An Urgent Charge

Paul wrote with urgency, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”

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The Greatest Influence

Several years ago someone interviewed the contemporary artist Marc Chagall for a PBS program. The young, arty interviewer started the session with a question about influences. His question was very long and involved and exhibited his own learning along the way, giving everybody, including Chagall, a lecture on the nature of influences on the artist.

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Bonus

Most people I know look forward to payday. You do too, right? For a week, or perhaps a two-week period, you give time and effort to your job. When payday arrives, you receive a hard-earned, well-deserved paycheck. I have never met anyone who bows and scrapes before his boss, saying, “Thank you. Oh, thank you for this wonderful, undeserved gift. How can I possibly thank you enough for my paycheck?” If we did, he would probably faint.

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Fear

We were rapidly descending through a night of thick fog at 200 miles per hour, but the seasoned pilot of the twin-engine Aero Commander was loving every dip, roll, and lurch. At one point he looked over at me, smiled, and exclaimed, “Hey, Chuck, isn’t this great?” I didn’t answer. As the lonely plane knifed through the overcast pre-dawn sky, I was reviewing every Bible verse I’d ever known and re-confessing every wrong I’d ever done.

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Resentment

Leo Held was a paragon of respectability. He was a middle-aged, hard-working lab technician who had worked at the same Pennsylvania paper mill for nineteen years. Having been a Boy Scout leader, an affectionate father, a member of the local fire brigade, and a regular church-goer, he was admired as a model in his community. Until . . .

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Handed Over to Satan?

Paul’s ministry was not easy. From the moment of his conversion, after he was struck blind on the Damascus road, to the moment he was beheaded in Rome, Paul knew hardship. He provided a graphic, pen portrait of his ministry in 2 Corinthians 11:23–33. Some of the hardships Paul faced included “dangers among false brethren” […]

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Doing Time in a First-Century Prison

The Mamertine Prison in Rome could have been called the “House of Darkness.” Few prisons were as dim, dank, and dirty as the lower chamber Paul occupied. Known in earlier times as the Tullianum dungeon, its “neglect, darkness, and stench” gave it “a hideous and terrifying appearance,” according to Roman historian Sallust.1Sallust, The War with […]

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Graduation Thoughts

You—or someone you know—may soon be graduating. I extend my congratulations! Whether you set new academic records or not, you finished. You saw it through. I commend you. Before that happens, however, let me give you four simple commandments that apply to anyone who is graduating. My thoughts grow out of the final four verses of 2 Timothy 3.

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Tools

Remember that time you got ticked off trying to find a verse in the Bible and couldn’t? That was almost as bad as the day you decided to read a couple of chapters and got hung up on “Nazirite” . . . or scratched your head over “cubit.” These are like hardened, glazed coverings that suddenly obscure our understanding of God’s truth. The pick and shovel of good intentions simply will not cut through. Sharper tools than that are needed, believe me!

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