Living in the golden age
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It’s hard to imagine that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were human beings. The stories and legends and the passage of many decades have made them seem superhuman. Their images are burned into our imaginations—Washington in his blue frock coat and buff breeches on his white horse, Lincoln looking sad-eyed into the camera as if anticipating his assassination. And yet in their day they took plenty of abuse. People sneered at Washington for being a highborn aristocratic slaveholder, and Lincoln... Read More
Husbands, lead
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At first glance, the Bible’s instructions for husbands sound right up our male fantasy alley. The husband is head of the wife? Cool. “Honey, go make dinner while I take a nap.” But listen to how the Bible describes Christian headship: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). You might say that Christ loved us to death. His death. This is Christ-love for husbands: loving her not for what... Read More
Join the team; love the team
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I think most of us underestimate our own selfishness. It’s so much easier to see it in other people, and I know I’m not always paying attention when people (family included) send me hints about my own. Teenagers especially struggle with this. They are naturally pushing away from their parents. They are trying on masks to figure out who they are. They are trying to be their own person and not just get sucked into their parents’ identity. They crave... Read More
Hide-and-seek
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“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Doesn’t that passage make you feel like you’re in some religious hide-and-seek game with God? I wonder if he’s in the basement. Nope. Maybe he’s hiding under the bed. Not there either. I wonder if he’s hiding behind the couch. No way. I get a picture in my head that he runs from spot to spot, trying to make it impossible for me... Read More
Morning people
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Some folks are just plain grumpy when they wake up. They roll out of bed with disheveled hair and a chip on their shoulder. A perky greeting from a morning person just makes it worse. It may be best to steer clear of them until their fog lifts. Kind of makes a person feel bad for looking forward to a new day. Christians are morning people. Our faith is in God’s faithfulness. Our experience with him prompts a positive outlook... Read More
Humble before the Lord
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Perhaps you’ve seen coworkers coming back from a weekday worship service with gray smudges on their foreheads. Some Christian churches not only use the term Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of Lent, but they literally apply ash paste to the worshipers as a reminder of our sin, our mortality, and the terrible price that had to be paid to remove both. Whether or not you wear ashes on your forehead, it is appropriate to come before your Lord in... Read More
God invented love
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The day to express love through cards and gifts has a strange and murky beginning. The early Christian church honored the memory of a number of men named Valentinus and celebrated their feast day on February 14. Their legends describe them as heroic priests who were martyred in a time of persecution. Over the centuries the observance acquired overtones of romance and pagan images like the boy-god Cupid shooting his little love arrows. None of that really matters. Thanks to this... Read More
Unshackled
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In Republic, Plato, the philosopher who lived from about 427 to 347 b.c., described a group of chained prisoners facing the back wall of a cave. All they ever saw were shadows cast by people in the cave walking past a fire. Plato pictures a prisoner from that cave breaking free, seeing the light of the fire and the people casting the shadows, and then getting out of the cave to experience the sun’s full light. Plato used that to... Read More
Issachar leadership
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What qualities do you most want to see in your leaders? Honesty? Financial integrity? Marital faithfulness? Loyalty? Yes, all these and more. The book of Chronicles in Scripture gives us unique insight into what constitutes great leadership. Consider the two hundred or so officers that the tribe of Issachar provided for King David’s armed forces. The census for each of the other tribes’ military presence lists tens of thousands of skilled fighters who came to David’s side. But Issachar’s contribution... Read More
Build your love muscles
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You get out of it what you put into it. People who faithfully work out know this is true. Sitting at home on the couch makes you weaker. So does simply going through the motions. If you want to get stronger, you lift heavier weights. If you want to be faster, you have to do sprints. When it comes to faith, thanks to what Jesus has done for you, you definitely do not get out of it what you put... Read More