Joe Duke
The Comparison Trap

The Comparison Trap

It seems innocent enough. What harm is there comparing ourselves to others? From social media to friendly competition, our culture is a breeding ground for comparison. Maybe you’ve fallen victim without even realizing it. But comparison kills. The fruit of comparison...

Investing for Life

Investing for Life

One life. That’s all you get. So, it makes sense to pay careful attention how you’re living that life. The most important change in life occurs when we believe in Jesus for eternal life. We’re freely given a new nature and are guaranteed life after death. But until...

Longing for Another World

Longing for Another World

It’s possible to live with legitimate, godly desires that are never fulfilled in your lifetime. Pain, disappointment, heartache and disillusionment can expose these restless longings. Unmet desires remind us that we’re living in one world but longing for another. God...

The Invisible Kingdom

The Invisible Kingdom

Too often, reality for us is represented by what we experience with our five senses. But God works through an invisible kingdom often in invisible ways. He works differently than we might expect. In God’s kingdom, the way up is the way down. When we “Fall Up” we might...

It’s Not All Rainbows and Unicorns

It’s Not All Rainbows and Unicorns

It’s not unusual to have certain expectations about how life should work and what God is obligated to do for us. This formulaic view of life makes perfect sense until the formula no longer works in our favor. We instinctively work to avoid pain at any cost. But what...

The Road to Life (Easter)

The Road to Life (Easter)

The resurrection of Jesus is the single most important event in human history. If Jesus is not raised from the dead, then none of us will be either. Without His resurrection, we’re held captive by sin and death. The resurrection makes real life possible. Jesus paints...

The Unexpected Road

The Unexpected Road

God’s purposes for humanity were unfolding before any of us were born. While God’s purposes are clear to Him, they may seem fuzzy to us. The road we walk can be filled with the unexpected—potholes and detours we never anticipated. In a parade of adulation, Jesus...

The Final Word

The Final Word

The book of Galatians is a powerful treatise on the sufficiency of God’s grace to save us apart from the externals of law-keeping. Attempting to keep the law as the way to salvation or even as the means for growing in Christ ends in failure and bondage. Freedom is...

Moving Forward Not Backwards

Moving Forward Not Backwards

Believing in Jesus for your salvation means you’re adopted by God and headed to heaven. But becoming a Christian won’t help you change and grow unless you’re cooperating with God’s Spirit in your life. You’re either moving forward or sliding backwards. Spiritual...

From Slaves to Heirs

From Slaves to Heirs

Through faith alone in Christ alone we’re transformed from slaves to heirs—heirs of God! God places the believer into the body of Christ. And in that moment, we put on Christ. That’s a profound, new reality. The only alternative to a life without Christ is bondage to...

Bewitched and Foolish

Bewitched and Foolish

Sometimes clarifying the gospel requires stern language. Confusion about the nature of salvation and walking with God is a serious matter. That’s why Paul addresses the Galatian Christians as “bewitched” and “foolish.” It’s like a spell was cast over them. Their...

United Around the Gospel

United Around the Gospel

It’s not always easy to get Christians to agree on things. This is true even when it comes to how you get salvation. Many insist on adding works to faith. The early church faced this controversy head-on. The gospel that Paul preached was given to him directly from...

Directly from God

Directly from God

Grace leaves itself open to misunderstanding, even abuse. But God wants us to experience the life-changing power of His grace. Paul did. He experienced God’s grace when he embraced the gospel given to him by direct revelation from Jesus. Now this persecutor of...

Good News, Great Joy

Good News, Great Joy

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.   ...

Fear Not

Fear Not

Fear paralyzes. It catches us off guard. Fear seeks to write a story that robs us of hope and joy. This is why God so often reminds us, “Don’t be afraid.” That first Christmas, shepherds were awestruck at the angelic announcement of a Savior. But they were also...

Things Happen When We’re Grateful

Things Happen When We’re Grateful

We’ve seen what can happen when our church gives and serves and loves. We influence our surrounding region in profound ways. But we change too. We get influenced by our own acts of generosity and kindness toward others. But there’s another practice that can literally...

Things Happen When We Give

Things Happen When We Give

It seems like money is an obsession in our culture. Whether it’s lottery winners or superstars with giant contracts, many people are fascinated by those who “have it all.” Our view of money says a lot about us. And God’s view of money says a lot about God. While money...

The Honor of Influence

The Honor of Influence

With our eyes set on Jesus we’re changing to become Christ-like influencers. But what is the purpose of that change? Certainly, we bring God glory when our lives more closely resemble His Son. But living like Jesus also means we’re able to influence others by the way...

Engages with God Daily

Engages with God Daily

One way to gauge your progress as a person who wants to follow Jesus is to ask whether or not you engage with God every day. Do you instinctively turn to God as a habit and include Him as a normal part of your life? When we understand God makes movement toward us...

Surrenders Continually

Surrenders Continually

Saying, “I give up,” sounds like defeat unless we are surrendering to God. Victory and purpose in life are found when we live like Jesus lived. When we surrender continually to God we admit our absolute dependence on Him. And we acknowledge that our lives are really...

Confessing Jesus – Romans 10:9-10

Confessing Jesus – Romans 10:9-10

People often try to make salvation harder to get than it really is. Faith alone in Christ alone is the clear teaching of the Bible. But a few verses in the Book of Romans seem to suggest that you must also confess Christ openly if you really want to be saved. What...