Wake-up call
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When I’m on the road and need to be up at a certain time, I will set an alarm clock. When it’s really important, I will ask the hotel clerk to give me a wake-up call to blast me out of my slumber. Long ago God invented roosters for a number of different functions, but the job of which they are proudest is to set the barnyard into life with their raucous pre-daybreak crowing. Churches have traditionally crowned their steeples... Read More
Heavenly royalty
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No country does the pageantry of royalty better than Britain. The new monarch arrives in regal procession, following the Lord’s High Steward with St. Edward’s solid gold crown, later to be invested with the golden spurs, royal glove, golden orb, and golden scepter. How different was Jesus’ royal ride around the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. His mount was a donkey colt, a small animal that would barely have lifted his head above the crowd. And yet so many people... Read More
My brother is sinning
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What do you do when someone you’re close to is living what you know from God’s Word to be a sinful lifestyle? A grandparent says, “My grandson moved in with his girlfriend. How can I talk about this without driving him away?” You do this by remembering that you have two messages. One is a message of unconditional love, a love that is not based on the person’s performance but on your decision to love. The second is to pass... Read More
Less me, more Jesus
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His conception and birth were swathed in drama and miracles. He burst onto the scene at age 30, just like his famous relative Jesus, and attracted huge crowds to hear him speak. He brilliantly fulfilled his God-given mission to prepare the way for the public revelation of the world’s Savior. And then, after a ministry of maybe a year and a half, he was arrested and thrown into a dungeon. “When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he... Read More
No cheating
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Making money is a fine thing. Taking money is not. It is amazing how fertile the human brain can be in devising schemes to separate other people from their money. Have you gotten e-mails from Africa claiming that you are a trustee of a fortune? Or gotten e-mails from a “bank” that just needs your own checking account’s routing numbers to fix something? Some people define morality as whatever they can get away with. If there is no one in... Read More
The power of one
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When you read the Bible a lot, certain patterns emerge. One that has come to surprise me is the strategy that God keeps going back to over and over, especially when a major crisis looms. That strategy is to save the day by sending one guy. In the 9th century b.c., at a time of terrible spiritual weakness and even worse spiritual leadership, God’s Plan A was to send Elijah to rebuke an evil king (sounds like a death sentence,... Read More
Work ethic
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Todd Rundgren got it right. There is a sound track running in most guys’ brains (and probably a lot of women’s too), and it goes like this: “I don’t want to work. I just want to bang on the drum all day.” When children are babies, their parents are their servants, even slaves, because they are so helpless. Teenagers kind of want it to stay that way—they easily grow fond of someone else washing dishes, clothes, and cars. Teaching my... Read More
A to Z
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Normally I don’t like people to tell me how a movie turns out. I may want to see it and don’t want the plot given away. I appreciate it when magazine movie reviews announce “spoiler alert” early on; if I have even a half interest in seeing the movie, I will skip the review. I’ll tell you, though, that in one major aspect of my life I don’t mind at all hearing the outcome in advance. Jesus our Savior was... Read More
Mutual submission
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If you are not a believer in Christ, you probably won’t get this one at all. In the marketplace, you have to demand your rights or you will get walked over. You have to make your demands and expectations explicit. In Christ’s world, though, you enter marriage the way he entered planet Earth: as a servant. Does this sound like fun? “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). On the face of it, I suppose not.... Read More
Don't talk about a cross
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Jesus disappointed just about everybody with whom he came into contact regarding the kind of Messiah they wanted and expected him to be. He didn’t move fast enough for his mother, infuriated the religious establishment, and even scared his disciples by his death-talk. They wanted none of that: “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. . . . Peter took him aside and began to rebuke... Read More