Anyone can get into a fight. It takes no brains to fight, only glands. Growing up as a Christian involves many learned behaviors, like telling the truth, putting others ahead of yourself, and deferring gratification. It also involves learning how to be a peacemaker.
Harmony between people, even between Christians, never just happens, because our natural state is fighting. The apostle Peter grew up a lot from the first time he laid down his fishing nets to follow Jesus: “Finally,... Read More
One of the characteristics of bad movies is that they make cartoons out of people—their characters are either all pure or all evil. The reality is that all of us are walking contradictions. Sometimes we are courageous, sometimes cowardly. Sometimes we are noble, sometimes weak and selfish. Sometimes we are generous, other times miserly. The best movies illustrate how even villains have some admirable qualities and how hard even “good” people have to strive against their weaknesses.
Our faith lives... Read More
Wood is created by God, and then sometimes people carve idols out of it. Animals and planets are created by God and in some cultures represent mythological gods. The imaginative power of the human mind is created by God, and with it we engineer our own saviors.
As he watches us flirt with false gods, something in our Maker and Redeemer clicks, making him wish we were giving him our attention instead. After God found his special people Israel dancing... Read More
A few years ago, researchers at Cornell University found that we make 226.7 decisions about food in a single day. I’m not sure how they came up with that number, but we humans make a lot of choices.
Often, we make choices rather unconsciously. In some cases, that’s fine. I would hope you don’t expend a lot of mental energy trying to decide whether to use a spoon or a fork to eat your cereal or whether to use your... Read More
Thomas Dorsey grew up playing blues and jazz piano, sometimes in pretty disreputable places. But he underwent a religious conversion, and things really began to come together for him. He formed his own music publishing company, got married, and had just accepted a prestigious new job as choral director at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago.
He accepted an invitation to play at a revival in St. Louis, leaving his pregnant wife in Chicago. While on the road he got a... Read More
Of all the risks that God has taken in his creation of the world and its people, the biggest is in his desire to be loved. Love, you see, cannot be coerced. It must be given. In order for love to be given freely, people must have the ability not to give it.
Through his Old Testament prophets, God opens up his aching heart over people who should know better yet who are abandoning the faith they once had. What’s... Read More
The Lord promises to do for you what he did for Jacob, a man fleeing from the troubles he had made for himself. As Jacob wondered whether or not the Lord—the God of his fathers—was with him, angels appeared to him in a dream, ascending and descending a stairway to heaven (Genesis 28:12). The faithful Lord God was still with Jacob, and he didn’t need to be afraid.
We take comfort in that truth, and we believe that Jesus is... Read More
Wisdom is not the same thing as knowledge.
People with knowledge may have acquired a load of facts and information. They may be unbeatable masters of Trivial Pursuit or history nerds who know the dates and names of every battle in the Civil War’s Peninsula Campaign. But that doesn’t mean that they know what that information means, or more important, what to do with it. Having wisdom means that you can interpret the facts to know their significance, to be... Read More
Commercial buildings and homes are lit from power plants, which derive their energy from burning coal or gas, nuclear reactions, giant wind turbines, or from solar arrays.
People need power too. We need food as the daily fuel for our bodies, but we need strength for our spirit as well—the strength to make the right choices, to stand up for what is right, protect those weaker than we, admit our mistakes and take responsibility, carry our own load plus help... Read More
The Holy Spirit has always been connected with the stories of God’s incredible creativity. In the first verses of Genesis, at the very beginning of the Bible itself, we hear that the Spirit hovered over the unformed watery mass. And then came the explosion of order and beauty and diversity, the explosion of life on earth.
The Spirit lives also in the hearts of men and women, bringing his divine spark to the children whom he has made. When God... Read More