God

The Giver God

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.

The Giver God

God Shows Up When The Chips Are Down

BY MATT JOHNSON

If everyone would just live by the rules, the world would be a better place, wouldn’t it? Wisdom. Justice. Goodness. Any reasonable person can see God’s good creation and recognize He has ordered the universe in a certain way. Sounds reasonable, right?

God Shows Up When The Chips Are Down

The Dung-Slinging God

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

The prophet Jonah longed for one thing: to see the Assyrian city of Nineveh utterly destroyed by the wrath of God. His wish eventually came true. The later prophet, Nahum, describes in terrible and graphic detail the fall of the city. Nahum is a book almost entirely devoted to the horrors of the wrath of God.

The Dung-Slinging God

The God Who Sees Me

BY DAN CHRISMER

There have been so many times in my life where I have thought to myself; God isn't paying any attention to me. He doesn't care what I do down here on this inconsequential planet in the middle of the huge universe He controls. He might be able to see me, but He doesn't really care to look down on me.

The God Who Sees Me

Anxiety And The Christian

BY MARTIN LUTHER

There is a brief passage in Psalm 55:22 which reads: “Cast your burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain you: he will never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Follow this advice. Let not your burden rest upon yourselves; for you cannot bear it, and must finally perish beneath its weight. But, confident and full of joy, cast it from you and throw it on God.

Anxiety And The Christian

God Writes Straight With Crooked Lines

BY CHAD BIRD

If I were granted three wishes, one of them would not be to know what the future holds. I have enough trouble wrestling with today’s demons. I don’t want to know what crosses I’ll have to lug around tomorrow. As the wise Rabbi said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” And some days are so sufficiently evil that tomorrow looms like the open jaws of hell.

God Writes Straight With Crooked Lines

Receive The Gifts, But Don't Think It's Because God Is Santa Claus

BY DONAVON RILEY

It's hard wired into our brain. We can't help ourselves. When we imagine God's character, discuss our beliefs, and chew on the big picture questions about life, the universe, and everything else, we tend to picture God as a radiant, white-bearded Santa Claus who lives at the edge of the Milky Way.

Receive The Gifts, But Don't Think It's Because God Is Santa Claus

Creedal Thanksgiving

BY MARTIN LUTHER

I hold and believe that I am God’s creature, that is, that he has given me and constantly sustains my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, my reason and understanding, and the like; my food and drink, clothing, nourishment, spouse and children, servants, house and farm, etc.

Creedal Thanksgiving

Identity, and the Self-Stories We Tell

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

What does it mean to be a child of God and to carry his image? This is a theological question, but it is a question necessary for our self-understanding because who we are is derived from who He is and what he has created us to do.

Identity, and the Self-Stories We Tell

Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

BY CHAD BIRD

We tell our children if they work hard and play by the rules, they’ll succeed in life. Jerks, cheaters, and thieves won’t. They’ll end up in the gutter. Or jail. Or worse. But if you keep your hands out of the cookie jar, your zipper up, and do your best to walk the straight and narrow, you’ll be okay.

Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

Mercy Makes Mercy

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Now how is God our heavenly Father merciful? In that he gives us all things, natural and spiritual, temporal and eternal, gratuitously and out of pure goodness. For should he give to us out of and according to our merits, he would have to give us only hell-fire and eternal condemnation.

Mercy Makes Mercy

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

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

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

Who's Your Father?

BY ERICK SORENSEN 

I have found that if I want to get people talking (especially guys), all I have to do is ask them about their father. Instantly, you will either hear stories of heroism or abandon; stories of pain or great joy; stories of great pride or great shame. But one thing’s for sure: You’ll hear stories…

Who's Your Father?

When God’s Stomach Aches

BY JAKE ALLSTAEDT

It's in moments like that with my son that I honestly wonder if God still loves me. My sin must be frustrating to Him. And God knows that I've done worse than jumping into puddles. I’ve push Him away. I’ve taken His good gifts and thrown them in the garbage.

When God’s Stomach Aches

Behind the Satanic Curtain:

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

There are a few occasions in the Bible where the curtain lifts, and we get to peer into the inner workings of the Divine Court. There we see strange creatures and beasts, angels and thrones, throngs and thrills. The Bible writers struggle to describe these scenes which put the imagination into overdrive and surpass its ability to reconstruct clear or coherent images.

Behind the Satanic Curtain:

God's Love Song Of Salvation

BY DONAVON RILEY

If we get past Sunday School moralizing what do we discover in the Old Testament? We read about remarkably immoral people loved by God. The Old Testament is one long history of God's reckless love for unlovable sinners. Godless Abraham. Murderous Moses. Arrogant, womanizing Samson. Tyrannical Solomon.

God's Love Song Of Salvation

When God Lets You Down After You Tried So Hard…

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

They are honest words, raw and revealing, a torrent of emotions surging with unrestrained manic. They are, perhaps surprisingly, the scathing lament of a holy man who devoted everything to his calling and had reached the end of his patience. The “deceiver,” named and accused, is God.

When God Lets You Down After You Tried So Hard…

No Other God Than The Crucified God

BY DONAVON RILEY

A pastor who's got his antennae tuned up for a person's confession will listen for where the First Command has broken loose in a Christian's life. He will listen for where the command has laid him open and left him naked and exposed and ashamed before God and his neighbors.

No Other God Than The Crucified God

When a Christian Is Pushed Into Atheism, Who Will Bring Him Back?

BY DONAVON RILEY

How do we respond when a Christian acknowledges that he's fallen into doubt about the existence of God and his purpose as a Christian?  What about a pastor who struggles to keep up the mask of faithfulness, but of late isn't convinced anymore there's a God?

When a Christian Is Pushed Into Atheism, Who Will Bring Him Back?

The Anchor of John 3:16

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Notice that Christ represents the Father to us as none else than the all-loving and magnetic one, and he brings us through himself to the Father. Everything Christ does tends to help us to acquire a loving confidence in the Father. To simply fear the Father confers no benefit; but to bear to him a companionable love of rare quality makes us blessed.

The Anchor of John 3:16