The Israelites were gunny-sacking. Gunny-sacking occurs when we store up a list of grievances instead of dealing with them in the order they happen. It is a common experience among married people. A sock left on the floor, the cap left off the toothpaste, or a dish filled with dirty dishes becomes the fodder for the argument that erupts. Before long, the couple no longer knows what started it all. It is as if they had been carrying invisible burlap sacks on their shoulders, throwing grievances in, until finally something as small as a toothpaste cap causes the sack to bust and grievances spill all over.Continue reading
There was a peculiarity about Jesus’ ministry that may surprise you in today’s content-driven, media-crazed culture. Throughout most of his earthly ministry, Jesus kept his identity under wraps. If social media had existed in Jesus’ day, he would not have used it. He would have been the person at the party saying, “No photos online, please!” Continue reading
Commitment is waning in our society. Sociologist Peter Berger once said, “The modern mind is distinguished by this: to the modern person, our needs and our own fulfillment is more real to us than any other obligation.” Berger is saying that if it comes to choosing between fulfilling our own desires or fulfilling our commitment to another – say a child, parent, boss, our membership in a group, etc. – we have a greater tendency to choose fulfilling our own desires than we did several decades ago. Many sociologists say this trend has only gotten worse since Berger said this. Continue reading
I remember forgetting to return a library book when I was fourteen. I checked it out. I knew I needed to return it. Nevertheless, there it laid for weeks or months beyond its due date. I was tempted to not return it. However, the better part of me compelled myself to walk through the Library doors and face the music. The librarian took the book and in an unharmonious voice told me what I already knew, “This book is late.” The fine was twenty or so dollars, a small fortune for a fourteen-year-old, especially in the nineties. Continue reading
God understands sin more broadly than we. We might think of sin as breaking one of the Big Ten. However, for God, sin is insidious. It engenders every action, thought, and attitude that is contrary to God’s flourishing design for this world. Sometimes we sin without even knowing it. Continue reading
Submitted by Andy McIlvain.
“Aslan stood in the center of a crowd of creatures who had grouped themselves round him in the shape of a half-moon… But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. Mr. Beaver tells Susan that Aslan (the ruler of Narnia) is a great lion. She then tells Mr. Beaver, ‘I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.’ She asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe, to which Mr. Beaver replies, ‘Safe? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King.’” This is a scene in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Continue reading
“If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects [Heb 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [cf. Heb 5:2]. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross [Gal 3:13]; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent to hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgement, in the power given to him to judge.” These are the words of the sixteenth century reformer John Calvin. Continue reading