Can’t . . . or Won’t? Part Two

If you haven’t read yesterday’s reading, I’d like to ask you to do that. It’s crucial that you understand that God has given Christians an extra inner reservoir of power that is more than a match for the stuff life throws at us. In the verses we studied yesterday (Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 3:14, 16; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 10:13), it’s called several things: strength, power, divine nature, ability.

Read More

Suspicion

If the truth were known, there’s a secret “detective spirit” in most of us. With the best of the paperback and television detectives, we vicariously probe for motives, analyze the evidence, and ponder the killer’s next move. Our curiosity forces us to investigate things that are just slightly irregular. Even a child is known to pry deeper because of a built-in bent to inquire.

Read More

Envy, Part Two

Shakespeare called it “the green sickness.” Bacon admitted “it has no holidays.” Horace declared that “tyrants never invented a greater torment.” Barrie said envy “is the most corroding of the vices.” Sheridan referred to it in his play The Critic when he wrote, “There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as this.” Philip Bailey, the eloquent English poet of yesteryear, vividly described it as “a coal [that] comes hissing hot from hell.”

Read More

Envy, Part One

What exactly is envy? How does it differ from its twin, jealousy? Envy (the more sophisticated of the two) is a painful and resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another . . . accompanied by a strong desire to possess the same advantage. Envy wants to have what someone else possesses. Jealousy wants to possess what it already has. Jealousy is coarse and cruel. Envy is sneaky and subtle.

Read More

Cheating

GENTLEMEN: Enclosed you will find a check for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping, I’ll send you the rest. Sincerely, ______________ This note was actually received by the Internal Revenue Service some time ago. We chuckle because the sender was willing to be honest up to a point . . .

Read More

Idols, Part One

It was the apostle John’s final warning to his readers: Little children, guard yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21) “Watch out,” said John, in effect. “Be on guard against anything that might occupy the place in your heart that should be reserved for God.” John never qualified that warning. The aged apostle deliberately refrained from classifying the idols or giving us a comprehensive list to follow.

Read More

Fallibility, Part Two

God’s Word is infallible; people are not. Yesterday, we noted that this point is particularly underscored in the realm of leadership. We naturally seek after ministers we can respect and follow. And then—glory!—we come across some whose lives are admirable, whose leadership seems to be blessed of God, and whose instruction is biblical, wise, and dynamic.

Read More

Fallibility, Part One

Ever since I was knee-high to a gnat, I have been taught about and have believed in the infallibility of Scripture. Among the upper echelons of doctrinal truths, this one ranks alongside the Godhead, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace. We may fuss around with a few of the events in God’s eschatological calendar or leave breathing room for differing opinions regarding angels and local church government.

Read More

In Times of Warfare

Psalm 149 is not only a call to praise the Lord in times of blessing, and encouragement to praise Him in times of suffering, it’s also a call to arms. Praise the Lord in Times of Warfare: Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand, To execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, To bind their kings with chains

Read More

Becoming Numb

Solomon’s anatomy of sinful behavior concludes with a look at the evildoer’s feet. Not a pretty sight under any circumstances! 5. Feet that run rapidly to evil: This figure of speech actually has more to do with the heart than the feet. First of all, it refers to habitual sin, and old habits are hard to break. Furthermore, because we have gotten away with the sin before, the skids are greased.

Read More