Exams 

Jim Gallagher

2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”

This verse carries two vital commands. First, we are told to examine ourselves, then we are told to test ourselves. Both carry the idea of looking at our lives in the light of the Word of God, to determine whether or not we are truly saved. Not all exams are of equal importance, but this is a test we must not avoid, or fail. What is at stake is not a low-grade in class, or the possibility of summer school, but where we will spend eternity.

“Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”

The first question on the test is whether or not you have received Christ. John wrote, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave…

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Where Are You Headed? 

Jim Gallagher

Ecclesiastes 2:24

“Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.”

A few years ago, I stumbled across a pretty cool website designed to help create photo albums. In a few minutes, I was able to design a picture book capturing a recent family trip. Ecclesiastes is a bit like a photo album, capturing the travels of Solomon, in pursuit of the meaning of life. Solomon had the unique combination of great wealth and intellect. As a result, nothing was beyond his reach as he searched for the meaning of life, in the midst of living. His journeys took him down many different roads. Sadly, he found no matter what road he traveled, he seemed to end at the same destination. A place he called “Vanity…

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How I See It

Jim Gallagher

Ecclesiastes 1:2 

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

Most of us have heard the description of optimism verses pessimism, where we look at the glass as either half full or half empty. Reading the words of Solomon, he seems to have become a guy who believes the glass is not only empty, but is broken and shards of glass are protruding into his skin. His assessment of life is that it is empty and nothing can make it better. He has come to this conclusion by observing nature and his own personal experiences. Looking at nature, he found, no matter what happens, the sun still rises, and though the rivers run into the sea, it never overflows. His personal experience showed him that no matter how much he looks, his eyes still desire to see more. I can’t really fault Solomon. I think…

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Visions Of Grace 

Jim Gallagher

2 Corinthians 12:9

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Every few years someone writes a book about how they died, went to heaven, and returned to tell about their experiences. The story usually includes something about radiant light, warm feelings, and the awareness of all their loved ones awaiting their arrival. The authors are heralded as experts on the subject of the after-life and their books often become best sellers. Two thousand years ago Paul had an experience where he was “caught up” into heaven. As he reluctantly relates his story, two things stand out to me.

2 Corinthians 12:4 “. . . how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

Rather than giving a detailed description of heaven, Paul explains that it would be unlawful to…

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Poison 

Jim Gallagher

Job 42:10

“And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

Job lost his health, wealth, family and friends, yet he “Did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22),No matter what the devil threw at him, he remained faithful to the Lord. When his wife told him he should curse God and die, he responded, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”(Job 2:10)  We are told “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” However, by the end of the book, Job, in fact, sinned and charged God with doing wrong. It wasn’t his circumstances or the attacks of the devil that led Job to sin, but the treatment he received from his friends. What Satan was unable to do, his…

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He Is A Big God 

Jim Gallagher

Job 41:1​ “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?

Job 40:15 “Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox.”

Job 40:9 “Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His?”

There is an interesting story in the life of Elijah where he fled in fear from a wicked queen who vowed to take his life. His fleeing led him deep into the desert, where he hid in a cave. There in hiding, he heard the sound of a mighty wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but he heard the voice of God only in a whisper. Job is having the exact opposite experience. He is hearing from God and His voice is like a whirlwind thundering in his ears. The truths being…

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Qualified

Jim Gallagher

2 Corinthians 11:23

Are they ministers of Christ? —I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.”

Part of the reason for writing this letter, was Paul’s authority as an apostle was being challenged. When he came to Corinth, Paul chose not to receive a salary from the Corinthian church, instead he worked with his hands, and received support from the churches in Macedonia. He also chose not to use his great intellect or skills as an orator to persuade the people, but resolved to emphasize the simplicity of Christ, and relied upon the work of the Holy Spirit. As a result, after his departure, many ridiculed him and his teaching, calling his authority into question. Rather than responding to the criticism by referring to the seminary degree, the books he had written, or churches he…

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