Growing through Conflict

“You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.” (Genesis 50:20) That’s the famous conclusion of Joseph’s story in Genesis. He said it to his brothers when they came down to Egypt and he revealed himself to them. Here’s how we often interpret it, […]

The Anatomy of Conflict

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1) Conflict is the collision of differing desires – when someone wants his own way and someone else wants something different…and tension builds. Dr. David Cimbora of Biola University says there are several major differences in each […]

Loving the Unlovely

“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27–28) In our pursuit of “waging peace” – being peacemakers in a world of conflict – we eventually have to come to grips with […]

The Heart of Reconciliation

“Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” (Ephesians 4:31–32) I can’t tell you how many people have come into my office over the years for prayer […]

A Disciple’s Response to the Impossible

When it was late in the day, and the crowd of people listening to Jesus were hungry, Jesus’ disciples suggested Jesus send them away for dinner. This exchange followed: “But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go […]

Wall of Hostility

“For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility…He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross by which he put the hostility to death.” (Ephesians 2:14, 16, CSB) The English word “hostile” describes an enemy and comes […]

Great Exploits

“… the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32, NKJV) I have always loved this verse…and it has taken me many years…and now I finally get it. I memorized the verse as it is written above. However, I left off a small but very important word. BUT.  […]

The Nations Rage

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord..:” (Psalm 2:1–2, CSB) What an appropriate psalm for our day and age. The psalmist could be describing Minneapolis or Portland… While the nations conspire against God, he remains […]

Detours on the Road

“God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:1–3, CSB) “On the Road” we will run into detours. The author of Psalm 73, a man named […]

An Invitational Command

“Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” (Psalm 134:1–2) When we started this study of the fifteen Songs of Ascent in the Book of Psalms, we began our journey in Psalm 120. […]

Good and Pleasant

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.” (Psalm 133:1–2) The key to good and pleasant company is given with a little disclaimer…we must be […]

“Instead, I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like a weaned child.” (Psalm 131:2, CSB) In this verse, David paints a wonderful picture for us of spiritual maturity. He has grown from his infantile dependence. A nursing child with a voracious appetite demands food and […]