Powered by God
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Do God’s principles of marriage sound hard? Old fashioned? Impossible? That’s what Jesus’ disciples thought too. “The disciples said to him, ‘If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry’” (Matthew 19:10). You know what they meant. They didn’t think that they could fulfill those expectations. They didn’t think that kind of marriage could last or would be any fun. They took comfort from rabbinic rules allowing no-fault divorce. All you had to... Read More
Remember What You Were
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There are some bad boys out there who have forgotten about their quadruple bypass operation and are eating fat-fried food again. There are some bad girls who have forgotten about their emphysema and have started smoking again. There are some reckless diabetics who are careless with their insulin injections. Such people apparently have lost their fear of—and respect for—their disease. A real danger for people who have been Christians for a while is that they grow sleepy and careless in... Read More
I'm Anxious All the Time
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When something happens that you don’t understand, does your mind leap immediately to the worst possible fear? When your husband is a half hour late, are you afraid that his car is in a ditch? When your teenagers aren’t where they are supposed to be, does a little voice in your head fret that they might have been abducted? Do you hate going to the doctor because you’re afraid of what you might hear? Hear people laughing in a room... Read More
Love Your Singleness
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Do you think it’s strange that a pastor would endorse singleness? Aren’t pastors all pushing marriage on everybody? Here’s the point: You will probably not be able to build a happy marriage until you have learned to like and accept yourself as a single person. St. Paul wrote, “It is good for a man not to marry” (1 Corinthians 7:1). “I wish that all men were as I am [i.e., single]” (1 Corinthians 7:7). Huh?? What on earth could he... Read More
God Controls Death
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When you’re making a list of the things that make the world look out of control, surely death will be near the top. What is more terrifying than seeing someone you love in a coffin or watching your own life slip away? Are you afraid of death? In Luke 7:11-17, the Bible tells the story of how Jesus interrupted a funeral procession leaving the little town of Nain. First he told the sobbing mother, “Don’t cry.” Then he did something... Read More
I'm Afraid of God
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It’s all very well and good to hear beautiful promises about how good the believers have it and how their future will be even better. But what if you’re not sure if you’ve ever been a believer? Or worse—what if you once were an active believer and churchgoer and then lost interest? What if you’ve closed up your feelings about God for a long time? What if you’re terrified of facing up to the fact that you have ignored and... Read More
It's Congenital
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Our church’s gospel choir once played for a conference involving the hard of hearing. A woman told me through an interpreter that she had “heard” music for the first time in her life—we sing and play pretty loud, and by standing up and leaning on a wall, she could “feel” our songs through the wall’s vibration. Which do you suppose is worse—to be congenitally deaf or to lose your hearing later in life? Is it better to have known light... Read More
Grace in Action
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Jesus’ disciples were often an embarrassment to him during their three years of training. The four gospels report in painful detail when the Twelve exhibited confused priorities and uncaring people attitudes. Two of the four books, Matthew and John, were authored by men who had to describe their own spiritual immaturity in those years. But after the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost, the disciples (“learners”) became apostles (“sent ones”), and they grew mightily in wisdom and understanding. Their former... Read More
Fantasy
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Pretending and fantasy are integral to the Disney World® experience. In fact, Disney coined the term “imagineering” to describe the way in which its writers and designers and artists construct wonderful imaginary realities on a grand scale. Pretending makes Disney World work. Too much pretending in your day-to-day life, however, can make you spiritually sick. A woman who invites her boyfriend to move in with her might only be fantasizing that he is committed to her. She might imagine that... Read More
Why, God?
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Anyone who has ever read the Bible even casually resonates with the story of Job. Well-to-do and comfortable, he loses his wealth, servants, family members, and finally even his health. We generally remember Job for his courage and brilliant confession of confidence in his coming Redeemer. But Job speaks for all of us when in his weaker moments he complained to God about the bitter unfairness of the way his life was turning out. Job cried out what we cry... Read More