That’s easy, even fun to sing in church on Sunday or perhaps at home during personal devotions. It’s nothing but church talk if we don’t put legs on it, set our hands to work on it, and let it control our mouths and, yes, our thoughts once we close the hymnal.… Read the rest
Everyone wants to succeed at what they try. The alternative is failure.
Successful people know failure. They have learned from it, worked out problems, and tried again until they succeed. That’s the way the world works.
Unfortunately, the world also has pitfalls that can ultimately destroy the successful if they’re not vigilant. The Bible has many examples. Let’s look at Gideon.
… Read the rest
Was Solomon wise? Huck Finn and Jim had a conversation on that very question, and Jim didn’t find any wisdom in him at all. The Bible says, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:28-30, NIV).
But it also says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness”’ (1 Corinthians 3:19).… Read the rest
Surely everyone knows that Judas, one of the Twelve, accepted 30 pieces of silver from the temple treasury to betray Jesus. He attended the Last Supper with the rest, left early, and led a large armed group to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was arrested. After Jesus was sentenced to death, Judas threw the money back at the priests and committed suicide.
For centuries, many in the church have regarded Judas simply as the most despicable traitor in history. Even today, some writers seem to assume that he was a hypocrite who intended to betray Jesus from the start,… Read the rest
Wait a minute! Daniel was in the Old Testament and Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer in the New Testament? What does Daniel have to do with that?
In many churches, maybe most churches, the congregation recites every Sunday. Everyone has it memorized from the familiar King James translation. It is one of the few parts of today’s services where the language hasn’t been updated. It takes less than a minute. How many people actually pray it? Daniel did, as recorded in Daniel 9.
Praying the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew
Jesus gave the church a model prayer, not merely to be words to memorize.… Read the rest
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”–Joshua 1:9, NRSV
Moses was dead. Joshua was scared. How do I know that? Because the Book of Joshua begins with God giving him a pep talk. Three times during that pep talk, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. When he got up from there and went out among the people, they told him to be strong and courageous.
So, was it wrong for Joshua to be scared? No.… Read the rest
We know Abraham as the father of many nations. Arabs and Jews both claim him as their ancestor. His life story forms the very foundation of the basic Christian concept of justification by faith. He did not start out that way. We first meet him as a name at the tail end of one of the tiresome genealogies that make parts of the Bible so dry: “After Terah had lived 70 years he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran” (Genesis 11:26). How did this Abram grow to become the Abraham so many people revere?
God called Abram and he answered.… Read the rest
What do you know about Samson? Is he a Bible character you particularly admire or respect?
His story, told in four chapters in Judges, is full of foolish choices. He had a special weakness for Philistine women. His last Philistine girl friend, Delilah, kept bugging him to tell her the secret of his strength. Twice he lied to her, and twice she sent Philistine men to capture him. What kept him from turning his back on her instead of finally telling her the truth? And he had such a great start in life!
Achan appears in the seventh chapter of Joshua. All the spoils of Jericho were supposed to be devoted to the Lord.
All of its gold and silver should have been taken to the treasury in the tabernacle and everything else destroyed by fire.
Achan helped himself to some gold, silver, and a beautiful robe and buried them in his tent.
God’s anger became apparent when the Israelite army suffered a humiliating defeat. He told Joshua to cast lots to find who sinned to cause it.
The lot fell to Achan. He confessed his deed.… Read the rest
People don’t like to wait for answers to prayer. But what about when God warns of something bad that will happen some time in the future? In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream that involved a large tree being chopped down. Daniel interpreted it and said the king would be driven from human society for seven years and then be restored. He also said that Nebuchadnezzar could avoid his fate by repentance from his sin. The king forgot all about it. God did not.
… Read the rest
28 “All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. 29 Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon.