The core of my self-esteem
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Do you like pain? I sure don’t. In fact, one of my life philosophies is “no pain, no pain.” But one of the things I’ve learned in life is that not all suffering is bad. When God is not involved, or when you don’t learn anything, it is just miserable and pointless. But when the scalpel is held by a skillful and loving surgeon, it leads to blessings. When we realize the frailty and vanity of sinful people, we will... Read More
It's not the size
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Gideon was a man who knew no fear when he knew that he had the Word of the Lord behind him. A gigantic coalition of nomadic peoples headed up by the Midianites had rolled into Israel like an invading army of locusts, stealing their animals and destroying their crops. Their camels “could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.” Their army numbered 135,000. Gideon mustered 30,000 Israelites, but the Lord didn’t like those numbers. He thought Gideon... Read More
I feel so guilty
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The story of Judas is a miserable one, and I don’t mean for the reasons you think. True enough, Judas was a greedy, selfish, money-hungry, lying, betraying weasel. But that is not the worst part. The worst is that his massive guilt made him think that he was a bigger sinner than Christ was a Savior. You can’t approve of what Judas did, but you can understand his miserable conclusion. So could David: “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a... Read More
Save and invest
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Earning interest on your savings is good. It sure beats stuffing cash under the mattress or slipping twenties into books or slowly filling up a safe deposit box. Because of the steady drip-drip-drip of inflation, though, money that isn’t moving is slowly losing its value. Even a bank savings account probably won’t keep up with inflation. Good managers of God’s treasures look for investments. Maybe it’s investing in equipment that will make your business bigger. “Where there are no oxen,... Read More
Don't argue with God
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Ask parents to list a few things that make parenting miserable, and near the top of the list will be “lip.” My father used to call it “back talk.” In the story of the rich man and poor Lazarus, Jesus tells us that the rich man tried to do some arguing. “‘No, father Abraham,’ [the rich man] said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent’” (Luke 16:30). How often have you argued with God? How... Read More
Encourage; don't exasperate
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Throughout all cultures and eras, it seems that child rearing is thought of as women’s work. There’s a reason for that. Childbearing and nursing can only be carried out by the mom, and it is just natural that little ones should be nurtured primarily by her. But it was never God’s design for men to be absent. The apostle Paul has this charter for all Christian dads: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training... Read More
Let God handle your baggage
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I love people watching at airports. A common sight is a small person dragging a huge load of baggage piled up higher than he or she is tall. Does that sound like your life? Dragging a pile of fear, guilt, failure, and messes that is taller than you? The Bible’s many human stories teach us the dirty secret of life—we’re all messes. What about the people who don’t look like they have problems? Well, maybe they just hide it better.... Read More
At one
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The Feast of Yom Kippur (the Great Day of Atonement) does not appear on Christian calendars, but it was one of the three great pilgrim festivals in Old Testament times and is still observed in Judaism today. The fullest description of God’s instructions for this solemn day can be found in the 16th chapter of Leviticus. A young bull, a ram, and a goat were ritually killed and the blood sprinkled. The sins of the nation were ceremonially placed on... Read More
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I was trying to do some counseling to help a husband and wife whose marriage was teetering on the edge. The husband had had some of his shortcomings pointed out to him, but he was not interested in changing. Neither the threat of a lost relationship with his wife or even the risk of losing his relationship with God seemed to put a dent in his stubbornness. “Okay, so I’m sinning, but you taught me that God always forgives me... Read More
I am precious to God
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One of Satan’s endless deceptions is to get us to think of God in human terms, i.e., that he thinks and acts basically just like us. By those measures God is forgetful, impulsive, evasive, vengeful, and has a temper that can tear the branches off trees. The Bible describes a different God, one who is patient, steady in love and purpose, and who will never reject or forget the one he has called his child. “Can a mother forget the... Read More