A call to the ministry is a call to the ministry of the Word. As such, we are called not only to proclaim it but also to defend it. The New Testament Epistles overflow with injunctions to guard the truth. Reflect on Paul’s words to Timothy—a mere sampling of the New Testament charges to defend the faith—and let their import for you and your call to ministry sink in:

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It’s one of those play calls for Team Jesus that has challenged the best and most upright Pastor, Church Mother, and saint at one point or another. When we are hurt, damaged, or betrayed by someone, it’s not in our human nature to naturally forgive.

Forgiving others will rarely be as easy as breathing or blinking. It takes work and intentionality to begin – and end – the process of forgiveness.

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Scripture References: Psalm 75:6-7; Psalm 115:14-15; Genesis 26:1; 12; Matthew 16:18; Luke 10:19; Romans 8:1-2; John 10:10; Hebrews 13:5-6; 2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 11:1-2; Matthew 18:14; John 3:16; Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; 1 Peter 2:24; Psalm 107:20; Deuteronomy 28:48; Galatians 3:13-14; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 3 John 2; Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17; 1 Kings 18:41; Matthew 11:15;…

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Scripture References: Hebrews 13:5-6; Matthew 16:18; Luke 10:19; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 1:6; 1 John 4:18; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:1-2; Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:33; 1 Peter 2:24; Psalm 91:16; Psalm 118:17; Proverbs 18:21; Psalm 103:20; Revelation 1:5-6; John 10:10

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For most people, the difficulties of the past year have been a strong reminder that life doesn’t always go the way we think it will. First Samuel 30 records a similar period in David’s life. Thirteen years after he was anointed to be the next king of Israel, he was still living as a fugitive from King Saul. Then one day David and his six hundred men came home and found their city had been burned, their possessions taken, and their families taken captive. It was so heartbreaking and distressing that the men in his army were threatening to stone him. Yet at his lowest point of discouragement, the Scripture says David “encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (v. 6). He rose up, inspired his men to fight again, and they defeated their enemy.

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Scripture References: Matthew 12:33-37; Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23; Proverbs 18:21; James 3:6; Ephesians 6:12, Romans 10:14; Hebrews 11:3; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:23; Mark 4:28-29; 2 Corinthians 9:10; Psalm 119:89; Psalm 107:19-20; Isaiah 61:7; Psalm 75:6-7; Psalm 115:14-15; Job 22:28; Job 22:29; Luke 10:19; Matthew 16:18-19; Mark 11:22-23

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Many of my goals and plans for 2020 got sidetracked. (There’s an understatement.) Some areas for which I had great intentions didn’t improve, while I’ve seen growth in other areas for which I didn’t even set goals. The start of a new year is a perfect time to reevaluate what God is doing in your life, praise him for all he has done, and set some God-centered goals for the new year. Christian leaders such as Jonathan Edwards modeled this disciplined pursuit of godliness––a young Edwards set 70 resolutions to help him seek to glorify God.

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