I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a word in the English language that is more overused and a concept that is more underused than "love."
Those of us who consider ourselves conservatives need to understand that conservatism to the Republican hierarchy is defined differently than we define it. And those who consider themselves Republicans because they still believe the party represents what it did at its inception or what it did under President Reagan must understand that's no longer the case.
What are you standing on?
When's the last time you've felt excited about giving an offering at church - I mean really excited? If you've been reading this column for the past month, you might remember that when I was in Nigeria, I wrote about how excited the Nigerians got about "offering time!" with the dancing and music accompanying the bringing of their gifts, spending at least an hour of their service giving their monetary offerings.
"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel."
It's one of those stories I've heard in so many different variations that I wonder about the real facts: A farmer comes upon the scene of a recent fire and finds a hen with wings spread, burnt to a crisp. He wonders why the hen didn't fly away and escape the fire until he gets a little closer and sees the little chicks are still alive and moving under the wings of their charred mother. They had been insulated from the fire by their mother's sacrifice.
"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.'"
You have heard it said, "One of these days, your tongue is going to get you in trouble!" But it isn't the tongue's fault - the tongue is just the messenger. The real culprit is the heart! (Luke 6:45) While the tongue is neither good nor bad, it can be used for both. Again, this is an issue that begins in the heart, but, if we set our heart on speaking truth, encouragement, godly instruction, ...
"Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
While Jesus was speaking to them, a ruler came and knelt in front of him, saying, "My daughter has just died. But come and place your hand on her, and she'll live."
"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me."
"Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don't you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don't belong to yourselves?"
Solomon's humble spirit and request of the Lord resulted in God making him great (2 Chronicles 1:1, 7-12) He stood high above all others and had no peers who could compare. However, while God (and his walk with God) made him great, something happened, something that took this great man down.
"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.
Have you ever thought about how silly worship seems? And I could go through so many of the goofy seeming things that we do in the ritual of worship, but I just want to cut to the chase. Think about how crazy it seems that we give offerings. We go out of our way to get to church and then just give up significant proportions of our income...for free. Why? Why on earth would we go to church and take our time and give our money?
What do you do when the bottom falls out from beneath you? I don't know about you, but some people look up, others look around, and yet some jump up. By the end of Solomon's reign he was experiencing a great fall. He never does look up; he never does look around. In fact, he just keeps acting like this isn't really happening. But it did happen and it was Solomon's own fault. And at ...
Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! Matthew 3:2 (Common English Bible) My geometry teacher in high school had a simple message to us as students: "Be sure your sins will find you out." Mrs. Quick was a kind and gentle Godly Presbyterian woman who took her teaching very seriously. She wanted us to learn all that we could so that we would be prepared to enter college with learned ...
Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Did you remember? Did you do something big? Now, I know my wife loves me, and I am pretty sure she knows I love her. But there is something to this encouragement we've had this week to show it, isn't there? Proclaim that love for all to hear. When someone shows us his or her love in an obvious way, in those over-the-top displays - it's awesome to see. When two ...
Today is a big day. It might not seem like anything special, but let me let you in on a secret. Today, God is working. Our text is the story of one of Jesus' first sermons, in his hometown of Nazareth. Imagine the scene Luke 4 paints: The people were excited having heard rumors that he had made a pretty big splash on the rabbi scene in Jerusalem, and now he was back home to ...