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When your life gets hard and you feel overwhelmed, you can tell yourself, “Well, at least I don’t have it as tough as Zerubbabel.” That man was the governor of Judea, whose monumental task it was to rebuild the shattered nation after the Babylonian armies’ terrible destruction and after 70 years of neglect and abandonment. Judea was burned, broken, and choked with weeds. Zerubbabel was all too aware that he lacked both the people and resources to do this impossible... Read More
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You Are God’s Prophets Yes, you are prophets too. Not in the narrow sense of those specially chosen people with miraculous abilities, directly revealed messages from God, and authorship of a book of the Bible like Daniel or Ezekiel. But you are indeed a prophet in the wider sense of one who speaks God’s words and carries God’s power and authority. Joel foretold the New Testament age that dawned when the Pentecost miracle occurred (see Acts 2). We are still... Read More
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YOU’VE BEEN COMMISSIONED When civilians get caught in a war zone with live fire, their first instinct is to dive for cover, keep their heads down, stay motionless, and refuse to emerge until everything is peaceful again. You know, as you ponder the terrible power of our deadly enemies and try to visualize the shocking collapse of the physical universe, I can’t blame you if you feel like a civilian. I can’t blame you if you feel small and weak... Read More
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Are you a fan of reality TV? My goodness—“survivor-type” shows certainly have been the hottest item on the tube in recent years. The more extreme the experience that the poor victims have to undergo, the better the audiences like it—eating worms, cuddling with snakes, jungle treks, desert hunger, wild animals, and on and on. The ultimate survivor experience is yet to come, and everyone living at that time will have to go through it. I speak, of course, of the... Read More
Easter: The Big Deal
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The magnificent pyramids of Egypt were actually constructed as burial vaults for the pharaohs: the bodies of Djoser, Khufu, and Khafra, carefully mummified and wrapped, were interred there. The burial chambers today, however, are empty. Jesus Christ was executed like the worst criminal, but he was buried like a prince in a newly hewn rock mausoleum. His vault is empty also, but for a completely different reason. Grave robbers looted the tombs of the pharaohs. Jesus walked out of his... Read More
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Do you ever worry about your legacy? Will your children find stable careers? Will your children want to work in the family business? Can they take over for you? More important—will our present generation finally exhaust God’s patience? Is he getting close to giving up on the human race? Will there be a future generation of Christians to keep the faith? Will the fire go out? What a great time to listen again to the prophets. When the present looks... Read More
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You know all about the grudging way we mortals “forgive” one another. “Well, I’ll forgive but I can’t forget.” Since we can’t forget, ugly memories keep coming back and drain off our willingness to forgive. Ready for yet another gospel surprise? Here is an amazing prophecy and promise from Jeremiah, a humble minister of God who had to watch the Babylonian captivity take place before his own eyes. Here is God speaking to sinful Israel (and speaking also to you):... Read More
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Everything that you have ever learned about proper justice is that those in authority should punish the guilty and release the innocent. We hate hearing stories about people wrongly imprisoned, and we hate it even more when an obviously guilty criminal gets to walk. And yet that’s exactly what God did to rescue you. Nobody would ever have guessed this marvelous secret if God hadn’t revealed it, because it seems to make no sense. But it’s the truth, and it’s... Read More
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YOU’VE BEEN RESCUED When the Titanic went down, only 706 of its 2,223 passengers and crew were saved. Terrible safety procedures and an inadequate number of lifeboats doomed the rest. The ship’s builders were so confident of its invincibility that total lifeboat capacity was only 1,178! Ready for some good news? The rescue planned by the Father, carried out by the Son, and empowered by the Spirit has capacity for every last human being on the planet—past, present, and future.... Read More
Palm Sunday
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No country does the pageantry of royalty better than Britain. Elizabeth II has reigned so long that only the elderly can remember the last coronation in 1953, but soon the world will see another. The new monarch will arrive in regal procession, following the Lord’s High Steward with St. Edward’s solid gold crown, and later be invested with the Golden Spurs (dating from a.d. 1189), the royal glove, golden orb, and golden scepter. How different was Jesus’ royal ride around... Read More