July 31, 2010

Seek wisdom

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If you could chose whatever you want for this life, what would you choose? (more…)

July 23, 2010

3rd key: Appreciate the calling of God’s firstfruits

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How well do we work with one another in the church of God? (more…)

July 16, 2010

2nd key:  Let another man praise you 

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How well do we work with one another in the church of God? (more…)

July 9, 2010

1st key: Honor God

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How well do we work with one another in the church of God? (more…)

July 2, 2010

As we have opportunity

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Have you ever had this experience? Someone dies – a loved one, a friend – and after the person's death we think about the good things the person has done. (more…)

June 25, 2010

Love in a lawless world

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Have you noticed that it seems more difficult for people to agree on things and have positive comments about each other? (more…)

June 18, 2010

The sure word of prophecy

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As Christians we do not base our lives on prophecy, but instead on the only foundation that can be laid – Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). (more…)

June 11, 2010

The light of the world

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Cities normally are illuminated at night, clearly visible even from space. (more…)

June 4, 2010

Be prepared to answer

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"Making disciples" is a responsibility that ensures the survival of the church by sharing the Truth with the next generation. (more…)

May 28, 2010

The "cycle" of the gospel

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Just a few days ago on Pentecost we were reminded of the birth of the New Testament church. (more…)

May 21, 2010

Pentecost and Jesus’ promise

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On Sunday we celebrate Pentecost and are reminded of the outpouring of God’s holy spirit on the disciples. (more…)

May 14, 2010

"Team building" as co-workers

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Jesus referred to His disciples as His "friends" and encouraged them to "love one another" (John 15:12-17). (more…)

May 7, 2010

"Spur one another on towards love"

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It is not easy to be a Christian in the 21st century. (more…)

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.

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