Being Wanted, Part Two

Chances are very good that there are those in your church fellowship, workplace, or family who feel unwanted, forgotten, unloved (and unlovely!)—and are more lonely than words can express. I wish to speak on their behalf and in their defense today. Strange though it may seem, these are often the people most difficult to love. Why?

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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.

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Teenage Turbulence

While I was away for a couple weeks of vacation many years ago, I read a book by David Elkind describing the staggering number of teenagers who lack the adult guidance and support they need to make a healthy transition into adulthood. His choice of title was appropriate: All Grown Up and No Place to Go. The book goes to the heart of the issue and addresses the breakdown of parental security and stability.

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Stay in Circulation

During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government began to run low on silver for coins. Lord Cromwell sent his men on an investigation of the local cathedral to see if they could find any precious metal there. After investigating, they reported: The only silver we could find is the statues of the saints standing in the corners.

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The Gift That Lives On

“WHAT IN THE WORLD can I give to ______ this Christmas?” Sound familiar? Sure, it’s probably the most frequently asked question every Yuletide season. In our pocket of society where pampered affluence is rampant, we are often at a loss to know which gift to buy. For some people (especially those who “have everything”) the standard type of gift won’t cut it. Nothing in the shopping mall catches our fancy.

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Priorities

Life is a lot like a coin; you can spend it any way you wish, but you can spend it only once. Choosing one thing over all the rest throughout life is a difficult thing to do. This is especially true when the choices are so many and the possibilities are so close. To be completely truthful with you, however, we aren’t left with numerous possibilities.

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Putting First Things First

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth . . . . But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:24, 33) Our Father, we confess that placing Jesus first in our lives precludes competition from all other loyalties:

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Overcoming Hypocrisy

“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” (Matthew 6:1 MSG) Lord God, we thank You for the model of Jesus Christ our Savior who, when He walked this earth, dripped with authenticity.

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A Fire for Cold Hearts

It happened in a large, seventy-five-year-old stone house on the west side of Houston. A massive stairway led up to several bedrooms. The den down below was done in rough-hewn boards with soft leather chairs and a couple of matching sofas. The wet bar had been converted into a small library, including a shelf of tape recordings and a multiple-speaker sound system.

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Cracks in the Wall

The longer I live the less I know for sure. That sounds like 50% heresy . . . but it’s 100% honesty. In my younger years I had a lot more answers than I do now. Things were absolutely black and white, right or wrong, yes or no, in or out, but a lot of that is beginning to change. The more I travel and read and wrestle and think the less simplistic things seem.

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