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Topic: Growth

Bible Q&A: Is the Sabbath Day on Saturday or Sunday?

Question: I have recently found through my Father in heaven that Saturday is the day to worship and exalt the Lord, our Savior. But my mom thinks that I’m going to extreme and my dad says that is doesn’t matter when or where you worship. Please help me and my family get […]

meekness

10 Strategies for Cultivating Meekness

In the sermon “Blessed are the Meek,” Pastor Colin Smith defined meekness as, “The means by which God tames the sinful soul by taming the temper, subduing the assertive self, calming the passions, managing the impulses of the heart, and bringing order out of chaos in the soul.” He compared […]

Four Ways Our Identity in Christ Changes Our Lives

A couple of years ago, while my family was making a quick trip to a department store, one of our children started losing control. Our little boy began to struggle with a verbal and aggressive outburst as his little mind seemed to turn into someone else. This was nothing new […]

Christ

Is Christ Both Necessary and Sufficient for You?

But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26) In mathematics and philosophy, we show something to be true if it meets criteria that are both necessary and sufficient. For example, for […]

how to get to heaven

Episode #4: How Lasting Change Happens

Many of us see behaviors and tendencies within our own hearts that we wish we could change. We wish we were more joyful and less negative, more generous and less selfish, more motivated and less lazy. But how is real change made possible? And is there an even deeper problem […]

A Three-Step Diet to a Healthier Soul

If you are a “New Year’s resolution” kind of a person, the following scenario is probably quite familiar to you: you commit to losing those extra pounds, exercising more; you resolve to be kinder to your spouse, to have more patience with your children.  You “will yourself” to do more, […]

hustle and bustle Christmas

How Not to Get Lost in the Hustle and Bustle of Christmas

I have always loved the Christmas season: the sense of anticipation, time with family, hunting for the perfect gift for someone I love, cookie baking, decorating, and all the other rich family traditions that surround it. However, it isn’t that way for everyone. As every adult knows, we begin to […]

survey Christian blog unlocking the bible

2014 Reader Survey

In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul expresses his affection for the Christians in that place: So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us (v. 8). In meditating […]

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How to Spend an Hour (Or Less) On Our New Website

Welcome to our brand new website! When interacting with something new and different, it’s nice to know where to start, isn’t it? We think so. That’s why we created this blog post about getting the best use of our new website with any amount of time you’ve got to spend. […]

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A Devotional for Your Friday

Take some time this morning to pour over this devotional, brought to you by LifeKEYS Daily. We’ve all gone through tough spiritual seasons when we were tempted to give up. “My feet almost slipped!” we think, as we reflect on that particular season of struggle. If that was you, or […]

word of God

Don’t Let False Security Dupe You

I am so easily duped. I’ll admit it, it’s true. I am ridiculously gullible. While getting to know my fiancé’s family at the start of our relationship, I recall his father telling me a number of jokes…that I didn’t realize were jokes. The good news is, I’ve learned. And now […]

son of man jesus christ faith

Seven Questions to Evaluate Your Progress in the Christian Life

These questions came directly out of a fresh examination of my own life some years ago. When I first raised them it was during a significant year in ministry, having served in the States as long as I had served in London—sixteen years. I asked myself, “What’s happened to me […]

patience waiting on God

Three Ways to Grow While You Wait

Waiting is not wasted time. Often, though, it seems to be! I am waiting for the train. I am waiting for my appointment. I am waiting in a long queue. Sound familiar? Waiting can seem futile, so we look for something to do while we are waiting. This is why […]

the Bible

Is the Word of God a Quick Fix?

When you come to God’s Word, are you looking for a “quick fix”? I was struck by the following quotation, as I read through one of Pastor Colin’s sermons from the current radio series “The Anatomy of Faith”: “God may be saying to you, “Instead of looking for a quick […]

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Worship Songs for the Church: “Give Us Words”

There is a first time for everything. This is especially true of The Orchard Songwriters’ debut worship album, Give Us Words, released today. If you love corporate worship songs grounded in Scriptural truth and centered on the gospel, then you will absolutely want to get your hands on this CD (and warm […]

blessed are the poor in spirit

The Distinguishing Marks of a Christian

Think with me for a moment about bird spotting (or bird watching). Imagine yourself picking up a pair of binoculars, and then you set out looking to spot a few feathered friends. You look towards the trees and you see an American Goldfinch. How do you know it’s an American […]

new heart new spirit

Three Marks of a Godly Person

The Bible tell us that King David was a man after God’s own heart. So what set him apart as such? David was a regenerated man, a man with a new heart, a man with a different spirit than other men of the world. We read of his godliness throughout […]

perseverance jesus christ

No More Identity Theft, Part Two

Are you guarding your identity? Earlier this week, we looked at ten ways the enemy strives to steal our identity in Christ. We learned that we must preach the gospel to ourselves while resisting the enemy’s schemes to steal, kill, and destroy the security, joy, peace, and other treasures Christ […]

blood of Jesus communion Maundy Thursday

Five Maundy Thursday Thoughts

What a week to search our hearts. The following lessons from Luke’s gospel jumped out at me so clearly this morning, and I pray they will be of help to you as you meditate on Christ’s journey to the cross today. Luke 22:2 – The chief priests and the scribes […]

