Grace & Life

On Being Haunted

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

I am often haunted by my past. I am daily haunted by what I should be doing. I am frequently haunted by what I should do tomorrow. I am haunted by my failure to act like my exhortations, duties, and responsibilities expect me to. I often struggle with looking at myself and observing how I am lacking in living right.

On Being Haunted

Ordinary Joy

BY DONAVON RILEY

She said, “Keep coming back, and you’ll know joy.” He wanted to vomit a rainbow of resentment, bitterness, and loathing all over her faux-leather boots. He already knew about joy. It was horrible stuff. Christians kept trying to rip it out of their hearts to share with him.

Ordinary Joy

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

BY BONNIE PETROSCHUK

I have been very busy lately, trying to understand things.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a deeper understanding of spiritual truth, but I have found that there is a pit on that path into which one can fall, and right now I feel like I’m sitting in that pit, too tired to climb back out.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

If Only I Could...

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

I love studying books on productivity and efficiency.  I have a big family, and I have little people who depend on me and actually expect to eat every day.  There is a lot on my plate, and all of it is important. I’ve learned many tricks in this whole parenting gig.

If Only I Could...

Christ’s Gifts For Ingrates

BY RYAN COUCH

Have you ever received a gift for which you were less than thrilled, but you had to pretend you really liked it so as not to offend the giver? It is an awkward feeling, but despite your ambivalence, it is the right thing to do. When Christ gives us his gifts he is not as interested in our response as our human counterparts.

Christ’s Gifts For Ingrates

It Never Depended Upon You

BY JAKE ALLSTAEDT

I visited a senior man at his home the other day. I'll refer to him as “Jim.” Jim had recently returned home from the hospital after recovering from a fall. The back-and-forth from hospital to home had become his rhythm of life, and, because of that rhythm, he had been unable to attend worship.

It Never Depended Upon You

I May Not Be A Smart Man, But I Know What The Gospel Is

BY TATE BARBER

I am not a good Lutheran. I have only been around reformation theology for a few years. I have trouble articulating why my son was baptized in a Lutheran church. I am terrible at exegesis. I fumble through discussions about the third use of the law, trying my hardest not to sound like an antinomian.

I May Not Be A Smart Man, But I Know What The Gospel Is

I’d Never Go to That Church

BY DONAVON RILEY

Would you go to the church on the corner knowing that the pastor is an ex-con? What about the congregation three streets over, where the pastor is prone to lying? You know which one. The pastor at the store-front church who’s always questioning the truth about what the Gospels say about Jesus?

I’d Never Go to That Church

Satan’s Two Favorite Lies

BY CHAD BIRD

Jesus cuts right to the chase when it comes to the evil one. He calls the devil “a liar and the father of lies,” (John 8:44). And the father of lies has his pet anti-truths. These lies, repeated often enough, can slowly drown out the promises of God.

Satan’s Two Favorite Lies

What Have You Done for God Lately? Too Much.

BY CHAD BIRD

If I were the devil, I wouldn’t just entice believers to do bad things. We’re experts at that anyway. I’d strongly encourage them to do more for God. Just a gentle nudge in that direction. And before you know it, some of them would be so hog-wild about doing stuff for Jesus…

  What Have You Done for God Lately? Too Much.

Grace for When You Can't Forgive

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

She was my friend, walking through marriage troubles.  Her husband was unfaithful to her, with the technicalities and carefully drawn lines of “not technically sex” and justifying himself, which had wounded her deeply.

Grace for When You Can't Forgive

The Greatness of the Gospel

BY MARTIN LUTHER

This is one of the best and most glorious Gospel lessons, such as John particularly wrote. It is worthy to be written in golden letters, not upon paper, but if possible upon the heart; it ought to be made the daily lesson and meditation of Christians, who should repeat it to strengthen their faith.

The Greatness of the Gospel

Grace Twists Braids

BY DOMINICK SANTORE

I saw a beautiful picture of grace yesterday. A real bestowing of favor on someone less deserving.  I saw a father braiding his daughter’s hair. It wasn’t some random thing I happened to catch in the corner of my eye. I know these people. I know their stories.

Grace Twists Braids

The Confession of a Prodigal

BY KATHY STRAUCH

It happened instantaneously. His beloved teacher had just washed his feet. Hours earlier he reclined at the table with his Lord and recalled the Passover. Now, his regret was beyond comprehension. Everyone and everything around him disappeared as the Lord turned and caught his eye.

The Confession of a Prodigal

The Offensive Law, and Salvation Without Regret

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

If our job is to magnify the Lord to the world, God must have decided to use our children to magnify our own sins so we can see them.  My children hate correction.  They take it as a personal insult.  No matter how gently, or grace filled I correct, padding it on either side with nice things, they receive it like a punch from a bully.

The Offensive Law, and Salvation Without Regret

Escape from Monkey Hill

BY JAY SAWRIE

In New Orleans, you can buy a day pass and go to the Insectarium, aquarium, and zoo for a discounted price. This is a top-notch zoo with live exhibits where you can see and even touch the animals. We’re newlyweds and so of course poor. But this, I’m all over this; Day 3 of Husband Jay is going to kill it.

Escape from Monkey Hill

Carseats, Gluten, and Opinionated Bloggers

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

Never has the law fallen so hard on me as in motherhood.  Never before was I more aware that my best wasn’t good enough.  If parenting doesn’t drive you to your knees, you’re doing it wrong. I remember a conversation with a mom-friend years ago.

Carseats, Gluten, and Opinionated Bloggers

When God Disappoints

BY CHAD BIRD

In the tiny Bible-belt town where I grew up, tragedy brought people together. Friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers would go the extra mile for a family in need. House fire? They'd hold a community fundraiser. Funeral? Enough casseroles would pile up in the kitchen to feed an army.

When God Disappoints

Was the Son of God a Sinner?

BY MARTIN LUTHER

A Christian is beloved of God and a sinner. How can these two contradictions be harmonized: I am a sinner and deserve God's wrath and punishment, and yet the Father loves me? Christ alone can harmonize these contradictions. He is the Mediator.

Was the Son of God a Sinner?

Grace Has No Expiration Date

BY BRAD GRAY

I, like you probably, have an uncontrollable aversion to any food product that is past its expiration date. Even if it’s only by a few hours. I don’t care what food or drink you give me, if it’s anywhere close to being over that “best by” date, to me it’s an offering straight from the devil’s kitchen that’ll surely torment my bowels.

Grace Has No Expiration Date

The Kind of Grace Named Jesus

BY DONAVON RILEY

Our complaints about God's grace always sound the same: "It was good to see him in church with his son this morning. But, I can’t believe pastor let them come up to communion. And did you see? I mean, pastor's just got to know he blew half the family's savings on booze and drugs. You know what else?

The Kind of Grace Named Jesus