Persecution complex
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Do you get a little disoriented from all of Jesus’ “upside-down” statements? Are you ready for another? Here is a paradox that is hard to accept at first: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12). Satan hates... Read More
Spending
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Are you a skinflint or a spender? Some of you pinch your pennies hard enough to make Lincoln cry. Like Ebenezer Scrooge, you would rather shiver in a cold office than “splurge” on more coal. But others, probably many more, absolutely love spending. What is it about spending money that is so addictive? Well, it’s fun to be pampered, to spoil yourself, to indulge. Having stuff is good. Having more is better. We imagine that we will impress other people... Read More
I'm confused
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“What do I do now?” Have you ever groaned that question? What could be worse than confusion? Sometimes our choices in life all seem bad or they all seem dreadfully hard or there are so many different choices. Do you stick with a difficult boyfriend? Do you rat out a friend who is doing something illegal? Do you do an intervention in the life of a friend who is on a destructive behavioral path? Do you help a child do... Read More
Teach them God's Word and will
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The mosquitoes that poke me all summer do not have to go to mosquito college to learn how to drill for red gold. That ability is simply in them from the moment they are hatched. All of the behaviors needed for a successful blood extraction operation are preinstalled in their tiny mosquito brains. But knowledge about Jesus doesn’t come to people mosquito-style. I think some parents think that the Christian faith self-implants and self-develops in their children, but when they’re... Read More
God and my fears
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On every piece of money that you can lay your hands on are four powerful words. Alas, Americans only partly believe them. Our national behavior suggests to me that our confidence is in George. Washington, that is. The only thing better than money is more money. But our currency’s testimony is simple and powerful. Blessed are those who do what our money says: In God We Trust. The giver of all life, owner of all wealth, and manager of the... Read More
A servant husband
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Sometimes leadership is thought of as power to get what you want, power to control others, power to manipulate. Christ-leadership, that is, servant leadership, has as its goal making the other person’s life better. In God’s world, husband-leaders are in charge first of the well-being of their wives and children. Their position of leadership in the family is for the benefit and well-being of the family. Here’s the plan: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians... Read More
Stranger in a strange land
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Satan never stops trying to steal our stuff. He has managed to turn Christmas into a frenzy of commercialism and Easter into nothing more than a spring festival with green plastic grass, bunnies, and chocolate eggs. And somehow he managed to take the heroic story of Patrick and turn it into an excuse to drink a lot and pretend to be Irish. The truth is that Patrick was British. Kidnapped by Irish raiders, he was forced to work as a... Read More
Jesus is goodness
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Thirty miles northeast of Mexico City lie the great pyramids of Teotihuacan. The temples at the top were sites of great religious intensity and sometimes featured human sacrifice. Victims were decapitated or had their hearts cut out to propitiate one of the eight major gods and goddesses. Favor from the gods had to be bought by human effort. The Bible tells us that favor with God was indeed bought with blood, but it was the blood of God himself that... Read More
I'm angry with God
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We all have bombs dropped on our lives—nasty setbacks that shake us up. Some families have had atomic bombs fall—major house fire, catastrophic illness in the breadwinner, disastrous investments, or worst of all, a child-sized casket. Satan will always exploit openings like that: “How can you still believe that your so-called heavenly Father loves you? If he could have stopped it, why didn’t he?” The psalm writer Asaph wondered uneasily, “Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed... Read More
Are you hungry?
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“You can call me anything you want; just don’t call me late for dinner,” goes the old gag, probably from vaudeville days. What are you hungry for right now? Food? Attention? Amusement? Challenge? As if we didn’t have enough trouble keeping our appetites in check, we face a daily barrage of advertising—print, billboards, online, radio, TV—that tries to hit an emotional trigger within us to get us to buy stuff. Popular culture teaches us that all our appetites are normal... Read More