Spirit power
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One of the things I appreciate about the Bible is its honesty about its heroes and main characters. Noah, Moses, Aaron, David, and Solomon were great men but also sometimes great fools. The four gospels that tell the life of Christ are also brutally honest about the foolish things Jesus’ disciples said and did during their three-year training course. But they learned, matured, and grew up. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to take the message about Christ’s person and... Read More
I don't know what to do
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For a book whose last chapter was completed roughly two thousand years ago, the Bible is an astonishingly comprehensive and contemporary resource. It lays out who God is, what he has done in human history, how he would like to be treated, and how he would like us to treat one another. Want to know how to act? “Should not a people inquire of their God?” (Isaiah 8:19). The more of the Word you know, the clearer your mind. But... Read More
From creation
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One of the crucially important roles that families are supposed to play is to socialize the next generation, that is, hand down instruction about social behaviors that are appropriate, constructive, polite, and functional. Kids are not born knowing how to finish a job, keep a promise, or hold their tempers. Or build a lasting, happy marriage. Here is where God’s Word really helps. Marriage is not a business contract that two corporate attorneys hammer out. Marriage is not a somewhat... Read More
I'm ashamed of my past
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’Tis a sad thing that the past cannot be changed. Even the great St. Paul had some permanent and painful memories of violent and unbelieving things he had done as a young man. I certainly am ashamed of time and money wasted on stupid things in my own youth. That’s why we so resonate with Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son: “The younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth... Read More
We're exhausted
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Have you ever noticed that when God is about to do something extraordinary, he first lets the believers exhaust themselves trying to do it on their own? He made Abraham and Sarah wait until he was 99 and she 89 before she conceived the child promised a quarter century earlier. And when Jesus was going to use a mammoth fish catch as the platform for re-calling his disciples, he first let them exhaust themselves in the boat all night. Their... Read More
I'm afraid of being alone
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God made us to be social creatures—we were not made to exist alone. We were all made to communicate and love. But what do you do when “alone” is where life put you, when there is no one in your house to love and communicate with? Not all those who want to be married find a spouse whom they can trust. In spite of the best intentions, divorce happens. Children all move away. Far away. Widowhood happens. Do you know... Read More
Gravestones
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Have you ever visited a military cemetery? All burial places are holy and a little spooky, but veterans’ cemeteries are profoundly moving: row upon row of identical, small, white stone markers, each with a terse legend of the person’s name, dates, and military unit. Some of the bodies lying there were shot up badly; many of the dead died of disease; some graves contain only fragments. All those stones mark the final resting places of fallen warriors; all are heroes... Read More
Does God cry too?
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How do you imagine God from day to day? All-powerful? Serene in majesty? Imperturbable and calm, always in control? Does it surprise you to hear that the Bible tells us that God does not always get what he wants? That he is often frustrated, unable to understand the destructive behaviors of his children, upon whom he has lavished education, love, and resources? That God gets sad too? Sad enough to cry. “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who... Read More
Go public
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You’ve heard of secret relationships, right? When a married man is having an affair, the woman he is seeing on the side is his “mistress.” Nobody can know because it’s a secret. He can never take her anywhere, never say anything publicly about her, never mention her name in his regular world. I wonder if sometimes God feels like a mistress. People want a personal relationship with him, but they’re not proud of him in public. Nobody else knows they’re... Read More
Pardon
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When we dare to speak out and reach out to people who seem to be sliding away, we don’t have to put pressure on them to clean themselves up first. Undoubtedly they will be caught in some sins private or public, but that’s not where the change process starts. It doesn’t start in the individual. It starts with simply telling some good news about God, about who he is and what he has done. “I, even I, am he who... Read More