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Every winter hordes of pale, half-frozen northerners flock to the south. One of their first rituals is to get rid of as much clothing as they can to allow that blessed sunshine to touch their skin again. The prophet Malachi compares the presence of Jesus Christ to glorious sunshine. When he returns once and for all, everything will get better. “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2).... Read More
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TOTAL VICTORY IS COMING A glass of water looks mighty good to one whose throat is bone-dry, and no one appreciates a chicken leg like a man who hasn’t eaten in three days. The more we’ve suffered in our earthly lives, the sweeter our heavenly life will be. As we weary runners come gasping and limping to the finish line, we will find our heavenly Father waiting for us, and we will find the hardships of the journey well worth... Read More
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Finally some good news. At the end of all his hard and realistic prophecies, Jesus made two phenomenal promises. The first is that every humble believer who hangs onto Christ as Savior will be welcomed into eternal life. People may have lost jobs, wealth, homes, family members, limbs, or health, but if they have Christ they inherit everything. These are his incredible words: “But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom... Read More
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"Every day, in every way, things are getting better and better.” Do you buy into that seemingly cheerful philosophy? To be sure, some things are better. There is much less blatant racism in America now than there was when I was a boy. But our cities are now far more violent places. Marriages are far more fragile, and many couples never bother to get married in the first place. Out-of-wedlock births are out of control. Girls who should be playing... Read More
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Still more bad news. It’s bad enough that people have to suffer physically. But the evil one will also attack people’s souls. He will make unbelief look attractive to some believers and persuade them to lose interest in the faith. All of us who love the church, its worship and fellowship, its learning and outreach, want so badly to see steady, constant growth in numbers. We would like to think that someday everybody will be converted to faith in Christ.... Read More
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Jesus’ disciples were really looking forward to the visible power reign of the Messiah, and they expected it at any minute. They were not into all this suffering talk, like taking up one’s cross. They were much more into positioning themselves for cabinet positions in the new world order they felt sure was coming soon. How disappointed they must have been to hear, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be... Read More
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One of the sadder outcomes of Adam and Eve’s rebellion is that all of nature is out of whack. The beautiful world that God made as our home now fights with farmers who must wrest a harvest from dry, thorny ground by their own sweat. In Eden all of nature was Paradise. Now our world goes crazy occasionally, unleashing enormous blasts of destructive energy. Tsunamis, hurricanes, avalanches, earthquakes, and tornados strike suddenly, and they destroy and kill. And then there... Read More
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DON’T BE SURPRISED Every family that has ever owned a station wagon or minivan has heard the cry from the third row, “Are we there yet?” Dad grinds his teeth and says as patiently as he can, “No, not yet. We’ve got a ways to go.” Some Christians grimly track the strings of natural disasters, crime statistics, and disease epidemics in recent years and are convinced that the end of the world must be at hand because “things are getting... Read More
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Have you ever been troubled by the suspicion that evil seems to be winning? Does it seem to you that Christian values are eroding steadily? That the number of believers is declining? Maybe you are a member of a congregation whose numbers have shrunk drastically over the years. You can see that militant Islam is on the rise again, even in formerly all-Christian lands. Is God’s plan fading? Are your hopes fading? When that happens, it’s time to listen to... Read More
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You Will Enjoy God’s Praise Children have an enormous appetite for words of approval. Saintly parents know that one of their main jobs is to praise and build up their children and do it over and over. Maybe you know people who even as grown-ups don’t feel that they have their parents’ approval and have to scrape and struggle and beg for scraps of praise. Get this—God recognizes and celebrates the things his partners on earth do to draw lost... Read More