2 Biblical Solutions to Fear

two ways to overcome fear

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. -Luke 12:4-7

When I was a boy and one of our friends hurt themselves, we had a trick to help them with the pain, “Hey, do you want me get the pain in your finger to go away?” And then we would punch them in the arm so that their arm would hurt more than their finger, thus making them forget the pain in their finger.

Humans naturally pay attention to whatever is causing, or has the ability to cause, the most pain. Jesus knows this, so he reminds us all that the one who can cause us the most pain is actually God himself. Continue reading 2 Biblical Solutions to Fear

An Excerpt from Intertwined

Mark Ballenger
(Click the image to learn more.)

Never in the Bible is there a miracle without a mess. Jesus never heals anyone who isn’t first sick. He never quiets calm waters. He never produces food for people who already have enough. God always displays his glory in a miraculous way by first allowing a massive problem to arise. He doesn’t do miracles for entertainment purposes or to produce tingles on our necks. His purpose is always to display the power of Jesus to save.

Without A Death Their Can’t Be A Resurrection

God loves us so much that he allows short-term pain in our lives to display his glory which then produces long-term joy. I think this is what Jesus was trying to teach us through the raising of Lazarus:

3 So the sisters [Mary and Martha] sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.” (John 11:3-6)

To most of us, the phrase “the one you love is sick” seems like an oxymoron. If Jesus loves Lazarus, why the heck is he sick? We naturally associate easy external circumstances with God’s pleasure towards us and hard external circumstances with God’s displeasure towards us. Continue reading An Excerpt from Intertwined

Freedom from the Riot

Acts 19:23-29
Acts 19:23-29

Each of us has those untouchable topics in our life. Whenever they are brought up, whenever we are confronted there, or whenever that certain itch is not scratched, being “enraged” and “crying out” (Acts 19:28) is sure to follow.

We don’t want to yell at our spouse when they confront our eating habits. We don’t want to go into a rage when our kids break a window . . . again. Nobody wants to get into the car after a long day’s work to then fume in fury as we sit helplessly in traffic. Nobody wants to rage and yell, and yet we do far more often than we would like to admit. Why? Continue reading Freedom from the Riot

9 Biblical Ways to Avoid Being Deceived By a Leader

How to avoid being deceived by others
(Note: Most of AGW’s content is much shorter. I’ve categorized this piece under “sermons” due to its length.)

In Genesis 20, Abimelech was deceived by Abraham. Abraham lied to Abimelech about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife. In Genesis 20:18 we see that Abimelech was negatively impacted by the deceit of Abraham. Abimelech did nothing but believe the words of Abraham, and yet God did not spare Abimelech of the consequences of following Abraham’s lies.

Likewise, when we are deceived by others and thus participate in their wrong doings, either inadvertently or otherwise, God still holds each of us accountable for doing the right things regardless if we were duped or not.

In short, God expects all of us to avoid being deceived by others. Thankfully, we can learn from Genesis 20:1-18 on how to avoid falling for the lies of others. Continue reading 9 Biblical Ways to Avoid Being Deceived By a Leader

Escaping Our Prison through His Payment

Mark Ballenger

In 2006 I was living in Liberia doing missionary work. This West African country was rebuilding from a civil war which lasted over a decade. There was still a somber feeling in the air. It felt like everywhere you went the local people where internally recovering from the atrocities they witnessed firsthand on the very ground we stood. Continue reading Escaping Our Prison through His Payment

What Does the Bible Say About Judging Others?

What does the Bible Say About Judging Others?
Matthew 7:1-6

The Bible states that there are two ways to judge others. One way is to judge their motives, which is sinful. The other way is to judge their actions, which is right to do. Sadly, people often mistake what the Bible actually says about judging others by misapplying one of these truths.

Perhaps one of the most widely read passages of the Bible on judging others is Matthew 7:1-6. Let’s look deeper into this passage to better understand what the Bible really says about judging others.

Continue reading What Does the Bible Say About Judging Others?

To Love Well, We Must Learn People’s Backstory

How to love people Mark Ballenger
John 5:1-6

It was a hot, sticky day just last summer. It was my day off from work and I had a rare few hours to myself as my wife and kids were out with friends. So despite the sun being at its hottest point, I decided to head up to the outdoor basketball courts to get some exercise. Hoping to play a few pickup games, I was disappointed to find no one at the courts. I guess most people are too smart to play basketball at this time of day during the hottest point of the year . . . . Continue reading To Love Well, We Must Learn People’s Backstory

Praying About Your Prayers

Praying about your prayers
Psalm 19:14, Romans 12:3, Psalm 119:36-37, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Before my wife and I were married, we dated long distance for over a year. We would drive eight hours to see each other around every two weeks, but of course we wanted to connect more than that. Phone conversations were the next best thing.

Looking back, perhaps one of the best foundations to our marriage was that year of dating where we were forced to connect with one another through conversation. As humans, having conversations is essential to building deep relationships. The same is true with our walk with God.

As Christians, we all know we should pray more than we do and talk with God as his word instructs us to. But how can we pray more? Being disciplined and just deciding in your heart to pray more is certainly not the worst thing you can do. But perhaps there’s a better way.

The Bible explains that before we will truly have the desire to seek God we must ask God for that desire. To have a passionate prayer life, we must pray to God for a passionate pray life. Continue reading Praying About Your Prayers