I feel broken
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Perhaps you know some people who are very sure of themselves—self-confident, brash, even arrogant. If you haven’t noticed how great they are, they will help you figure it out. But there are probably just as many people with the opposite mind-set, broken in heart and spirit, constantly critical of themselves, feeling like failures pretty much every day. Know anybody like that? Is that you? These people may seem to be just fine—they dress okay, still go to work and go... Read More
Devoted to serving together
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People in the world are absolutely starved for love, acceptance, and significance. All they know is the dog-eat-dog competition to survive. They do a frantic dance to try to get it all before they die—and they hope nobody steals their stuff while they’re here. God has so much more to give us, and a happy, healthy Christian church can provide a culture and environment where he can guide us with his Word and where people take care of each other.... Read More
You will catch me when I die
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Some people die before they’ve ever really given it much thought. It caught them by surprise, and they were spiritually unprepared. Others who have been Christians their whole lives have been singing hymns about their death, have had catechism training about it, heard many sermons about it, and attended many Christian funerals where it was the chief topic of conversation. And yet when death comes, it will always be something of a shock, and Satan will try to mess with... Read More
Can people fall from faith?
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Does it really matter if you live and practice the Christian faith outwardly as long as you still know and believe the basics in your heart? A little girl says, “Dad, why doesn’t your brother go to church anymore?” If you were a believer once, can you lose your faith and salvation? You most certainly can. If that happens, it is no fault of God’s, who loves all people equally, distributes his grace and mercy unconditionally, and desires in his... Read More
God and my enemies
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Believers have to endure and overcome threats of various kinds. King David faced deadly violence for decades, first from wild animals, then from murderous King Saul, and then in all the military campaigns that he led. He left behind eloquent and passionate psalms that prayed both for his deliverance and for God to get rid of all who opposed his divine will. Here are words when you fear for your life: “He reached down from on high and took hold... Read More
Be prepared
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Generally it’s a good idea to leave interventions to professionals. If somebody is brandishing a gun, call the police. If somebody is going into cardiac arrest, call the paramedics. If someone is in agony with impacted wisdom teeth, get her to an oral surgeon. However, when you want to bring someone back to the faith, don’t walk away because you’re not a religious professional. When God calls you into his family as his child, he is simultaneously drafting you into... Read More
The sons of thunder
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If you’ve ever had your car or house broken into, I wouldn’t be surprised if you harbored some revenge fantasies for a few weeks. That feeling of being violated makes us so angry that we would love to bring payback down on the perps’ heads. “Cursing” is not just foul language but the actual belief that righteous people can call down God’s wrath on others. It’s probably a good thing that people’s cursing “gun” isn’t loaded—we understand far too little... Read More
I feel like a loser
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When you see somebody roll past you in a new BMW or Escalade, do you want to congratulate the person or curse your own junker transportation? Do other people’s fabulous clothes make you want to praise them or hate your thrift-store wardrobe? It seems that no matter how hard you struggle to get ahead, somebody is always already way past you. Maybe they were born to wealth; maybe they got lucky; maybe they married up; maybe they stole it. Does... Read More
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