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Gospel

Christmas ornament

The Unthinkable

Jeremiah is probably not the portion of the Bible most think of when anticipating the Christmas season. It is filled with pronouncements of condemnation and judgment against a nation that had abandoned God and violated His covenant with them. At one point, God tells the people their religious worship departed so far from what he had commanded that it had not even entered His mind (Jer. 7:31). They had done what was to God unthinkable. In their desire to secure… Read More »The Unthinkable

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Three Simple Words

In the early centuries, three simple words meant the difference between life and death; yet, Christians clung to another three words and gained eternal life.

Blessed are the peacemakers

Blessed Peacemakers

They don’t get clicks, likes, or retweets on social media. They don’t dominate the news or gather a great following. In earthly spheres of power and influence they are insignificant; however, in Christ’s kingdom they are sons and daughters of God. Jesus called them blessed. They are the peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). Beatitudes A Rare Word for an Exceptional Virtue On the surface, we may not think of peacemaking… Read More »Blessed Peacemakers

Matthew 5:8

A Pure Hope

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Do I believe in miracles? The question is not merely speculative. Heaven and hell are at stake. Jesus forces this question upon me with his pronouncement, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). This beatitude arouses either pure despair or pure hope. It all depends on whether I believe in miracles. The Beatitudes The Necessity of a Pure Heart The beatitude echoes Psalm twenty-four: Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who… Read More »A Pure Hope

Longing for Righteousness

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As a child, I struggled to finish my dinner. Not that I was given too much food, I just disliked one or more of the items on my plate. Often my mom would remind me of the starving child in Africa who would love to have my food. Fortunately, international adoptions were not common back then, else I might have foolishly suggested we procure one. That would not have gone over well. The problem was not an inefficient allocation of… Read More »Longing for Righteousness

Poor in spirit

The Poverty Gospel

Let’s face it, the prosperity preachers have an appealing shtick: “God wants you to drive the best car, live in lavish luxury, and be independently wealthy.” Unsurprisingly, that message coincides very conveniently with my own innate self- indulgence, covetousness, and vanity. Nevertheless, the most formidable opponent of this prosperity gospel is the Bible. In the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12), Jesus preached a contrary message. His gospel involves poverty, mourning, meekness, hunger, purity, peacemaking, and persecution. The primary characteristic of the blessed… Read More »The Poverty Gospel

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The Paradox of Peace

Peace officers carry guns. As a child of the sixties, that still strikes me as ironic. The word peace conjures up images of flowers, certainly not guns. Nevertheless, having survived the sixties and the decades since, I am convinced that arming the police with flowers instead of guns would be disastrous. The paradox of peace is we must fight for peace. Fighting Words This is a contentious day when disagreeing with someone could get us ‘canceled.’ We are accused of… Read More »The Paradox of Peace

sugar and a salt shaker

The Problem with Tolerance

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Aiming for mere human exceptionalism is a sure path to spiritual floundering (Matt. 5:20). A case in point is the call for tolerance. Tolerance, though a singular virtue in secular society, is destructive to the power and purity of the church. The root meaning of tolerance is enduring pain. It implies no change or progress. It is live and let live. You do your thing, and I will do mine. The problem with tolerance is it settles for mediocrity and… Read More »The Problem with Tolerance

A child's responsive prayer

If I Should Die Before I Wake

Next to a chainsaw, the most dangerous tool you could find in my hand is a rhyming dictionary. The good news is I have not touched a chainsaw for months. The bad news is I recently dusted off New Rhyming Dictionary and Poetry Handbook. My subject is prayer so maybe, with much prayer, I can do more good than harm. A Child’s Prayer Writing Back To God made me reflect on the people and events God used in preserving my… Read More »If I Should Die Before I Wake