Stranger in a strange land
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Satan never stops trying to steal our stuff. He has managed to turn Christmas into a frenzy of commercialism and Easter into nothing more than a spring festival with green plastic grass, bunnies, and chocolate eggs. And somehow he managed to take the heroic story of Patrick and turn it into an excuse to drink a lot and pretend to be Irish. The truth is that Patrick was British. Kidnapped by Irish raiders, he was forced to work as a... Read More
Jesus is goodness
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Thirty miles northeast of Mexico City lie the great pyramids of Teotihuacan. The temples at the top were sites of great religious intensity and sometimes featured human sacrifice. Victims were decapitated or had their hearts cut out to propitiate one of the eight major gods and goddesses. Favor from the gods had to be bought by human effort. The Bible tells us that favor with God was indeed bought with blood, but it was the blood of God himself that... Read More
I'm angry with God
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We all have bombs dropped on our lives—nasty setbacks that shake us up. Some families have had atomic bombs fall—major house fire, catastrophic illness in the breadwinner, disastrous investments, or worst of all, a child-sized casket. Satan will always exploit openings like that: “How can you still believe that your so-called heavenly Father loves you? If he could have stopped it, why didn’t he?” The psalm writer Asaph wondered uneasily, “Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed... Read More
Are you hungry?
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“You can call me anything you want; just don’t call me late for dinner,” goes the old gag, probably from vaudeville days. What are you hungry for right now? Food? Attention? Amusement? Challenge? As if we didn’t have enough trouble keeping our appetites in check, we face a daily barrage of advertising—print, billboards, online, radio, TV—that tries to hit an emotional trigger within us to get us to buy stuff. Popular culture teaches us that all our appetites are normal... Read More
Smell the roses
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When you’re a kid, you’re always waiting for something. Waiting to be old enough to try out for the team. Waiting to get your license. Waiting until the prom. Waiting to get accepted into the college you want. Waiting to have enough money to buy a car. It’s good to be focused on a goal. It’s bad to be so into what you want that you no longer enjoy the place you are right now. What are you longing for... Read More
Jesus is patience
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No matter which human activity you pick, no two people move at the same speed in performing it. People don’t run at exactly the same speed, drive, mature, or learn at the same speed. They don’t progress in their faith identically either. In your life right now, you are ahead of others in your spiritual growth and maturity. How will you treat those behind you? St. Paul tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is patience. Patience... Read More
I feel wounded
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One of the benefits of being a kid in a multiple-child family is that you learn to take abuse. Not that that’s good—but it is helpful. We all need to develop some coping skills for deflecting and shedding put-downs, while still preserving our self-confidence. But sometimes nasty arrows get past our defenses. They find our weak spots, and we can’t seem to pull them out. How about you? Are you bleeding right now? Has your wife crushed your feeling of... Read More
You go first; I'll wait
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“I am Oz, the great and powerful! Who are you?” “If you please, I am Dorothy, the small and meek.” In one of many biblical themes running through that marvelous movie, the small and meek Dorothy turns out to be a witch slayer and hero. L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz, got that idea from Jesus. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Jesus’ mother had learned that as well—when she learned... Read More
Devoted to worshiping together
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One thing I love about the first wave of the early Christian church is the passion. They were so excited about their faith that they couldn’t wait to go to church. Nobody needed to argue them into it. The pastor didn’t have to beg or pressure them. Parents didn’t have to bribe the children with promises like, “All right, if you go to church, we’ll all go to McMoses afterward.” Nobody had to threaten the teenagers, “You better go to... Read More
Leaving a legacy
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Has it ever occurred to you that buying life insurance on your own life is one of the most selfless things you can do (assuming you don’t cash out of the policy for your own benefit while you’re still living)? All of your payments are investments in the future that will provide confidence of financial security to your heirs during your lifetime and actual financial security when you die. But you won’t see the money—they will. A distressing number of... Read More