Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer and editor. She maintains a faith and lifestyle blog graceandgrowing.com, where she muses about the Lord, life, culture, and ministry.
Several Bible verses, including a parable from Jesus, shows the Bible does assert Sheol was understood before the death and resurrection of Jesus as the afterlife, a place to hold the souls of those who died.
There are many lessons to learn from the marriage of Moses and Zipporah about leadership, communication, and how there can be unintended consequences to zealous obedience.
When someone hurts another individual, they can go in person and ask for forgiveness. But how does one approach the God of the universe and admit to wrong doing?
An idol is inanimate. At best, worshipping a false god is worshipping a rock given a personality through human imagination. At worst, it is open rebellion against God by choosing to worship an evil entity – an entity that does not have power over the earth, just to deceive.
To be given life is the single greatest gift every person and living creature received, or will receive, from Almighty God. Life is years of opportunity to develop a relationship with God, with others, and to serve the Lord and other people.
Though it is not yet fully known by people, God created this world with a purpose, and has a plan for the individuals to whom He endowed this special gift. Because of sin, people live behind a spiritual veil, and there are many mysteries about life that seem to go unanswered. While some of the questions will not be answered until God answers them directly, the Bible does provide a great deal of insight about the importance of life, how to live it, and how much He wants His creation to live life for Him in joy and gratitude.
Life is a special opportunity to experience grace, to serve, and to have an impact in eternity through a relationship with the Creator of all things.
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The Bible is full of poems, parables, and prophecy as part of a larger story about God’s plan for humanity. Over the course of thousands of years recorded in the Word, different writers and prophets check in on one particular family - the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob. This family is the Messianic line from whom Jesus would descend.
The Book of 1 Samuel is one of those books that focuses back on a specific member of the line, David, and his place in history. 1 Samuel, and its companion 2 Samuel, are believed to be the product of the titular individual, the prophet Samuel.
In this book of the Bible, there is first-hand information about one of God’s great prophets, its first king, and the feats of one of its greatest kings. Reading 1 Samuel gives a glimpse into how God works and who the Messiah would be.
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“Never ask God for patience, or else He will give it to you.” This sentiment is a common joke among many who note that when someone wants to grow in patience, they experience difficult situations that force them to be more patient.
Characterized by the ability to face trying, hard, or annoying experiences without getting angry, upset, or lashing out, patience may be one of the Biblical traits humans struggle with the most. In today’s world, it seems almost everything is designed to test patience. Traffic. 24-hour-news cycles. Other people.
God calls His people to be more like Jesus, who demonstrated great patience during His earthly ministry. By studying Christ’s example, understanding what the Bible says about patience, and personal examination, one can grow in Biblical patience, even if it is a struggle.
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Understanding the lives of the people featured in the Bible can help Christians understand God’s plan for their own lives and the world. Some of them led exciting lives as kings, travelling hundreds of miles and exploring other cultures, or performing miracles to bring glory to God. Others live much quieter lives, with only one or two moments that shine with God’s presence compared to others.
One of the great patriarchs of Israel was Isaac, son of Abraham and father of Jacob. Compared to the Father of Nations and a man who wrestled with God, Isaac can be easily overlooked. Careful study shows a character whose life foreshadowed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, teaches faith in things unseen, and serves to show the importance of good parenting. Isaac may not have called down fire from Heaven or parted the Red Sea, but he loved his God and is someone to whom believers today can relate.
The Book of Genesis details the entire life of Isaac. He was a miracle child, greatly desired by his parents Abraham and Sarah. They were advanced in years, and never had children. Sarah was ninety and Abraham was 100 when he was born. Isaac was such a miracle, that Sarah laughed at the very idea that she would have a baby when a messenger from God told Abraham about it:
“Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’” (Genesis 17:11-12).
Her despair reached such depths she encouraged Abraham to have a child with her handmaid Hagar, who conceived a son named Ishmael. After Isaac’s birth, tensions began to build between the two women and the half-brothers. At Sarah’s encouragement, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away, with God’s promise that He would take care of them.
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At a casual glance, looking at the Bible from an earthly frame of mind, God’s behavior and character can appear different in the Old Testament compared to the New Testament. Many dismiss and reject God and a Biblical worldview because of a perception that God is only benevolent and kind in the second half of the book, while displaying a violent and wrathful temperament in the first half. Jesus seems so kind as He heals the blind and raises Lazarus from the dead, while Jehovah sent a cataclysmic flood to wipe out humanity and seemed to allow people groups to be eliminated on a whim.
Further study about the character of God, man’s sinful nature, and God’s overall plan for bringing humanity closer to Him and His character reveals that God’s nature has remained consistent, loving, and holy. God is not violent, rather, both a merciful savior and a righteous judge simultaneously.
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The Book of Revelation gives many wondrous glimpses into the future. It is full of images that chill and terrify, as well as uplift and give great hope to those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
The Apostle John wrote down everything shown to him through visions while he lived in exile on the island of Patmos. One of those visions was of the greatest wedding feast to ever occur, known as the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. In attendance are countless multitudes from every corner of the world, and the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus. After being shown this prophecy, John was told what it was.
“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God’” (Revelation 19:9). This feast will take place when all of the church, often compared to a bride, has been taken up to Heaven, with everyone united with their Savior, the bridegroom.
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