Basic social justice: what weakness hampers it?

Every society wants justice. That’s every society throughout the world beginning in prehistory. Take away superficial differences, and it appears that every society has similar views of what justice means. We’ll look at a passage from Exodus that would probably not be controversial anywhere.

Justice is hard to get when thugs take over. See the latest headlines from Syria. But I’ll bet even Assad’s courts have dispensed justice whenever it has not been against the regime’s interests to do so.

On the other hand, it doesn’t take an evil government to pervert justice. Ordinary human nature can do quite nicely at that even with the best of governments.… Read the rest

Supernatural boldness from our supernatural Savior

The book of Luke ends with these verses:

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. — Luke 24:50-53 (NIV)

Over the past several months, Jesus had tried more than once to explain his coming death and resurrection. His disciples could not hear that message. When the time came, they basically fell apart. They ran away.… Read the rest

All you need is love

The Beatles claimed, “All you need is love,” but “Now That the Magic Is Gone” by Joe Cocker contains these words:

You know love can be tender
Love can be cruel
It can smile like an angel
While it treats you just like a fool
It captures and haunts you
Until you give in
And it starts the dice against you
In a game you never can win
Just when I was thinking
Maybe luck was here with me
You’re telling me it’s over
Say it’s time for breaking free

That’s love in popular song. Everyone has heard lots of songs about the magic and rapture of love, and many others about the pain when it ends.… Read the rest

Finding blessing in dangerous situations

“Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” — Judges 14:14 (NASB)

One day, when Samson was on his way to marry a Philistine woman, a lion attacked him. By the Spirit of God, Samson killed the lion. On the way back  home, he noticed that some bees had made honey in the carcass. He stopped to enjoy it. At the beginning of the wedding feast, he proposed a riddle based on the incident.

Let’s leave aside the fact that, as one living under the covenant of Moses, Samson had no business marrying a pagan.… Read the rest

Jesus, the towel, and us

“The night before Jesus was betrayed, he took the bread. . .” We have probably heard that every time we take communion, but what about, “The night before Jesus was betrayed, Jesus took a towel. . .”? Why is that towel not as much a symbol of Christianity as the cross or the communion elements?

Jesus always surprises because he refuses to act like the rest of us. Before the feast of the Passover, when he knew he would be seized, tried, and executed illegally, he remained calm. He knew that Judas would betray him, but he remained loving. He chose an especially dramatic way to demonstrate  his love.… Read the rest

Joseph in Egypt: what did he forget?

“Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: ‘For God has made me forget all my toil and all of my father’s house.'” — Genesis 41:51(NKJV)

By the time Joseph had any sons to name, he had led rough life and suffered much injustice. It didn’t start out that way, of course. As the eldest son of his father’s favorite wife, Joseph became his father Jacob’s favorite son. He enjoyed such favor that his older brothers despised him. Then came the dreams, which earned a rebuke even from Jacob.

Why did Joseph stay home when Jacob sent the older sons out to take care of the cattle?… Read the rest

1 Corinthians 13: The Christmas Version

A retired preacher friend of mine shared this with me, from an old Christmas card he found. It’s good enough to share some more.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shining balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.… Read the rest

Love never fails–really?

“Love never fails.”–1 Corinthians 13:8, NIV

If love never fails, then why do half of all marriages end in divorce? For that matter, why has nearly everyone who ever marries for the first time had at least one painful breakup before marrying? Why do parents and their children often have such stormy relationships?

Perhaps love did not fail, but someone failed to love? Maybe what looked and felt like love really wasn’t?

God is love. God never fails.

Love is made in heaven. Beware of inferior imitations!

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