Well this is embarrassing.
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BY JARED C WILSON
Sigh. I would love to enjoy fellowship with God, to receive his blessing and his righteousness. But I don’t have clean hands and a pure heart, and I have often lifted up my soul to falsehood and have sworn deceitfully. If that’s the standard for acceptance unto God’s favor, I can only hang my head in shame and sorrow.
You will not read articles about how Jesus is a “life coach” that just wants to help you get ahead in life. You will not hear teaching that leaves you with the impression that God is stuck in heaven fretting over the world as he looks down in anxiety, just hoping someone will do enough to get the blessing…
God makes sure that Israel understands why He destroyed certain nations and why He gave them the promised land. Is the Old Testament about works while the New Testament is about grace? What does God mean that people are stubborn and stiff-necked? Is there anything more stubborn than sinners?
BY MARTIN LUTHER
We will look at the command to love, in the Law of God. Innumerable, endless, are the books and doctrines produced for the direction of man's conduct. And there is still no limit to the making of books and laws. Note the ecclesiastical and civil regulations, the spiritual orders and stations.
Do you remember fairy tales? Tales of magical creatures and far away fantasy lands? They were legends of lore that included dragons, magic, a moral to the story or a hero saving the day. I am a history nut and love the old stuff. I am willing to bet that when you reflect on what are considered to be a fairy tale classics…
If vengeance belongs to God how should we deal with evil? If the church deals in sin and grace how does crime and punishment work? How is the law useful in society? If all authority is from God, what about tyrannical leaders? What does it mean to make no provision for the flesh?
I'm firing on all cylinders when my head hits the pillow. Does that happen to you? I’ll replay my failures from the day, especially the embarrassing ones. I shouldn’t have said that. What was I thinking? Was I too rude to that person? Was that the right response? I hope they didn’t take what I said the wrong way.
Forgiveness. Reconciliation. They are beautiful notions until we have some reconciling and forgiving to do. It is easy to say we believe in forgiveness. Quick is the silver tongue that speaks the, “I forgive you.” Slow are the feet of clay which shamble ever so slowly and cautiously toward the behavior that follows forgiveness.
BY NORMAN NAGEL
When the scriptures say "firstfruits" it means there are more gifts to follow. With every gift, God pushes our hands wider open to receive a still larger gift. The bother with us is that we often hold our hands open just enough for little gifts in fear that if the gifts get too big they may overwhelm us.
God explains that He has humbled Israel for their own good. How should we view the discipline of God? What does it mean that man cannot live by bread alone? What does it mean to “bless the Lord’? Why is God careful about what He gives us? Chad and Daniel discuss all of this. Have a listen!
Seasons of prolonged suffering have a way of beating your spirit down into the dust. Relational suffering. Physical suffering. Emotional suffering. Financial suffering. All of it can leave you feeling hopeless. We find ourselves looking up at the sky and wondering where He went or if He was ever there to begin with.
BY VALERIE LOCKLAIR
Shazam, the newest superhero rebooted by DC Comics, comes into existence through the power of one name—a name so powerful that, if uttered by one who is pure of heart, will allow the speaker to transform into the ideal man displaying the paragon virtues of wisdom, strength, stamina, courage, and speed.
Paul says in view of God’s mercy we should present ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice. What does it mean to not be conformed to the world but instead have our minds renewed? How should Christians view Paul’s instructions on how to live and treat other people? How does his list point us back to Jesus? How do we deal with Paul telling us to leave vengeance to God?
BY CHAD BIRD
God doesn’t believe in atheists. As they reject his existence, so he rejects their rejection. They may not believe in the true God, but they do fear, love, and trust in Some Thing. And that Some Thing is the deity enthroned within their hearts. All atheists are closet theists.
Thomas was the most fearless and courageous of all the disciples, in that he said when Christ wished to go again into Judea to Lazarus who was dead: “Let us also go, that we may die with him,” Such fine characters were the disciples of Christ and especially St. Thomas…
BY BROR ERICKSON
One of the great themes of the Game of Thrones is the personification of Death, most concretely in the form of the Night King, supreme commander of the blue-eyed nightwalkers. Arya Stark, Eddard Stark's third child, is catechized early in the cult of Death by her fencing instructor, Syrio Forel, the First Sword of Braavos.
How does the present way the Israelites speak of the exodus help us with how we understand our salvation? How do we deal with the judgment of God on entire nations of people? God tells the people not to fear but also not to get proud and something strange about a hornet. How is idolatry the cause of all kinds of misery?
BY PAUL DUNK
If I don't preach Christ, then there's really no reason anyone should roll out of bed on Sunday to hear anything I have to say. Everything about "church," apart from Jesus, can be found elsewhere. Music that gives you the feels? Make a playlist. Kids programs? Get out and explore your city
BY SCOTT DAVIS
Luke tells us that Jesus told the parable to “some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt.” It is important to remember that that isn’t two groups of people- such as: Over here are the people who are self-righteous and over here are the ones who treat others with contempt.
Has God rejected Israel? What happens when you try to obtain the promises of God through law-keeping? When God turns someone over to what they desire, does He stop reaching out to them? What is going on with people being cut off and others being grafted in? Where do Christians find their security? Exactly who does God have mercy on? Daniel and Erick discuss all of this.
BY CHAD BIRD
Some of the last words our Lord spoke were addressed to a man who stood on the precipice of eternity. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” It was no time to blabber some sentimental nonsense. No occasion for chitchat. The words to a dying man must be words pregnant with life.
For many, “Yesterday" by The Beatles is a poignant and powerful song. It is one of, if not the most, covered songs by the Beatles. It brings back memories of regret, remorse, heartache, and heartbreak. Why do we like this song so much if it seems to cause us such pain?
Chad and Daniel start chapter 6 of Deuteronomy. God tells the people to listen and to teach the word of God. What is the significance of the language of milk and honey? What does this and crossing the Jordan have o do with baptism? What does it mean that God is one? Why does God say not to put Him to the test? All of this is discussed.
BY MARTIN LUTHER
We should steadfastly maintain our teaching so that we never let any work take credit for gaining the favor and grace of God, for liberating us from sin, and for bringing us to heaven. My merit is worthless for this. And if someone should want to use it for this, I must trample it underfoot and damn it to the devil himself…
BY JAY SAWRIE
My wife is dead. She has been dead for over a month now, and it seems that grief is the ghost that haunts this apartment. I have entrusted her soul to God. She was my ever-faithful companion and encourager. She always pointed me to Christ. She was always longing to obey Christ.
Is righteousness ever obtained by the law? What does it mean that God has placed a stone of stumbling in Zion? What does it mean that Christ is the end of the law? If all who call on God are saved, how do we make sure they know to call?
I suppose it's natural not to want to take the blame or admit it when we have a problem. Even us adults never really grow out of it, we just learn to paper over our issues with euphemisms or more reasonable sounding excuses: "No, not me. I'm not abrasive and rude; I'm just honest and tell it like it is."
BY BROR ERICKSON
George R.R. Martin is famous for not allowing us much hope in his characters. The heroes all die. Some storytellers are incensed for the way he plays with the hopes of his readers. He certainly hasn't set out to tell the conventional story, where good wins and evil loses, though we all keep hoping good wins out.