Heat but No Light

Moses believed he was to be the deliverer, many years before he received his recommission at the burning bush. He assumed everyone else would realize it too.

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Modeling God’s Message

Hosea started a scandal in the parsonage. Why? Hold onto your hat—he married a prostitute. Talk about gossip! His name became a byword for “fool.” Respect for him dropped to zero. His reputation was suddenly null and void. “Small wonder he is listed first among the minor prophets,” some sneer . . . “He must have been some kind of a nut.”

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Flesh: Good or Bad

The Greek word sarx, “flesh,” has a wide range of meanings—some positive and some negative. Positively, it can mean simply the physical body (Acts 2:31), humanity in general (John 1:14), or all living creatures (1 Peter 1:24). As part of God’s creation, “flesh” in this sense is good. However, Paul most often used the term […]

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The Broken Wing

It is quite probable that someone reading my words this moment is fighting an inner battle with a ghost from the past. The skeleton in one of yesterday’s closets is beginning to rattle louder and louder. Putting adhesive tape around the closet and moving the bureau in front of the door does little to muffle the clattering bones. You wonder, possibly, “Who knows?” You think, probably, “I’ve had it . . . can’t win . . . party’s over.”

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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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Famine

For us who are so well fed, the idea of famine is foreign—almost a fantasy. It’s something that plagues India or China, never America! Fear of famine doesn’t square with our “amber waves of grain,” our “fruited plains,” certainly not our streets lined with McDonalds, thirty-one flavors, and innumerable shops bulging with every conceivable type of food.

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Destination Unknown

Do you know where you are going? The place? Dublin, Ireland. The time? Toward the end of the nineteenth century. The event? A series of blistering attacks on Christianity, especially the “alleged resurrection” of Jesus of Nazareth. The person? Thomas Henry Huxley.

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Sharing Your Testimony

A time-honored, effective method of evangelism is your personal testimony. Just telling about your spiritual pilgrimage. The skeptic may deny your doctrine or attack your church, but he cannot honestly ignore the fact that your life has been cleaned up and revolutionized.

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It’s a Church

A birth is always exciting. Yes, always. Whether it is your baby or someone else’s, those first cries never fail to make our hearts flutter. Family ties are strengthened as new life extends the roots. Everybody moves in closer and smiles approvingly. What power little babies possess!

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Memories

When I was deep in the redwoods some time ago, I lay back and looked up. I mean really up. It was one of those clear summer nights when you could see forever. So starry it was scary. The vastI had just completed a manuscript on Philippians, and my heart was full of joy. Not only because I was through (isn’t that a wonderful word?) but because joy, the theme of the inspired letter I had spent weeks studying, had rubbed off. It was as if Paul and I had shared the same room and written at the same desk.ness of the heavens eloquently told the glory of God. No words could adequately frame the awesomeness of that moment. One of my mentors used to say, “Wonder is involuntary praise.” That night, it happened to me.

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