God

God

Self-made

She’s a self-made millionaire. He’s a self-made man. Self-made? It starts early in many of us. When one of our kids was a toddler, she shied away from accepting our help with almost anything she was trying to do. “I do it self!” she would say (quite emphatically). Tempting, isn’t it? We’re much too socially conscious to say it out loud, but we’ve been tempted to think the same thing, with only a slight modification. Maybe it’s success on the…

The Omega

Most of us have been tempted by the buy-now-and-pay-later mantra. After all, why wait for something when you can have it right now? It’s effective with us because of our finite nature as human beings. We’re bound—to a great extent, at least—by time. We’re aware of the past, and we anticipate the future, but more than anything, there’s today. That causes problems, of course. The Lord referred to himself as the Alpha and Omega in several places. He’s our Alpha,…

The Alpha

You’ve made bad decisions, right? Some of them were really bad, resulting in things you’re embarrassed about, stuff you won’t share with anyone who doesn’t already know. Welcome to normal. It must be written in our DNA. Decision-making is a complex process, of course, and unfortunately, we can’t will ourselves into always making the right decisions. But here’s a good place to start: When the Lord revealed himself to John near the end of the apostle’s life, he said: “I…

His good pleasure

It’s clear that God expects a human response in our relationship to him, but do we sometimes emphasize what we do above what he’s doing? It’s important to recognize that God’s saving us begins, continues, and ends with his initiative, not ours. Notice how Paul mentions both in this passage: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and…

Hezekiah

Hezekiah was a breath of fresh air among the kings of Judah during the divided kingdom of Israel.  He “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” He tore down idols in the land and reinstated the worship practices that God had instituted.  He “trusted in God so that there was none like him among the kings of Judah after him nor before him. (2 Kings 18:3-5) He didn’t get his goodness from his dad.  Hezekiah, a son…

Way more love

Some things you just can’t have too much of. Like ice cream. Or time with family. Or kisses from your three-day-old little girl. Of course, Paul wasn’t talking about any of those things in Philippians 1, though I doubt he’d disagree with me. Here’s what he says: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for…

He Knows Just What I Need

It is interesting that we don’t really recognize any of the prophets, who lived during the divided kingdom of Israel, up until Elijah, who served as a prophet during the reigns of Zimri, Omri, and Ahab. About Omri, it was said that he “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did more evil than all who were before him” I Kings 16:25).  That sounds really bad, but Omri’s son, Ahab who succeeded him “did more to…

Who’s Winning?

Sometimes I look at the world and get a little discouraged. I see inexplicable violence, blatant perversion, rampant materialism, and I worry about the future. I know they’re not, but sometimes like it looks like the bad guys are winning. The composers of the Psalms had the same thought, apparently, because thoughts like these are all over the place. Why are you letting them win, God? What are we supposed to do? Where are you? Why aren’t you doing something?…

Can’t Wait

Jesus might come back today . . . does that thought scare you? It frightened me when I was a kid. I’d hear a loud clap of thunder and think briefly that this might be it. Am I ready? Am I going to heaven? What if I’m not? The Bible has a much different emphasis, though, at least for believers. Notice the thread that runs through these verses: And be like men who are waiting for their master to come…

You are Mindful of Us

Our world is unfathomably huge. The sun’s light that bathes the earth today left the sun 8 minutes and 20 seconds ago traveling at about 186,000 miles per second. The distance it traveled—93 million miles—isn’t really that far, though, at least not when talking about the universe. Our little galaxy is just one of millions. I doubt David knew too much about astronomy, but he had looked up into the sky at night enough to know how incredible it is…

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…

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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