Christians readily agree with the statement that God is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-sufficient. But when trouble turns up, how many of us really know how to respond as if we believe it? We turn to idols instead.
Our idols aren’t quite the same as those of the ancients, but they work the same way. We trust our own resources more than we trust God. Certainly God expects us to use our own resources much of the time, but we must not trust them. We must trust God. Otherwise, whatever we trust instead becomes, functionally, an idol, the god we truly worship.… Read the rest
When Moses came down from the mountain and read them to the people, something very unexpected happened. Instead of bright lights and angelic rejoicing and good cheer, an odd kind of storm erupted. There was thunder and lightning, but instead of rain, there was smoke.
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.
Lots of people seem to get upset with preachers because they’re always talking about money. Those same people wouldn’t have liked Jesus’ ministry very much, either. Almost half of his parables (16 of 38) have to do with money.
And that’s not all he had to say about it, either. Here’s a portion of the Sermon on the Mount:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
Some people seem to thing sin is a good thing. It means fun, pleasure. Remember when Weight Watcher soft drinks were advertised as “sinfully delicious”? The sculpture pictured here was taken on the grounds of Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas. It seems more like an enticement than warning. We all know that God hates sin, though. Let’s take a closer look.
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
Is money the root of all evil? Lot’s of people think that’s what the Bible says, but it’s not. The correct quotation is that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. There’s a big difference. We all need money, but money is a tool, not the proper object of love. Here is the verse in context:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
North Carolina has just become the 30th state to enshrine the definition of marriage as one man and one woman in the state constitution. I am pleased by the outcome, but dismayed by the process and the rhetoric.
In the local newspaper, proponents and opponents of the marriage amendment lobbed scriptures back and forth as if a couple of verses settled the matter. That’s wrong for at least three reasons.
Do people have free will, or are their choices somehow determined? Yes.
Each of us has only one basic choice: will we trust and obey God, or will we not? Trusting God is called faith. Failing to trust God is called sin. Rejection of God entirely is called unrighteousness. Everyone, consciously or not, makes that choice–not once, not even daily, but continuously. Probably no one makes the same choice every time it is presented. Probably our conscious, deliberate choices and our unconscious choices do not consistently coincide. But we all make the choice for or against God one way or another all the time.… Read the rest
Justification by faith is too important to let it become just religious talk. If we are justified by faith, what does justify mean in ordinary language? Here are some sentences I found with an online search “justify in a sentence”
Refusal of a request to work beyond 65 must be objectively justified by the employer.
These pluses, we feel, amply justify a rate increase.
These features justify the expense of the software.
All of these sentences imply two questions, really. Is it right, or OK, to refuse the request, increase the rates, buy the software, or go to war? Why? It seems that every time we attempt to justify something, a real or hypothetical skeptic has reasons why what what we want is not justified.… Read the rest