Christian Life

Christian Life

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A few years back I read a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian who lived during the Third Reich’s reign of terror. He refused to bow to the Nazis’ demands of the church, and ultimately they imprisoned and executed him. He faced his death with remarkable confidence, fully trusting that being executed for his convictions was far preferable to compromise. Death did not frighten him. That kind of attitude has always fascinated me, and the apostle Paul certainly had…

Paul’s Pity Party

Instead of blowing up the balloons and sending out invitations to the pity party, maybe we should first sit down and talk to the Lord.

I don’t have time

I don’t have time. I say those words a lot, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. All of us have to make choices with our time. I think the issue is what we say those words about. And whom we say them to. Paul addresses the principle here: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16). How we spend our time…

Fear

The longer I live, the more I realize the huge role fear plays in our lives as Christians. Do you ever worry? About your health, your kids, your future? Most of us do, and worry is just another word for fear. Why do we fudge the truth? Probably because we’re scared of what’ll happen if we don’t. Why do we sometimes fail to say what needs to be said? Because we’re afraid of confrontation, or the effects of confrontation, or…

People like you

Sometimes it’s easy to see the good stuff that God is doing in other people’s lives. Maybe that preacher or writer or godly stalwart of the faith at church—we can see what God is doing there. But in us? In me? We’re all-too-conscious of the ugly things we’ve shoved into one of our closets to think that God might be doing something significant in us. But listen to Paul: And I am sure of this, that he who began a…

Too busy

Mary and Martha were like a lot of siblings—they loved each other like crazy, and sometimes they just drove each other crazy. Can you relate? This story about them always makes me laugh—Martha asks the Son of God to help her settle a little sisterly spat. Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet…

I hate your sin

We don’t hate sin enough, or at least most of us don’t. Well, we do hate some sin, and we hate it with a passion. It makes our blood boil. Like pedophilia, and other kinds of sexual misconduct . . . especially when the weak and vulnerable are involved. We hate that, and we should. It’s been all over the news lately, and I’m glad to see the moral outrage. Maybe America still has a conscience. We hate other sins…

When You Can’t Sleep

Some of you couldn’t sleep last night because of worry. You had an argument with a co-worker, perhaps, or with your spouse or child. Maybe you’re worried about your health, your debt, or your job. David had those nights, like we all do. During one of them he wrote this: “O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God” (Psalm 3:1-2). Satan loves…

Mud pies in a slum

I remember taking the kids to the store back when they were young. I’m pretty sure that by the time we left, one of them had asked for everything the store sold, and probably a few things it didn’t. At some point, I would say something like, “Look, please don’t ask for anything else today. You’ve got everything you could possibly need, and you don’t need everything you see.” If you’re a parent, you’ve probably had similar experiences. I wonder…

The Sword

The sword is often used as a symbol of death or destruction in God’s word. Paul wrote, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35). Then we see a sword listed as part of our spiritual “equipment” in (Ephesians 6:17), and maybe we feel a sense of power. But, what is the purpose of the “sword of the Spirit” (Word of God)? “Therefore…

Cup of cold water

Have you checked today’s headlines yet? Several college students got drunk and started a fight, two of everyone’s favorite celebrities filed for divorce, and the coach is “very excited” about the next game. “We hope to be competitive,” he said. There was a murder downtown, a meth lab exploded, and police are looking for a suspect in a string of convenience store robberies. A professional athlete feels disrespected and unappreciated by his $8 million-per-year offer, so he’ll probably ask to…

Afraid of God?

Should we be scared of God? The quick and easy answer is no, of course we shouldn’t. He’s a God of love, grace, and compassion. But that answer would be too quick and superficial. What are we supposed to do with passages like this one? Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,…
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