Say these words right now out loud: “It was my fault.” “I’m sorry.” “You were right.”
That was a struggle, wasn’t it? Those words come hard out of my mouth, and you probably don’t say them very often yourself. We like to be right. We like the moral high ground of remembering clearly the faults of others. We excel at justifying our own words and actions and can easily find fault with the other guy.
We would rather prolong an... Read More
In one of the local hospitals here in Milwaukee, the top floor is where fetal alcohol babies go. The problem with those babies is they inherited something that was not originally their personal choice. They inherited an alcohol dependency from their mothers who drank, and their lives will never be normal as a result.
Well, I’ve got news for you. You and I are “fetal sin” babies. We can whine about it, tap dance around it, make excuses for it,... Read More
Zarephath is a village outside of Israel, located in what is today the coastal country of Lebanon. A widow there was God’s chosen agent for the preservation of his prophet Elijah during a time of severe drought in Israel. She had lost her husband and provider, and now she and her one son were themselves near starvation.
Elijah put her and her faith to a severe test: “Feed me first,” he told her. “God will provide for you.” She took... Read More
The two greatest missionary heroes of the age of the apostles were Peter and Paul. Both had an enormous impact on the early church, gathering believers and planting congregations. They both left behind profound writings that anchor the doctrinal portion of the New Testament.
And yet both had much in their pasts to be ashamed of. Peter denied knowing or believing in Jesus on the dreadful night of Jesus’ arrest and trials. For the rest of his life, the crowing... Read More
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
“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
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
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
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
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