What are you craving? (1 Peter 2:1-3)

1 Peter 2:1-3

What do you crave? Success in life? Popularity? Good health? Wealth? Power? Most of the things we crave leave us hungry and wanting more, even after we get them. There is a story of a pastor visiting a couple’s home. Atop the mantle of their fireplace was the painting of a beautiful home large in stature. The pastor inquired about the paining. “Oh,” the couple replied, “that is our dream home.” A few years later, the couple had that very home built. The pastor went back to visit them in their new home, after some time passed. Atop the mantle of their new fireplace was a new painting of an even more beautiful and larger house. The pastor again inquired. “That’s our dream home,” the couple explained. Will our appetites ever be satisfied? Will we always want more?

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Racism and Our Distorted Image (Psalm 17:15)

Submitted by Andy McIlvain

Psalm 17:15

Racism is as old as mankind. It is a sin and an attitude that finds its roots in our pride. We as Christians should be offended by it at the least and do whatever we can within our sphere of influence to keep it from happening.

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Practice Your Independence with Dependence (1 Peter 2:13-17)

1 Peter 2:13-17

At a time when governmental interference into our personal lives is at an all time high, the Bible’s command to submit to our governing authorities may sound like more intrusion than help (1 Peter 2:13-17). However, this command may be the healing balm Christians can offer our fragmenting nation.

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Being Oddly Good When Violence is the Norm (1 Peter 2:11-12)

1 Peter 2:11-12

For those of us living in modern Western civilization, it is hard to imagine a time when Christians were a minority group. Nevertheless, at the time Peter wrote his First Letter, Christians were verbally berated and sometimes hunted down and killed. They would not give in to all the values and customs of the culture around them and were scorned for doing so. Tacitus, a Roman historian and a near contemporary of Peter, said of Christians, “…an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted […]. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight expired.”

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When Trials Come (Exodus 14:10-31)

red sea

Exodus 14:10-31

When troubles and hardships come, our first reaction is often to panic. As the late Irish biblical scholar Alec Motyer said, “hardships breed a swarm of ‘Why.’” Why me? Why us? Why her? Why them? Why this way? Why this job? Why this relationship? Why does it hurt so much?

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Be a Steward of the Truth (John 15:26)

Submitted by Andy McIlvain.

John 15:26

You are the keeper of your story. For as long as God permits you to live you have a responsibility to be morally responsible, virtuous, and truthful. That lifelong process of spiritual growth begins by understanding that what you are in private, what is at the center of your heart is what God sees. Our secret, silent and private sins are hidden from no one. When we think or overtly commit sins, we do two things: we deny God’s omnipotence and we go against his absolute righteousness.

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The Lamb of God (Exodus 12:3-7, 12-13)

Jesus in the Exodus Journey

Exodus 12:3-7, 12-13

Many of us are familiar with the Passover story. Pharaoh of Egypt forced Israel into cruel slavery. The Lord God sent Moses to rescue his people. After nine plagues, Pharaoh still refused to let them go. Finally, the Lord God deals a final blow. The plague of affliction passes through Egypt, killing every firstborn, forcing Pharaoh to let Israel go (Exodus 12:29).

We often fail to notice that the Egyptian households were not the only ones with someone dead during the Passover. Someone died in the Israelite households too. Prior to that night, the Lord God gave Israel specific instructions. They were to take a lamb several days prior. It was to be a male, which made sense because males were often used for meat and females saved for milking and breeding. It was to be a year old, which would have made it virtually an adult animal. They were to calculate the need for one meal for each household. If a household was too small for a lamb, they were to share it with their neighbor. This was to be their last supper in Egypt, and it was to be a feast.

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The Day of Pentecost was a Histrionicus moment (Acts 2:14-21)

Acts 2:14-21

The philosopher Alasdair Macintyre said that for something to be understandable it must find its place in a story. For example, suppose you are waiting outside a store on Main Street when all the sudden a young man comes up to you and says, “The Latin name of the common wild duck is Histrionicus histrionicus histrionicus.” The sentence makes complete sense, but you have no idea what to make of it. Maybe this young man suffers from mental illness, and he is repeating this phrase for no apparent reason. Maybe he has mistaken you for someone else he met at the last meeting of his bird watching club. He thinks you are the person who asked him, “Do you happen to know the Latin name of the common wild duck?” To which he now answers your question from the other day. Maybe this young man is a spy, and he just uttered the code sentence to identify himself to his contact.

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The Blessings of Covid-19 (Romans 8:28)

Submitted by Andy McIlvain.

Romans 8:28

As I sit at home with my wife under a stay at home order for our state I am grateful. Just a few short months ago the world went about its everyday routine at a frenetic pace, nothing could affect us (or so it seemed), we were – we thought – masters of our own fate. Now store shelves are empty, many things are in short supply and will become even harder to get. This virus, this disease we now call Covid-19 is seemingly the topic of most of our conversations and the focus of our day. Yet what we have is a forced slow down, a grinding to a halt of all economic and social systems.

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The Birth of a Savior (Exodus 2:1-10)

Jesus in the Exodus Journey

Exodus 2:1-10

The season of Advent reminds us that we continue to long for the second coming of our Savior, when all things will be restored to God’s intended glory. As we wait for his second coming, seeing how the Old Testament stories pointed to his first coming can fill our hearts anew with hope.

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