Christian Life

Christian Life

Shouldn’t have said that

I’ve rarely regretted keeping my mouth shut, but fairly often I kick myself for saying something I shouldn’t have (and wouldn’t have if I’d stopped to think). You might be the same way. Your child irritates you, and you spit out something that bites. You get in an argument with your spouse, and before you know it you’ve thrown a dart that hurts. (In marriage, we know where all of the tender spots are . . .) Or maybe it…
Punching a red punch bag

When we struggle

The more I read the Bible, the more I’m struck by how often it talks about endurance. The longer I live, the more I realize how badly we need it. Life is hard. If it isn’t right now, it will be soon enough. I don’t think that’s overly pessimistic; it’s confirmed almost every day as I hear about things people are facing. A friend finds out he has cancer. A Christian discovers her husband is cheating. Another faces debilitating depression,…
business man with problems and stress in the office

Don’t Worry

If you’re one of those people who obey this passage with something close to consistency, I applaud you. Here’s what Paul writes: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6). Just to make sure we understand exactly what he’s commanding, here are a couple…

Be Nice

We Christians ought to be nice, you know? Kind, gentle, warm, friendly. Perhaps that’s not anything new to you, but it seems to me that occasionally we overemphasize some things and forget about others. For example, we’ve really stressed what the Bible teaches about baptism, the church, sexuality, what women can and cannot do, and so on. And we don’t need to ignore “doctrinal” matters. People need to hear what God said about issues like those, so we shouldn’t shy…

Thank You

Sometimes my prayers are characterized more by habit than by heart. “Father, I thank you so much for this food and for this day and for my family and for every blessing. Thank you for our house and our clothes and our friends. And, of course, thank you for Jesus.” I can say all that—and quite a bit more—without thinking at all about what I’ve said. Do you ever do this? We fall so easily into the rut of ritualism,…

Getting along

Have you ever (secretly) wished that everybody in the church would be more like you? Most of us probably wouldn’t admit it, but maybe we’ve looked down our noses at some church folks and wondered why they’ve got the issues they do. Truth is, if everybody in the church was like you and me, we’d still have problems. It’s just the way it is. Last week I wrote about how much I appreciate the sweet fellowship of God’s people, and…

God’s family

I’m sure there’s enjoyable fellowship outside of God’s family, but I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like not to have the church. These are my people. Oh, they’ve got their problems, of course (don’t we all?), but people within the household of faith are my support group. I grieve and rejoice with them, I depend on them, I need them. Where does everyone else find this? At a local bar? With their bowling club? I’m thinking it’s a…

Look ahead

It’s a cliché, I know, but it became a cliché because it’s true. Don’t live in the past. Is that you? Are you beating yourself up over something you did years ago? I think the apostle Paul struggled with that. In some of his letters he mentioned the terrible things he’d done to Christians years earlier, referring to himself as the “worst” of sinners and the “least of the apostles” (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:9). It bothered him. I’m…

Expectations

In Luke chapter 9, we read that Jesus sent His disciples into the towns and villages to teach the gospel and to heal.  Followers of Jesus should expect to be sent. We don’t become Christians to be served or catered to. So, in our youth ministry, we are hoping to help equip our children for their mission to reach out to the lost and dying world and show them Jesus. But when Jesus sent his disciples out to work, he…

Inviting

I’ve heard of people who have led thousands to Christ in their lives—through preaching to huge audiences or writing books or tracts that reach thousands. That’ll never happen for most of us. Paul established dozens of churches, and Peter preached to enormous crowds. Both of them wrote letters about Jesus that have been read by hundreds of millions. My circle of influence is considerably smaller than that. Once we’ve realized that, we’ve got two options. We can resent our situation,…

Chest-thumping?

Maybe there’s a little bit of a my-dad-can-beat-up-your-dad spirit in many of us, but most of us also recognize it’s not much fun being around someone who’s always one up. Is there a braggart or two in your world? It might actually intimidate kids on the playground, but it’s wise not to try it in God’s house. Read Paul’s boasting below, but don’t miss his point: For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory…

Stiff-necked

Ever dealt with someone stubborn? I mean really stubborn, as in talking-to-a-wall stubborn? [Some of you are thinking, Yes, I’m married to him . . . :-)] I’ve even heard some folks describing themselves this way as if it were a compliment. It’s not. Or at least God never uses it that way. In fact, sometimes it’s translated with a word that creates an interesting image: And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it…