Justice and Grace

“When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look at you; even if you offer countless prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. “Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from my sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the […]

What is “Doing Justice?”

“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, NASB95) There are a lot of competing theories in our world about how to “do justice.” The debate is part of the […]

Peacemaking and Rebuke?

I don’t know about you, but several of Jesus’ commands to his disciples make me uncomfortable. Here’s one: “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to […]

When Conflict Strikes

Job’s friend Eliphaz said: “…humans are born for trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7) And it often seems that trouble comes out of nowhere, doesn’t it? A spouse suggesting divorce. A pink slip with 20 minutes to clear out your desk. A call from the principal…or from jail. Even in church – […]

Spiritual Snowflakes

“The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4) Ever get mad at God? There are several issues going on in Jonah’s life at this moment (we’ll discuss them Sunday), but one of the issues is entitlement: the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. Jonah had […]

Empowering Others

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32, NIV) You might remember this moment: Simon promised Jesus that, though others might abandon him in his hour of need, Simon […]

Broken

“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” (Mark 14:3, NIV) The week before Jesus’ death, he […]

Pride and Prejudice

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.“ (James 2:1, NIV) One of the problems with the church in the first century (and still today) is prejudice.  James begins chapter two with a clear injunction against it, reminding Christians that it is incompatible with the Christian faith. And just to […]

The Gospel According to Mephibosheth

Paul Harvey once told the story of “The Man and the Birds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddai8rkXWRs ).” It’s about a man who wanted to help a flock of birds, caught in a snowstorm, get into the safety of his warm barn.  He tried to shoo them…he tried to catch them…he tried to lead them with a trail of […]

Face It: We All Stumble (James 3:2)

You and I can be surprised or depressed by how often we stumble or how badly. God isn’t. “The Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For he knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust” (Psa. 103:13-14). Our blunders haven’t discouraged Him…

When Others Fail You (2 Tim. 4:16-17)

A major source of such forgiveness and grace is your deep realization of how much and how often you’ve been the recipient of God’s forgiveness and grace: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

No Smiting Allowed (1 Tim. 5:1-2)

What do you do if a fellow Christian sins in a way that hurts you or others? The old word “smite” might come to mind, but it’s not allowed. There’s a much better way both to change them and to honor Christ…