One of our crosses to bear until Jesus returns is the fractured and fragmented nature of the outward Christian church. Though the invisible network of all true believers grows quietly through the Spirit’s faithful gathering, outwardly there seems to be disunity, competition, and criticism among denominations.
Some of that is good. Public teachings that contradict the Bible should be identified so that the gospel is not diluted or poisoned. Simultaneously every denominational leader should listen humbly to the critiques that... Read More
One of the best parts of family life is the vulnerability. You can let down your guard in a safe place. You don’t have to pretend to be strong, unemotional, and together 24 hours a day. There are understanding people who will like you anyway, even when you are confused, weak, and doubting.
One of the worst parts of family life is the vulnerability. Paradoxically some of the worst hurts in life come from those who profess to love us... Read More
It sure isn't hard to criticize what you don't understand. If you don't get around much, other people's culture and behaviors can sure seem weird, if not downright disgusting. Americans traveling abroad have been known to freak out over bathroom plumbing that looks nothing like home. The thought of eating seaweed and fish eggs has made some of our fellow Yankees green.
Long-lost son Joseph, now vice-pharaoh of Egypt, explained why his father's family wouldn't have to worry about assimilation... Read More
A second-grade girl stayed after school because she adored her teacher. She would help tidy up the room and do little tasks to prolong the time together. One day the teacher was busily writing on some papers and the girl asked her what she was doing. “Oh, filling out forms for my job,” the teacher replied. “Where do you work?” the little girl asked.
It is the lot of teachers to be taken for granted. Children assume that they are... Read More
It's kind of funny and ironic, but what's the one thing most people don't do on Labor Day? You guessed it-work. The day was set aside as a national holiday, of course, not to honor the concept of work, but to honor the labor movement in America. Probably most Americans today think of themselves as "working people" and resonate with the stories of the struggle for workplace safety and elimination of child labor.
But you are almost surely an employer... Read More
Being an outcast or outrider is an unfortunately common experience. I can still remember being the last one chosen for playground softball, and the only reason I was chosen at all is that the teacher made the captains involve everybody. I still remember my sophomore season on the bench as a third-stringer. Most women can remember the experience of being left out of the desirable girls' group. Every high school cafeteria has kids sitting at tables who feel like they... Read More
We barely give a thought to the military defenses that protect our nation. Missile silos in cornfields wait quietly, hoping never to be needed. Military satellites watch our borders; silent nuclear submarines prowl the Pacific; worldwide radar tracks everything moving in the air.
Your protectors in the spirit world do their work silently as well, carrying out God's loving orders to keep the believers safe from the evil one and his horde from hell. But even though we can't see... Read More
It is human nature to want what you don't have. The have-nots want to have. Mo' money is always mo' better. Materialism's twin sin is envy of the rich, and envy easily morphs into resentment. Have you ever noticed how soon political discourse every election season degenerates into manipulation of class resentments?
There is nothing glamorous or desirable about poverty. The Bible has great wisdom to help people endure it, but it is certainly no one's life goal. How much... Read More
We are born, all of us, with GDD--Gratitude Deficit Disorder. The notion that everything good in our lives was given by a gracious God has to be revealed to us. Without that critically important information from the Bible, we would live in the delusion that we made everything ourselves, or worse, that we were at the mercy of the gods of luck.
Learning to say thank you to other people is also learned behavior. We see ingratitude in our children... Read More
Making friends into enemies is Satan's work. Making strangers into friends, antagonists into brothers, is God's work. The gospel of Christ has reconciled God to us and us to God, closing the great chasm of sin and judgment and death. And the gospel does that wonderful work between separated people groups.
Cornelius was an officer of the Italian regiment of the Roman legions that occupied Israel. He was proud of his Roman heritage in law, engineering, and war and was... Read More