Spiritual Famine

THE WORD HANGS LIKE AN OMEN IN OUR HEADS. We picture brutal, grotesque images. Cows’ hips protrude. Babies’ eyes are hollow. Bloated stomachs growl. Skin stretches tight across faces. The skull outline emerges. Joints swell. Grim, despairing stares replace smiles. Hope is gone . . . life is reduced to a harsh existence. Those who have seen it cannot forget it. Those who haven’t cannot imagine it. It’s famine.

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Watch Out for Fakes

MY FRIEND ATE DOG FOOD ONE EVENING. He was at an elegant student reception in a physician’s home. The dog food was served on delicate crackers with a wedge of imported cheese, bacon chips, an olive, and a sliver of pimento on top. It was hors d’oeuvres a la Alpo. The hostess, just graduated from a gourmet cooking course, decided to put her skill to the ultimate test. Did she ever!

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Cool Skepticism

NINE-YEAR-OLD DANNY BURST OUT OF Sunday school, eyes darting in every direction trying to locate his mom or dad. After a quick search, he grabbed his daddy by the leg and yelled, “Man, that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was great!” His father looked down, smiled, and asked the boy to tell him about it.

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Beware of False Prophets

THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE. That isn’t funny; it’s tragic. Fakery draws its fuel from the pit. That’s what God tells us. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. . . . Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. 2 CORINTHIANS 11:13–15

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Sound a Clear Call

“DON’T GARBLE THE MESSAGE!” If I heard that once during Marine boot camp, I must’ve heard it four dozen times. Again and again, our outfit was warned against hearing one thing, then passing on a slightly different version. You know, changing the message by altering the meaning just a tad. It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? Especially when it’s filtered through several minds then pushed through each mouth, it is amazing how the original story, report, or command appears after it has gone through its verbal metamorphosis.

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Songs in the Night

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE THE SONGS OF the faith to help us live beyond the grind. Why else would God have inspired those age-old compositions? Surely, He realized the lasting value of each musical masterpiece and therefore preserved them to help us persevere. They drip with the oil of glory that enables us to live beyond the grind.

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Going . . . and Not Knowing

THERE IS A STRANGE STATEMENT IN Scripture that flashes like a bright neon sign. Paul made it while he was saying good-bye to a group of friends standing near him. It was a sad moment heavy with emotion. Most of the men were choking back tears, realizing they would never see him again. Looking around, the aging apostle, with his weather-beaten hand pointing south toward the stormy skies above the Mediterranean Sea, voiced these words:

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Fighting the Fast Fade

Can you remember those pointed challenges from the preacher who stood before you with Bible in hand? How many hours have passed since you sat there, opening your ears and heart to counsel from God’s always-relevant Book? A few dozen, maybe? Ah, it’s starting to fade, isn’t it? Those incisive, potentially life-changing principles are swimming away in a sea of forgetfulness. What a frustration! Why can’t we hang on to those mental, spiritual handholds we need so desperately?

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Receiving Knowledge

SLICE IT ANY WAY YOU WISH, ignorance is not bliss. Dress it in whatever garb you please, ignorance is not attractive. Neither is it the mark of humility nor the path to spirituality. It certainly is not the companion of wisdom. On the contrary, it is the breeding ground for fear, prejudice, and superstition . . . the feeding trough for unthinking animals . . . the training field for slaves.

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Confirmation

WHEN ABRAHAM was growing old, he knew it was time to find a suitable wife for Isaac. To accomplish the all-important task, Abraham called on his most trusted employee, Eliezer.

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