Calvin Coolidge had to go to church one day alone, because his wife was ill. When he returned, she asked him how church was. “Fine,” he said.
“Well, how was the sermon?” “Good.”
“What was it about?” “Sin.”
“Calvin, tell me what he said about it.” (Awkward pause.) “He’s against it.”
So should we all be. But how often do preachers talk about sin nowadays? Not often enough. My pastor proclaims that he’s against it, but I have heard many other preachers over the years with little acknowledgment that sin even matters. Time was when I heard and read lots of lessons about healing or prosperity.… Read the rest
Have you ever noticed that nothing threatens holy people for long? Have you ever noticed that when you run into trouble, all you have to do is pray and the problems are solved? You haven’t? Hmm.
At first glance, that’s what Isaiah 25:1-12 seems to say: God has just done something wonderful in destroying the enemy’s stronghold and is promising more wonderful things in the future. Isaiah praises God as a refuge, a shelter from the storm. It certainly didn’t look like that to his audience.
The historical background for this passage is the military threat from Assyria. When the Assyrian army wasn’t at the gates, its ambassadors were breathing threats.… Read the rest
Sometimes it’s hard to trust God. I don’t just mean times when everything in life seems to be going wrong. Sometimes we just get into the habit of occupying our thoughts with all kinds of things that are none of our business. Psalm 131 is a good picture of childlike trust. David compares himself to a weaned child: a child no longer a baby, no longer considering the mother’s breast her most important attribute. A weaned child is a content child, enjoying mother’s company. Here is one of a number of passages where God is compared not to a father, but to a mother.… Read the rest
When my dad was in graduate school in the early 1950s, he needed very sophisticated calculations. He arranged to have them done on a computer, and if I recall the story correctly, he got his results back in about a week.
Computers almost immediately started getting faster and more powerful. He got in the habit of describing his project to computer experts and asking how long it would take newer computers to finish it. Each time he asked, the estimate of time diminished, to days, then hours, then minutes. He stopped asking when he found that computers could spit out the answer in less than a second.… Read the rest
You’ve all heard the jokes that start out, “I have some good news and some bad news for you.” That could also serve as an introduction to the message of the Bible. The trouble is, no one wants to hear the bad news, but the good news doesn’t seem like much without it.
There’s no shortage of bad news in our mass media. We all know that the national economy is getting pretty soundly thumped. Some of us are getting pretty soundly thumped in our personal life, too. I’m going through a really serious thumping right now. Maybe some of you are, too.… Read the rest