Normally a ministry of a year and a half would be thought of as terribly short. But for St. Paul it was a huge investment of time and demonstrated a mission field that was unusually productive. Paul was a rapid traveler and planter; he left it to others to do the longer-term teaching and harvesting.
He had encountered severe hostility early on in Corinth, and he might have left early but for this amazing revelation given to him in a... Read More
Looking backward is a dangerous indulgence. It turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. It can turn your marriage salty and sour if you keep looking backward, wondering if you should perhaps have chosen a different spouse from former boyfriends or girlfriends.
Pride is deadly in all relationships, including marriage. When you start feeling that you’ve been cheated in life, that your spouse owes you, or that you could have done better, it’s time for a new “marriage garment”:... Read More
Is the glass of your life half full or half empty right now? Is your heart full of optimism or regrets? Do the coming days of Christmas fill you with joyful anticipation or sad memories? The more you put pressure on yourself to make things happen, the more frustrated you will be. “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish,... Read More
I can never read the third chapter of Ecclesiastes without hearing the Byrds’ version of Pete Seeger’s folk song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in my head. King Solomon’s original words are a poetic and honest summary of the often paradoxical opposites of life. We can readily understand some of these pairs—such as “there is a time to be silent and a time to speak”—but is God really giving his blessing on “a time to kill” and “a time to hate”?
Are... Read More
I’ve been lied to plenty in my life, but there is one person from whom I absolutely must have the truth and nothing but the truth—my doctor. If I have a problem, I want straight talk.
It is indeed important to be gentle and respectful when we talk to people who seem to be slipping away from the Lord. But we still need to communicate clearly and passionately that the wages of sin is death but eternal life is God’s... Read More
Home builders who do not spend serious time studying the construction site and taking proper steps in the excavation and foundation phases are asking for trouble (and lawsuits) later. Special steps need to be taken if you’re in a flood plain or in tornado or hurricane or earthquake country. Even more important—what kind of spiritual foundation is underneath your life? How can you prepare yourself so that the storms that will come won’t ruin your life and destroy your eternity?... Read More
Some communities have been sued into getting rid of their public Christmas trees and crèches, but other places allow them as long as Jewish menorahs can be displayed as well. Perhaps a few cynics simply assume that Hanukkah provides Jewish kids a chance to get presents like their non-Jewish friends, but the annual December festival has its origin in an important historical event.
From 586–167 b.c. the Jews were not a truly independent nation. They were a vassal state for... Read More
We try so hard to get our lives under control—our finances, our family, our jobs—but things keep breaking down. You know what it’s like to sing the blues, when the lyrics are groans, sighs, and bitter complaints. Maybe some of those blues lyrics have been part of your prayers that you were sending to heaven, imploring God to intervene and change your world.
But then—shock! He does answer your prayers in the way you’d hoped, or even better than you’d... Read More
Only bakers really appreciate the usefulness and function of yeast. Bread made without it stays flat and compact, and it is not particularly enjoyable to eat unless baked in thin sheets. Yeast in dough reacts with the starches and produces carbon dioxide, which causes the whole ball of dough to expand and rise. When baked, the yeast dies, but the air pockets remain, creating fluffier and tastier bread.
That’s how the Spirit works among people. Jesus “told them still another... Read More
Elizabeth Barrett Browning had simply titled her poetry “Sonnet 43,” but her 14 lines made it one of the most famous poems in the English language.
How do I love thee? Jewelry stores are buying immense amounts of TV airtime right now, helping the concept to dawn on romantically minded men young and old to purchase gifts at their stores that will thrill the hearts of the females whose attention these men desire. Black Friday kicked off the mad annual... Read More