Turn on the light
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We had friends over one night, and six kids were playing in the bedroom. The slightly bigger kids were turning the bedroom into a haunted house, complete with spooky noises and no lights. Justin, the one toddler in the room, ran to turn on the lights, saying, “Scary!” The other five wanted the lights off, enjoying the elementary-school level of fear they were trying to create. Back and forth the disagreement went. The toddler wouldn’t give up. Finally, the other... Read More
God and politics
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’Tis election season (actually, it seems like it’s been election season for two years. Just sayin’ . . .) Is there anything in the Bible that can help us sort our way through the chaos of the choices we will have to make? Well, not much. Election of government officials by popular vote was pretty much unknown in Bible times. Leadership and authority in those days came either from your family and clan or from the king. Kings aren’t elected.... Read More
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The Fourth Commandment expresses God’s timeless will for all families, directing all children everywhere to honor their parents. Jesus himself loved his mom and stepdad. Scripture tells us that he was a dutiful and obedient son as he was growing up. His tender words of care for Mary, spoken in his agony on the cross, demonstrated his compassion and determination to put others’ needs before his own. How then could he seem to encourage family hatred? “Large crowds were traveling... Read More
Really, Jesus? Love my enemies?
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Nobody could accuse Jesus of pandering to an audience. The prophetic task of proclaiming the Word of God was once described (apologies to journalist Finley Peter Dunne) as “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” Nobody could afflict the comfortable like Jesus. He could dish it out to the smug Pharisees, but he also turned up the heat on his own disciples. His famous Sermon on the Mount took some comfy “church people” assumptions and turned them upside down. Such... Read More
The best treat of all!
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“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). In just a few days, little Cinderellas, Darth Vaders, ninjas, and ballerinas—children whom Jesus loves very much—will ring your doorbell. They seem to love all the pretend scary elements that come with trick-or-treating. In reality, though, each one of these children may have life circumstances that are truly dark and scary. What they may not know... Read More
All your needs
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Would you believe it if someone told you, “I can meet your every need”? What if that someone was your future spouse? your doctor? your boss? Most of us have been around long enough to realize that such a claim has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. Nevertheless, someone has made that promise to us. That Someone doesn’t say he can meet all our needs. He says he will. “And my God will meet all your needs according... Read More
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So many different tribes of people on earth; so many different languages; so many different cultures, histories, and achievements; so many different nations. But on judgment day, there will be only two—those whose clothes are clean and those whose are dirty. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral,... Read More
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Procrastinators have a way of pretending that the day of accountability will never come. Students know that there will be final exams but can’t resist going out for some beers when they should be studying. Company accountants know that the audit is coming, but they don’t budget enough prep time. Branch managers know that inspectors from the central office are coming someday, but that day seems far off. Here’s a big question for your life—do you really believe that Jesus... Read More
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Pretty much everybody knows what it’s like to be mocked, shamed, humiliated, and ridiculed. Sometimes those things come because of your faith. Persecution of Christians began soon after Christ ascended into heaven, and in one way or another it hasn’t stopped. People today still suffer for their Christian faith. The book of Revelation reveals that all Christians are winners. Those who came to faith in Christ have arisen from the spiritual death into which they were born; they have already... Read More
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Everybody in Los Angeles loves Hollywood parties. That’s where deals get hatched, that’s where the beautiful people go to be seen, and that’s where up-and-comers try to get noticed by people who make things happen in show business. But woe to you if you are a “B” trying to get into an A-list party. “I’m sorry, sir—your name does not appear to be on the guest list. Vinnie, would you escort this gentleman to the gate?” Here’s good news—the Bible... Read More