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
News about friends
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One of my dearest friends loves to yak on the phone, and she is a never-ending source of information about people we know. “But it’s not gossip,” she says. “It’s just news about friends.” How can you tell the difference? Gossip damages people’s reputations. Gossip passes on rumors as though they were truth. Gossips enjoy other people’s difficulties. Gossips try to make themselves taller by stepping on other people. Gossips use behind-the-back talk as a form of revenge. Gossip hurts... Read More
I'm tired
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Some days I’m riding high. Things just work. They click. They go my way. But some days, Lord, I can almost see the devil hindering me, laughing at me, breaking what I try to build, attacking me, lying to me, weakening me. He mocks my hopes, makes me doubt, urges me to ignore you, and makes despair look like my only option. I don’t know how long I can go on like this. Lord, I’m so tired. “The enemy pursues... Read More
Sometimes anchors are good
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Ever been called a “boat anchor,” i.e., a dead weight that’s holding back someone else’s dreams? There’s always somebody in every organization who is a buzzkill, a complainer and foot-dragger, forever draining energy from the group. In that sense anchor means “nuisance,” a hindrance to progress. Anchors in and of themselves are basically good though. They keep your fishing boat from drifting into the weeds, and they keep seagoing vessels away from sandbars and dangerous reefs when they need to... Read More
Be still
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It’s not so very hard to be brave when you have weapons and superior field position. It is another thing entirely to be brave when you are essentially unarmed, trying to take care of a massive civilian population, have your back to water, and are facing massed Egyptian infantry with six hundred chariots. Here is one reason why Moses is such a hero. At age 80 he encouraged the terrified Israelites not to believe their eyes but to believe the... Read More
A Roman and a Jew
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Occupied nations have always hated their invaders, and the occupiers have usually despised their subject peoples. Only with deliberate cruelty can the invaders keep the outer parts of their empire under control. The Jews hated their Roman occupiers, not only for their military presence and heavy taxation but because of their pagan religion. The Romans despised the Jews as uncivilized barbarians. Until one day . . . “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was... Read More
No do-overs
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Our culture is based on the concept of second chances. After all, is not America itself based on the dream so eloquently articulated by Emma Lazarus’ poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore”? Millions of immigrants came here to start over. Students always pester their teachers for bonus points, test retakes, and extra credit. My own mediocre golf... Read More
Imperfect heroes
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Can I make a personal confession? The heroes I most look up to are not the perfect ones, the superheroes, but rather people who achieved great things even though they themselves were deeply flawed. King David did extraordinary things for the Lord, but his miserable sins are also laid out there for all to read in the Bible. David is the chief author of the psalms—at least half of them were written by him. His psalms are real; they are... Read More