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When Life is Hard

Life is hard. Life brings pain. Moments of happiness and joy fade quickly when darkness comes. When life is hard God calls out to his people, his voice remains strong and sure. It is in this setting that David writes Psalm 27. David has known joy and victory. But he has also known the despair of failure and agony. Some of this has come from the betrayal and manipulation of those closest to him. Some have been self-inflicted. David hears the call to doubt God. He hears the taunts of his oppressors. He hears that he is mocked and his God is mocked. He is tempted to believe that God is unfair. There is a taunt — “God, are you […]

The Spirit’s Masterpiece

Good writing is a work of connected beauty. Words and thoughts are woven together that build word pictures that can be etched into hearts. No other piece of literature is comparable to the Bible in this regard. When we read we must look for these connections to understand the power of the Spirit’s work. The Bible is the literary masterpiece of all time. Every word is exactly placed to draw the hearts of God’s people to the life that is truly life.  It can be dangerous to make connections that are not obvious in the text. But it is equally dangerous to ignore the connections that are there. Like an exquisitely cut diamond, the Bible is a multi-faceted literary gem […]

The Lion of Judah: Our Peace and Hope

If we are to live a life that is wise, it is imperative that we understand we have an Enemy who attempts to discredit the wonders of God with counterfeit musings. This discrediting can take the form of misinterpreting the good things that God does. For example, as magnificent as a sunset may be, it is not the ultimate that God does. That ultimate is reserved for heaven and the new earth. But the enemy wants you to think that what you see now is all there is. Also, we have grown accustomed to seeing breathtaking imagery on the big screen. But even these images pale in comparison to the reality of the world that remains unseen to us. Plus, […]

Does Your Authority Display Wisdom from Above?

The concept of authority has fallen on hard times.  Even Christians become almost apologetic if they exercise authority.  The culture around us has made authority to arbitrary and a necessary evil. However,  authority is God’s way of caring for the universe and for your family. He ordained authority to be a blessing to all people. In the Bible, God provides the way that authority is to be administered.  Yes, authority is to be clear, firm, and direct. But it must be much more than that. More importantly, authority is to be administered with biblical wisdom and care. If authority is to be faithful to God it should demonstrate these seven qualities as given in James 3:17: Pure Peaceable Gentle Open […]

Manipulation: The Subtle, Enslaving Sin

Those who manipulate often masquerade as lovers. Apparent care and concern are a tempting lure for those who are hurting and vulnerable. But the heart of a manipulator is really the heart of an abuser. Once someone commits to the masquerade, the care that appeared to be love morphs into the servitude of enslavement. The changes begin subtly. But the reality is that they were always present. Biblical love cannot be duplicated, only mimicked. Learn the true characteristics of love so that you can recognize the true intent of masquerading manipulators. Biblical love that is genuine will not be diminished by your failures. A manipulator will at first appear to tolerate or dismiss your shortcomings. He or she may even […]

A Prayer for Exhausted Parents

Parenting is exhausting. When the day is done, parents are weary not only because of the trials of the day just finished, but also weary because tomorrow is just a few hours away. In this in-between time, the exhaustion reaches its peak. Well-meaning advice and stress-reducing plans offer little consolation. Even Bible verses may seem disconnected from the pressures of getting ready for tomorrow. Perhaps the most discouraging realization is knowing that in the morning you will wake up as wiped out as you are now. Isaiah 55:8 reminds us that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and that his ways are not our ways. Weariness tends to overtake us when we see life’s responsibilities and burdens in isolation from […]

Women of Faith, Courage, Passion

Rahab. Ruth. Deborah. Jael. Esther. Mary. Each of these women faced a moment in time when they had to choose faith over fear.  Each was alone before her God. Each faced huge physical and emotional consequences for the choices they made. Yet not one of them so much as hesitated.  They were all in with what God called them to do. They were and are role models faith, courage, and passion. Faith Each of these women was shaped by their faith.  And for each one of them, that faith was shaped by raw, intimate encounters with the living God.  Each woman knew in her heart that God could be trusted. They knew that following God in the face of danger […]

Hope in the quiet

Life can be crushing. People will turn evil. Emptiness will come. Hurt will run deep. And then our own sins find us out. Where do you go? Who is there to bind the wounds of your heart? Where is your hope? There is a river that runs from life through death to life again. It is the river of hope and strength when all else seems lost. One hell-bent man can bring a nation to its knees. One angry burst of words can send a relationship over the edge. One lost moment of anger and lust can devastate the soul. Where do you go, where do you flee, where is peace, where is hope? There is a river that runs […]

When Children are the Center

It sounds appealing and even noble to center life around your children. However, this thinking will only bring heartbreak instead of blessing. Only God can be the center of your life. Your children, or anyone else, cannot bear that weight! If your hopes and dreams are bound to your children, you will become disappointed, perhaps even bitter. If you expect your children to provide the comfort and support that can only come from God, you will be deeply hurt. You will set yourself up to be disappointed and crushed when your family fails you. No child, no spouse, no other person, can provide comfort that can only be found in God. God will have no other gods before him. Your […]

Three Questions

Here are three questions you should ask yourself about your communication. After you ask yourself, then ask your family these same questions and find our if the answers are the same. Your answers provide insight into the areas where your conversations must grow in-depth and in maturity. First question: Do your spouse and your children have confidence that they will be able to say all that is on their hearts without fear of your response? Is your family accustomed to being cut off or being corrected before they can finish speaking? Do you interrupt because you think you know what is coming? If this is your pattern you are building relational barriers that are difficult to overcome. Those closest to […]