Four Marks That Define Humbleness

I don’t know what your spiritual temperature is like right now. Maybe you’re red hot for the Lord, you’re just a super nova ready to explode in praises. If that’s you, God be praised! But maybe you’re reading this today, and you’ve been lukewarm now for what feels like ages. […]

armor of God

The Belt of Truth, Part II

Who or what has the final say in your life? Your answer to this question will reveal what in your life determines truth and, ultimately, what you believe about Jesus Christ. In the last blog post, we discussed the meaning behind the belt of truth in Ephesians 6:10-14, and why […]

armor of God

The Belt of Truth, Part I

Ephesians 6:10-13 is a “wake you up” passage: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, […]

Bible resources Scripture memory

Bible Verses, Resources, and Helps for Scripture Memory

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  (Psalm 119:11)   “And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” (Ephesians 6:17) What should I memorize? This list is by no means exhaustive.  This is intended to provide a […]

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Best of the Blog from 2013

Unlocking the Bible enjoyed a great year of ministry in 2013. Our blog itself was an exciting part of the ministry because it shared many helpful and encouraging posts that made their way around the internet. Below, in no particular order, is a list of our most popular blog posts […]

11 Inspirational Quotes About Prayer

It is easy to find excuses not to pray. The busyness of life, a short attention span, or a lack of desire might keep you off your knees and cause you to be dependent on yourself instead of dependent on God. It is our hope and prayer that the following […]

prayers

Eight Characteristics of Faith-Filled Prayers

The Prayer of faith, like some plant rooted in a fruitful soil, draws its virtue from a disposition which has been brought into conformity with the mind of Christ. (David McIntyre) Here are eight characteristics of faith-filled prayers, from David McIntyre’s book The Hidden Life of Prayer: 1. It is subject […]

The Preacher Who Rightly Refused to Pray for Me

One day I was at a conference in which one of my preaching heroes spoke. He had been a great blessing to me and there was an anointing on his ministry. I wanted that! The conference lasted three days and there was a group of about 100 people. I decided […]

Introducing the Gospel Transformation Bible

The Bible is one great story that points to the reconciling work of God through His Son Jesus Christ. Some parts of Scripture are easier to relate to the gospel than others, but all of the Bible is about Jesus (John 5:39). There is a great new study Bible on […]

Six Bible Study Resources and Tools for the Book of Jonah

Unlocking the Bible is a ministry committed to preaching the truth of God’s Word in an understandable and transforming way. We have developed several resources exploring the Old Testament book of Jonah that dive into the issues raised in the book which include: idolatry in life and ministry, running from […]

“Man on the Run!” Children’s Book on the Story of Jonah

Unlocking the Bible is pleased to introduce a new children’s book on the story of Jonah! Man on the Run lures you with high seas adventure, hooks you with sharp twists and turns, then reels you in with the power of the gospel. This fish story takes you beyond the size […]

10 Tips for Understanding and Interpreting Jesus’ Parables

Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry, he often taught on topics such as Christian discipleship, money, the Kingdom of God, the end times, and the grace of God. Due to the complexity of some of these topics, Jesus often turned to parables to communicate the deep spiritual messages he was trying […]

christian hymns

The 25 Most Popular Christian Hymns

One of the major ways Christians have let the Word of God dwell in us richly throughout history has been through singing hymns in church gatherings. Hymns are beloved because they share the richness of the gospel and the beauty of Jesus Christ in a catchy and memorable way. Hymns and […]

esv study Bible

10 Reasons to Read the ESV Study Bible

Why the ESV Study Bible? The ESV Study Bible is a relatively new resource from Crossway Publishers that seeks to give people a deep and systematic understanding of the gospel and the Bible, itself. It is the winner of the 2009 Book of the Year honors from the ECPA Christian […]

14 Ways to Use the Bible

The Bible is wonderful because it gives us a knowledge of God, of men, of the universe, and of redemption. No other book can be compared to it in this respect, but it not only informs us about these important truths, it also tells us what we are to do […]

Bible Study Tips for the Book of Acts

Have you ever felt like having a little guidance in your Bible reading would help you learn and understand more than you currently do? Or maybe you heard an idea presented in a sermon and thought to yourself, “How on earth could I have missed that?!” Learning and observing themes […]

Five Marks of a Truly Forgiven Person | J.C. Ryle

Below is an excerpt from J.C. Ryle’s “5 Marks of a Forgiven Soul. Let me now give you some marks of having found forgiveness. I dare not leave out this point. Too many people presume they are forgiven, who have no evidence to show that they are. Others cannot think […]

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2012

This blog post’s purpose is to share 2012 highlights from Unlocking the Bible’s blog. You can also see 2012’s Top 10 Sermons by Pastor Colin Smith. 1. The Power in the Blood of Jesus Christ 2. 10 Practical Tips for How to Memorize Scripture Bonus: 10 Biblical Reasons for Memorizing […]

What are the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount?

The Sermon on the Mount is a sermon preached by Jesus Christ describing basic truths of how to live the Christian life. It is found in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7.  The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ longest discourse anywhere in the Bible and contains many well-known Christian […]