With apologies to Mr. Dickens, his characterization of Victorian England could be ours today. How the worlds of employment and finance have changed! Here are some features of life in the 21st century for which I am grateful:
Credit cards. I don’t have to carry as much cash as in the old days, when there was always risk of losing it or being held up. Widespread card use goes back, amazingly, only into the 1970s. The technology for almost instant... Read More
When Christian lands fell to Muslim armies, the believers in Christ were not all killed, but they did become second-class citizens called dhimmis. They were allowed to gather in their churches but were forbidden to ring their bells, so powerful was the influence of that ringing perceived by the new masters. Still today church bells call the faithful to worship and announce the passage of time. I hope you can hear some wherever you may live.
If you would climb... Read More
It is undeniable that the poor have a special place in God’s heart. He promises over and over to look after the poor, the needy, widows, outcasts, and orphans. Perhaps you have survived some desperate times in your life through God’s timely intervention. What a comfort it is to know that if we do suffer financial setbacks or stretches of unemployment, God will be there for us.
However—God’s compassion for the poor doesn’t mean that poverty is acceptable as a... Read More
For many parents, the phrase “Back to school” really means “Back to bleachers.” As high school sports are beginning, now is the perfect time to give our student-athletes a reminder to be compassionate competitors. And Pastor Jared does a great job in this Your Time of Grace video, helping parents talk to their teens about that.
Ah, but Christian parents, what about being compassionate competitors in the stands? As we settle in to cheer for our favorite team, let’s consider... Read More
Here I am again, Lord. I feel kind of guilty about this: I know I’m supposed to age gracefully and gratefully, but right now my heart isn’t in it. Can I be honest with you? I feel like my body is betraying me one piece at a time. How did I get so many wrinkles? Where did those brown spots on my skin come from? I didn’t sign up for purple bags under my eyes. I have no stamina anymore.... Read More
So many people. So much sin. So many lost. So many fallen away. I must confess that my own outreach and restoration efforts sometimes bog down because I feel overwhelmed. You too?
So let’s bring it down to just one. Look around you. Pick one person close to you who seems to have lost his or her faith. Care about that one. Maybe it’s your brother. “The Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied.... Read More
You’ve heard the line before—“I don’t care if I don’t have much money as long as I have my health.” Nice thought, except when it isn’t. What happens in the lives of people who aren’t healthy anymore? Is your life over? Is it proof that God’s favor has been taken away from you?
“There is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great... Read More
It is fashionable these days for women to keep their maiden names even after marriage. Two different surnames in a marriage makes it look to casual acquaintances as if the people aren’t married at all, just cohabiting. Apparently, the idea is for the woman to make it clear that her identity isn’t being subsumed into that of her husband.
Actually, losing some of your independence and being merged with your spouse is part of the thrill that God designed into... Read More
St. Paul was not always a saint. In his younger years he was Sinner Saul, a violent persecutor of the Christian faith. By the mercy of God he was converted and gave his life to the proclamation of the gospel, but he always gave God all the credit. The cross of Christ was his personal life logo: “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (i.e., Jesus Christ), and through him to reconcile to himself all things,... Read More
For the next few weeks, many parents are dreading saying goodbye to their kids as they drop them off at college. For parents of new military recruits and cadets at military academies, however, there’s a different set of concerns. With training lasting for 7 to 12 weeks, these parents know that their children are about to head into a lonely and physically and emotionally exhausting time.
While we hear so much about how self-absorbed this generation is, we see in... Read More