Loss of a loved one
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There are no good funerals. Even when a 95-year-old passes, even when the death brought an end to pain and suffering, the family still grieves a loss. How much more it hurts when the deceased was “too young to die.” When the breadwinner dies, when a child dies, when there’s been a terrible accident, where can you go with your grief? How can you survive? The patriarch Jacob knows how you feel. He was told the news that his young... Read More
God's persuasive power
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When God commissioned Moses to represent him to the pharaoh of Egypt, Moses’ courage failed. He was afraid to speak up because he knew that in and of himself he could never change the mind and attitudes of the most powerful man on the planet. You might have that same apprehension about speaking up to bring someone back to the faith. Perhaps you wish you knew more about the Bible. Perhaps you are rusty at witnessing for your faith. Perhaps... Read More
Showing kindness
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Have you ever noticed that when people are believers in Christ, God treats them like spiritual adults (whether or not they’ve deserved it)? He doesn’t call us fools, criminals, disappointments, or failures, though in many ways we have earned all of those labels. No. He treats us better than we deserve. “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with . . . kindness” (Colossians 3:12). You are chosen—that means that he cared enough for you to come... Read More
Renewable resources
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A great many people are terrified that sometime soon the earth will run out of petroleum deposits. In that view, fossil fuels are a zero-sum game—there is a strict, finite limit on how much oil exists underground, and when that oil is all pumped out, our cars will all wheeze to a halt. That fear is behind the push for renewable resources, that is, drawing energy from theoretically infinite sources such as the sun, wind, and falling water. More and... Read More
Small prayers
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Do you save prayer energy only for “big asks,” i.e., major crises? Do you hate to bother God with trivia? Is it appropriate to pray over basketball games and business deals? the health of a pet? a successful family gathering? If God were human like us, he would have little interest in or capacity for the smaller things in our lives. But he is God—unlimited mental ability, unlimited interest in our lives, unlimited resources, unlimited power, unlimited love for us.... Read More
Teach them respect
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Want to see someone’s blood boil? Ask a veteran teacher about the increasing levels of student violence, specifically assaults on teachers. Our American obsessions with freedom and the right to personal expression, coupled with weakening family structure, are eroding people’s trust and respect for institutions like government and schools. Angry, violent children are the result. Satan laughs. What he knows, and not enough parents realize, is that there is a beast inside each of us that wants to be let... Read More
God can be trusted with my secrets
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God’s omniscience and omnipresence can be a terrifying thought. Someone can read my mind? Someone has watched all that I have ever done? Even believers in their weaker moments dread the realization that their thoughts and lives are an open book to the God who reads all and sees all. Does he despise me? Will he punish me? Will he see to it that all the dirt comes out? It was just for this very purpose that the Son of... Read More
God will give me strength to love
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One of the sweet features of Christianity is that God never calls us to his way of living without also giving us the wisdom we need and the power and strength to carry it out. He knows all about how hard it is to choose to love someone who is treating you poorly. God often compared himself in the Bible to a husband with an unfaithful wife (a metaphor for his often backsliding believers). He even instructed his prophet Hosea... Read More
I'm dying
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We sling around the words die and death very casually in day-to-day conversation. “I could have just died from embarrassment.” “I’m dying for some chocolate right now.” “That cheesecake is to die for.” “That kid’s going to be the death of me.” Some of us will die instantly—in a car accident, aneurysm, or massive heart attack. But insurance actuaries will tell you that the majority of people will die slowly enough to be aware of death’s approach. Are you ready... Read More
Prophet with the blues
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What could be better than a direct information line straight from God? Wouldn’t it make life wonderful if you could see ahead into the future? Well, maybe not. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah did have that ability, but it brought him a great deal of pain, so much pain, in fact, that Jeremiah’s nickname is the “weeping prophet.” God let him see what was coming for Israel, and he saw military disaster, plundering armies, burning cities, and national captivity. “Oh,... Read More