Earth Day
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It started out as an environmental celebration in the spring of 1970. Fueled by outrage over a huge oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, Earth Day has become a worldwide phenomenon. Each year April 22 provides an opportunity for people to rededicate themselves to learning about and caring for the earth. It’s good to clean up what has become polluted, recycle what can be used again, avoid waste, and live modestly. It’s good to find ways to harness... Read More
What a friend!
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Joseph Scriven was an Irishman with a life of bitter disappointments. Poor health cut short his career as a military officer; his fiancée drowned in a terrible accident the night before their wedding day; and after moving to Canada, he suffered the sudden death of a second fiancée. His poem of faith and confidence in the power of prayer has encouraged many generations of Christians: What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What... Read More
The glory of the Lord
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Where is the ark of the covenant now? Nobody has the slightest idea. The original ark was taken off to Babylon when Jerusalem fell in 586 b.c. When the temple was rebuilt in 520 b.c., another ark presumably was fabricated. The Romans would have plundered or destroyed it in a.d. 70. There has never been another temple. God doesn’t need one. The glory-cloud no longer lives on earth. When Christ was crucified, God tore the huge temple curtain of separation... Read More
Think long term - really long term
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Children don’t think much about the future—there is only the Now. The Right Now. They need their parents to teach them about deferred gratification, that slogging through math problems now will help them get a good job in 15 years . . . that keeping an orderly bedroom will build habits of mental organization . . . that steadily saving a few dollars instead of blowing them on junk food will grow them over time. Are you in love with... Read More
Fasting
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Most of the outward features of worship life in the Old Testament have passed away (like the blood sacrifices of animals, burning up of the first fruits of farm produce, and the turban and ephod of a high priest). One aspect has persisted somewhat, and that is the custom of fasting. In the New Testament era, it is just that—a custom, not a law or rule. Denial of food to oneself for a brief period of time can be used... Read More
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What do you do when a woman confides in you that she’s pregnant but doesn’t want the baby? It could be any combination of 50 reasons—her boyfriend is threatening to leave her, she can’t afford to raise a child, it will interfere with her career, this wasn’t the time in her life when she had planned for a child, whatever—but the fact is she is confiding in you before she seeks an abortion because she wants to know what you... Read More
You will live too!
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We all love stability in our lives. We all like to assume that everything will stay the same, stay manageable. We fear disruptive change—getting laid off or fired, suffering injuries in a car accident, being hospitalized with some disease. Worse—we fear having to live in a nursing home, being moved to a hospice. Martha’s nightmare came true—Jesus the Healer arrived in Bethany too late to save her sick brother, Lazarus. “‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here,... Read More
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Lord, why does everything have to happen at once? I don’t mean to whine, but I don’t know if I’m up to everything you are throwing at me right now. I know you say you will never load on us more than we can handle, but I’m not this good. I’m not this big. I’m not this strong. Many people depend on me, and some days I feel that I can barely take care of myself.  I guess you have... Read More
It Is Finished
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One of the two most important days in human history seemed pretty ordinary to some Roman soldiers. It was their grim duty to perform three public executions in Jerusalem the day before the Passover Sabbath. They carried out their assignment with macabre and practiced efficiency, hammering the nails into their victims’ hands and feet. Two screamed their pain and hatred. The One in the middle bore his suffering mainly in silence, once speaking to ask his Father for forgiveness for... Read More
I'm a winner no matter what
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The Bible is full of stories about how Christ, the prophets, and the apostles used God’s miraculous power to heal diseases, restore those with paralyzed and withered limbs, and drive out demons. But some people weren’t cured; they lived out their lives with illness and disabilities, and some had lives drastically shortened because of them. God may have miraculous healing for your physical brokenness. Or he may have “ordinary” medical solutions (i.e., modern-day miracles) for you. Or he may allow... Read More