Am I old and useless?
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In Jaques’ famous “all the world’s a stage” speech from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, he roguishly describes the stages of human life, the final phase of which sounds pretty grim: “The last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” Solomon presents a similarly gloomy view of what old age does to the body. He speaks in unusual metaphors for muscles, eyes, ears, and... Read More
Tell the truth
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“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” You know who said that? I bet you think it was Hitler or Goebbels. Actually, it was Winston Churchill. Not that human beings need much urging or rationale for lying, even from Churchill. We were all born children of Satan, and Satan’s native language is lying. Jesus called him the “Father of lies, a liar from the beginning.” Truth telling is learned behavior,... Read More
Their culture is disgusting
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It isn’t hard to criticize what you don’t understand. If you don’t get around much, other people’s culture and behaviors can sure seem weird, if not downright disgusting. Americans traveling abroad have been known to freak out over bathroom plumbing that looks nothing like home. The thought of eating seaweed and fish eggs has made some of our fellow Yankees green. Long-lost son Joseph, now vice-pharaoh of Egypt, explained why his father’s family wouldn’t have to worry about assimilation and... Read More
Cut 'em some slack
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How I love it when people cut me some slack! When the state trooper lets me off with a warning instead of slamming me with an expensive ticket . . . when my wife overlooks my grouchy remarks . . . when my coworkers cover for me and smooth over something that was my fault. Why is it so hard for me to do that for others? Maybe it’s because I don’t want to enable bad behavior in others. Maybe... Read More
Persecution complex
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Do you get a little disoriented from all of Jesus’ “upside-down” statements? Are you ready for another? Here is a paradox that is hard to accept at first: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12). Satan hates... Read More
Spending
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Are you a skinflint or a spender? Some of you pinch your pennies hard enough to make Lincoln cry. Like Ebenezer Scrooge, you would rather shiver in a cold office than “splurge” on more coal. But others, probably many more, absolutely love spending. What is it about spending money that is so addictive? Well, it’s fun to be pampered, to spoil yourself, to indulge. Having stuff is good. Having more is better. We imagine that we will impress other people... Read More
I'm confused
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“What do I do now?” Have you ever groaned that question? What could be worse than confusion? Sometimes our choices in life all seem bad or they all seem dreadfully hard or there are so many different choices. Do you stick with a difficult boyfriend? Do you rat out a friend who is doing something illegal? Do you do an intervention in the life of a friend who is on a destructive behavioral path? Do you help a child do... Read More
Teach them God's Word and will
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The mosquitoes that poke me all summer do not have to go to mosquito college to learn how to drill for red gold. That ability is simply in them from the moment they are hatched. All of the behaviors needed for a successful blood extraction operation are preinstalled in their tiny mosquito brains. But knowledge about Jesus doesn’t come to people mosquito-style. I think some parents think that the Christian faith self-implants and self-develops in their children, but when they’re... Read More
God and my fears
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On every piece of money that you can lay your hands on are four powerful words. Alas, Americans only partly believe them. Our national behavior suggests to me that our confidence is in George. Washington, that is. The only thing better than money is more money. But our currency’s testimony is simple and powerful. Blessed are those who do what our money says: In God We Trust. The giver of all life, owner of all wealth, and manager of the... Read More
A servant husband
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Sometimes leadership is thought of as power to get what you want, power to control others, power to manipulate. Christ-leadership, that is, servant leadership, has as its goal making the other person’s life better. In God’s world, husband-leaders are in charge first of the well-being of their wives and children. Their position of leadership in the family is for the benefit and well-being of the family. Here’s the plan: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians... Read More