Culture

267 posts

When Christmas Hurts, Hope in Christ

Christmas is a time of joy and thanksgiving but not for everyone. Amid the colored lights and wrapped presents there are hearts that are as empty as the open gift boxes under the tree on Christmas morning. Christmas brings good memories but also the hard ones of broken dreams and relationships. When we are struggling, it is tempting to ask where is the joy in life?   David asked these same questions long ago. He wanted to know why God had abandoned him. He wanted to know why his prayers were not answered. He cried out to ask why God does not answer his pleas. So he writes these words in Psalm 22: My God, my God, why have you […]

Giving to yourself – not cool!

Giving gifts to yourself is a dangerous activity. No, I am not talking about the present under the tree that is labeled from you to you. I am talking about the gifts you give to others that are really meant for you. Let me explain. For example, giving a gift to someone for the pleasure of seeing how much you are appreciated. You are feeling under-appreciated by your daughter. You find a gift you think will please her and tip the scales back in your favor. This is where things get murky. You spent money on something you really couldn’t afford so that she would think you are wonderful. But she doesn’t think the gift is all that great! So […]

What to Think About Halloween

Each year questions arise about participation in Halloween. Is it really the Devil’s holiday? Well, it is in the sense that every day where he rules in the hearts of unbelievers is his day. But it is also true that Christ has triumphed on the cross and brought defeat to the dark enemy of our souls. So it is important to look a little deeper if we are going to find a satisfying answer. At its best Halloween is time for creativity, joy, friendship, and fun. At its worst, it is about death, fear, darkness, and the celebration of evil.  Again, for the Christian, this is like every other day. Each day we are to choose between life and death, […]

A Tale of Two Young Men

This is a short story of two young men with two radically different views of the same treasure. One thought he could not live without the treasure and one who knew could not live with it. This is the choice is still relevant: should you live for what you can see or for what you can’t see? Moses, as a young man, was offered all the treasures of ancient Egypt. They were the best his world had to offer. Power, possessions, prestige — they were all his. All he had to do was be passive and enjoy the providential circumstances that were literally dropped in his lap. But he said no to all of that. Instead, he believed disgrace for […]

9/11 and a Still Heart

Tomorrow is the anniversary of 9/11. Eighteen years ago, the word terror took on new meaning. It was the formal beginning of a war and a new way of life which shows no signs of ending any time soon. This war is fought by targeting children, shoppers, office workers, airplane passengers, and folks simply wanting to go for a walk or to go out to dinner. The weapons are not only instruments of war, but the ordinary vehicles of daily transportation. The battlefields are not marked by soldiers lining up for battle, but by city streets, or office buildings, or tourist attractions. The purpose of this war is not to win a piece of land or conquer a country. The […]

The Devastation of a Wandering Heart

Solomon warned about the destruction of an unguarded, wandering heart in Proverbs 4:20-27. Verse 23 gets most of the attention in this passage: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. However it is important not to miss the warning that follows to keep your feet and eyes, that is, your heart and your body, from wandering away from what is right: Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Solomon is retelling the hard lessons he learned from his father, […]

Why Aren’t You safe?

A Texas superstore, a Dayton entertainment district,  a school… These should be safe places, but they were not. Why? The Holy Spirit wrote Scripture knowing exactly what fears you would face in this your life. The face of terror is ugly and unnerving. Cafes, concerts, sporting events, and church are common gatherings that traditionally have provided places of safety and refuge. But as the terror of the dark human heart is revealed before our eyes, the reality is that there is no place apart from God where anyone is truly safe. What happened in Texas and Ohio this past weekend could just as easily have happened to anyone of us and our families. Evil may wear the face of an […]

Hang On To God in Hard Times

Psalm 46 was written for difficult times, times like this past weekend in El Paso and Dayton. These opening verses are filled with the drama of life-dominating events. But even in chaos and turmoil, God is our refuge, the one we can hang on to: God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its water roars and foams and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Jacob was someone who knew that he needed to trust God. He made a mess out of his life. He struggled with God and with people. […]

Is Purity Worth the Cost? (Part 1)

Is it worth it to be pure? People have been asking this question for thousands of years. The pursuit of purity seems to be out of touch with a life of enjoyment. Purity means dull, boring and unexciting, at least that is what conventional wisdom believed for millennia. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a commercial shouting out the value of being pure and decent?  A songwriter felt this tension 3,000 years ago. In frustration, he complained that fat cats got whatever they wanted. God and biblical morality were mocked in his world, very much like they are today. People lived for pleasure and suffer no harm from their lustful pursuits. The songwriter observed that people were not […]

Mr. and Mrs. Lot: “We Can Handle This!”

Abram and Lot had a good problem. The Lord had blessed them abundantly, so much so, that they needed to separate because the land could not sustain them both. Abram offered a gracious plan to Lot. He told Lot to choose the direction he wanted to inhabit and he, Abram, would go in the opposite direction. It was a generous offer! However, Mr. and Mrs. Lot made a choice that did not reflect the honor of God as Abram’s did. Standing on the high plains, they looked down at the rich and lavish lower valley of the Jordan River. They chose what was best for them, or so they thought. The land was well-watered and beautiful, earning the name “The […]