You can expect God's blessings
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People get down when they feel that all their efforts are wasted and pointless. They get cynical and say things like, “Virtue is its own punishment” and “No good deed ever goes unpunished.” Earth seems like a desert drear pretty much all the time. We think we know too many stories about how cheaters prosper and the violent always win. That’s just bitter talk. Blind too. The Bible says that the Lord “blesses the home of the righteous. . .... Read More
May I have this dance?
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When you’re on a dance floor and it’s a “modern” dance, people don’t have to pay the slightest bit of attention to what their partners are doing. You don’t have to coordinate anything. You can just bust your moves. Being happily married, however, is more like a waltz or a tango. You have to hold each other carefully, move in sync with each other, pay attention to your partner, and mind your feet. In both marriage and ballroom dancing, someone... Read More
God and my mission
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Have you ever wondered why you’re still here? I mean, if God has saved you, if you are now guaranteed eternal life through Jesus, why doesn’t he just whisk you away to heaven? The reason is that you are far too valuable to his plan. He has a mission for you. Just as other people helped you to hear and understand the Bible’s message, so you are part of the communication network that other people need so that they can... Read More
Control your anger
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“Born to Be Wild” is more than just a song (Steppenwolf, ca. 1968). It is a summary of the basic human state of mind when untouched by the gospel. There is a beast inside each of us, and we love to let him out of his cage. Come on—admit it. Throwing off restraint is exhilarating. So is losing your temper. There was a time when I thought that angry people were unhappy. Actually it’s worse than that. Blowing up and... Read More
Christian funeral confidence
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Poor Martha has gotten a bum rap over the centuries. She is remembered primarily for one weak moment when she snapped at her sister for not helping more in lunch preparation; Mary is remembered forever after as the good girl who attended Bible study with Jesus. But Martha was no spiritual slouch; in fact, her powerful faith and confident testimony at the time of her brother’s funeral and burial is one of the most inspirational speeches in the entire Bible.... Read More
I feel so sad
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As you have figured out by now, life is not a sprint. It is a marathon. And just as our bodies physically don’t bounce back as quickly from exertion or illness as they used to, I think our spirits lose some elasticity as the years roll on too. Persistent disappointments sometimes make people violent or abusive or bitter. Sometimes they just make us sad. They grind down our optimism and cheerfulness to the point where even bits of good news... Read More
Is you is or is you ain't?
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That’s the name of a tune from the swing era by Louis Jordan, who earnestly desired to know if his beloved was interested in a long-term relationship or not. Louis had learned that a relationship cannot be sustained if only one party is putting energy into it. Does it surprise you to know that God has the same question for his believers? He created us, designed and executed a fabulously successful plan of salvation after our rebellion, brought his Word... Read More
I can't seem to control my tongue
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Why do I do it? Lord, I am so sorry for what I said. If only I could put those words back behind my teeth and swallow them back down. But they’re out. Why is my tongue so loose? Why do lies come out when I know I should tell the truth? Why does gossip come out so easily when I know I should be building other people up? Why do I sound bitter so often when I know I... Read More
Am I doomed to become my father?
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The statistics are sobering—children of abusive parents are likely to become abusers themselves. Children from divorced parents are less likely to be able to build a lasting marriage. A woman sighs, “My parents were so critical of me, and now I hear myself talking like that to my children.” Are we doomed to become our parents? Tempted? Yes. Doomed? No. You are not destined to any sort of sinful behaviors. Forgiven by Christ and renewed by the Holy Spirit, you... Read More
Misplaced priorities
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One of my persistent weaknesses is that I want to author my own play, the play of my life, in which I am the star, for which I would like to write the script. I can pretty much do fine on my own for a while, and then when I encounter a problem too big for me, I holler for God to show up on “my” stage, on my cue. He generally does not oblige me at such times. Hmm.... Read More