He restores me
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One of the hazards of reading extended metaphors in the Bible is the difficulty of knowing exactly how the ideas in the word pictures actually apply to your own life. The Shepherd Psalm is couched almost entirely in images, and you can muse dreamily on the happy pictures of sheep and their shepherd in a meadow and not get the point for your life right now. Right now you might be underwater financially, in danger of losing your job, struggling... Read More
He provides for me
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Without a doubt the 23rd is the most famous of all the psalms. Many Christians know it by heart. It is often heard at funerals and murmured to people in their hospital beds. It has provided comfort and hope to millions of stressed believers over the centuries. Its author, King David, wrote it from his own personal experience as a teenager, when he was put in charge of tending his father’s flocks. He knew sheep. He knew their needs, their... Read More
If egos went missing
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Imagine a day when our egos run away. They don’t get what they want, so they take their ball and go home. They refuse to participate and vow never to return. Imagine a day when they decide to punish everyone by pulling out. What would a day without egos be like? Well, meetings would be shorter. Productivity would increase. The future would unfold seamlessly. And everyone would sleep better. God instructs us to send our egos packing and follow Christ’s... Read More
Armed for battle
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Have you ever witnessed the sport of paintball? In paintball, players try to eliminate opponents by shooting dye-filled capsules at each other with special paintball guns. Although paintball is supposed to be fun, I’ve heard that getting hit stings pretty badly. Most people who paintball wear a layer of clothing to protect themselves. They know they’re entering a “war zone” and attack is imminent. They’d be foolish to show up without ample clothing to shield them from some of the... Read More
That's not what I wanted
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Young children are known for honesty, sometimes painful honesty. The things they blurt out without thinking to their relatives at Christmastime can make parents flinch with embarrassment. Unable to conceal their childish disappointment as the wrapping paper comes off, their faces scrunch up: “That’s not what I wanted.” A paralyzed man two thousand years ago had legs that didn’t work any longer, but his heart worked plenty well. It was pounding furiously as his friends brought him near Jesus, the... Read More
God is a pattern maker
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God is a pattern maker. Like every skilled craftsman, he uses the good patterns repeatedly. There is the two-eye pattern. Every critter I can think of has two eyes spaced evenly on its head. Yes, there’s the flounder. Its eyes migrate to the top of its head, which is convenient for a fish spending its life on the bottom of the ocean. There’s the fur-on-the-surface pattern. Hairy things of all kinds wear their coats on the outside where they can... Read More
Lead us not into temptation
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“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15). Temptations are evil suggestions to a believer’s heart and mind to rebel against God’s will. While God indeed allows,... Read More
Freedom in forgiveness
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Genesis 32 sounds like the lead up to an epic battle scene in a dramatic war movie. Jacob’s fear is obvious as he prepares to reunite with his brother Esau for the first time in decades. I imagine his stomach had been churning for days. Family reunions aren’t that bad, are they? This one was. The last time these brothers had seen each other, Jacob had covertly stolen the blessing his father, Isaac, had reserved for the firstborn son, Esau.... Read More
Hell is real
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Adam and Eve brought three curses on their descendants: physical suffering, death, and hell. Hell is an eternal condition, first in soul and then soul and body. People today don’t appear to take it seriously; after all, no one has ever seen the real thing and come back to tell about it. The word hell is either an adult spice word for emphasis or else the scene of The Far Side cartoons where a red-suited devil with a pitchfork and... Read More
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What are you going to do with your money when you die? Unless you’re an Egyptian pharaoh, you probably aren’t planning to take it with you. So who’s going to get that money? “Who cares?” people think. “It’s no good to me anymore.” We value money and possessions so highly until we’re gone and they can no longer personally benefit us. Perhaps Christians should put a bit more thought into the matter. Establishing a will can ensure that the money... Read More