Trust and Wait
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To love another human being means that you will hurt at some point, because love means that you let down your defenses. It is inevitable that other people will embarrass us, betray us, turn on us, reject us, put us down, or steal from us sooner or later. It is inevitable because of sin. Among the worst hurts are those inflicted by children on their parents. How Eli, Samuel, and David must have grieved over their rebellious children. How could... Read More
Christ Is Our King Now
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All the prophets of the Old Testament were but forerunners of Christ. All the judges of the Old Testament were but forerunners of Christ. Moses and Joshua and all the kings were merely placeholders until Christ came. Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus told his disciples that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him. Here is our true leader—one who will never lie to us, abuse us, take advantage of us, or manipulate us.... Read More
Israel Lived in a Theocracy Then
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Throughout Israel’s history God chose to lead directly. He spoke forcefully and often, directing their course of action. This is called theocracy, i.e., rule directly by God. God spoke through Moses, through Joshua, through his prophets, and through the judges. Israel’s political, military, geographical, and economic high point was the time of King David and King Solomon. The people of Israel would call the united monarchy their golden age. “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the... Read More
A Paradox
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Some teachings of the Bible are hard because we don’t want to do them. “Love your enemies,” Jesus said. “Turn the other cheek.” “Forgive each other not seven times but seventy times seven times.” “Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” And then there are passages that are hard because they seem to contradict one another. They are paradoxes—revelations of God’s identity and God’s... Read More
I'm So Afraid
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President and Mrs. Benjamin Harrison had electricity brought into the White House in 1889, but they were so terrified of it that they had the servants turn the light switches on and off. If the servants had already gone to bed, the Harrisons slept with lights blazing. It’s one thing to be cautious around things that are dangerous, like sharp knives, poisons, and electricity. But it’s a whole other thing to allow your mind to be consumed by irrational fear.... Read More
The Center of Everything
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People can do just fine living their lives without thinking much about gravity, the rotation of the earth, friction, the weak and strong forces in atoms, and electromagnetism. A great many people also seem to be doing just fine living their lives without Jesus. Perhaps you too had a long stretch in your life when you thought about him not at all. And yet, whether people are thinking about him or not, believing in him or not, Jesus Christ is... Read More
I Can't Take It Anymore
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Every boiler has a pressure gauge. That gauge is an extremely valuable indicator of the health of the system. The boiler engineer adjusts the pressure so that it stays within the limits for which it was designed. He knows that if the water level gets too low, the steam gets angry. He doesn’t want it to blow open any joints or pipes on his watch. When Christians suffer, and especially when they have it really bad, we’re tempted to think... Read More
God and My Worship
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Of all the things that Satan is trying to steal from you, stealing the joy from your worship ranks right at the top. He will keep you out of the Bible if he can. If he can’t, he’ll try to make Bible reading a chore and a bore. He will keep you out of church if he can, but if he can’t, he will try to make it all “hafta” and little “wanna.” He will distract you and deflect you... Read More
The Gospel Makes Us Optimists
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“Why do you look for the living among the dead,” the Easter angels inquired of some sad and fearful women who had come early to the mausoleum to embalm a corpse. “He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5,6).   Easter changes everything. It is the triumph of life over death, forgiveness over condemnation, heaven over hell, and Christ over Satan. It is unchangeable, irreversible, and forever beyond the reach of Satan to alter or sabotage. It is done!... Read More
Build Up
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I think I know why I am so stingy with compliments. Half the time I am so aware of my own failings and shortcomings that I can’t waste any energy on lifting up anybody else. I convince myself that it will take all my strength to cope with my own troubles. I think maybe if I brag enough about myself I can talk other people (and myself) into thinking that I am important. As usual in God’s world, his reality... Read More