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Thursday, July 2, 2015
The modern aversion to any form of human suffering is nothing new. The idea of suffering was not an enticing prospect for Jesus’ apostles either—they all forsook Jesus and fled on the night of His arrest (Mark 14:50). They were completely unable to reconcile suffering with God’s sovereign purposes. John, in particular, not only had an aversion to suffering, he had also harbored strong ambitions for glory.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
All of us have desires and ambitions. For the Christian, the challenge is to discern between the desires that are rooted in and feed our fallen flesh and the desires that have God as their source and His glory as their aim. Our conformity to Christ is tied to conforming our desires to His agenda in our lives. And that is precisely the process the apostle John went through as he was personally discipled by His Lord.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
While the accusation of being unloving is often used by sinners to divert attention away from themselves, the accusation can also have some legitimacy. If we’re honest, we often feel the tension between speaking the truth about sin and being loving. Biblical truth can be presented in a harsh and unloving way. And finding the right balance can be difficult to discern. With this in mind, the apostle John’s life serves as an outstanding biblical example of finding that balance.
Monday, June 29, 2015
It is remarkable that John is nicknamed “the apostle of love.” Indeed, he wrote more than any other New Testament author about the importance of love—laying particular stress on the Christian’s love for Christ, Christ’s love for His church, and the love for one another that is the hallmark of true believers. The theme of love flows through his writings.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Have you ever considered why Scripture encourages us to call God our Father? What eternal truths does that simple title point to, and what does it teach us about the radical change God has wrought in the lives of those who love Him?
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Every believer understands the frustration, confusion, and doubt caused by our sin after we’re saved. We know we’ve been transformed through the power of God’s redeeming work. He’s changed our nature and set us free from the dominion of sin and Satan. But we don’t always live in the reality of that freedom. In fact, we sometimes get the sense that we’re still wicked sinners, and that nothing has changed at all.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Few issues can make a person cringe as much as slavery. It’s not the subject of casual, carefree conversation. Whether one refers to past injustices or modern evils, the subject of slavery is usually met with angst and contempt. With that in mind, slavery isn’t the metaphor we tend to reach for to communicate encouraging spiritual truth.
Friday, June 19, 2015
If Christ’s sacrifice completely paid the penalty for all my sins past, present, and future, why do I need to adhere to God’s commands? If it’s all been forgiven already, why can’t I do whatever I want?
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
You’ve likely heard the phrase too much of a good thing applied to junk food feasts, chocolate binges, and all-night movie marathons. But what about theology? Is it possible to put too much emphasis on an aspect of biblical truth? What is the cost of theological tunnel vision?
Monday, June 15, 2015
Where does a believer’s obedience come from? How does he shed the grave clothes of his former life—old habits, the pull of persistent temptations, and corrupt patterns of thought and behavior—and live a righteous life in Christ?
Friday, June 12, 2015
In the apostle John’s account of the Lord miraculously raising Lazarus from the dead, there’s a short statement that never fails to make church kids smirk. Always with an eye for practicality and propriety, Lazarus’s sister Martha urgently warned Christ, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days” (John 11:39 KJV).
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Nobody's perfect. That truth, which ought to make us tremble before a God who is holy, holy, holy, is usually invoked to excuse sinful behavior. How often do we hear people brush aside their own wrongdoing with the casual words, “Well, after all, nobody's perfect”? There is accuracy in the statement, but it should be a timid confession, not a flippant means of justifying sin.
Monday, June 8, 2015
What is it that separates Christianity from every other religion? What sets the truth apart from all the lies? While most religions differ greatly in the minutia, there is a consistent theme that runs through all of them: human achievement. Whether you’re a Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, or Hindu, there is a code of conduct that is tied to eternal life. Even in religions where salvation isn’t guaranteed, the only possible way to achieve it is through diligent effort.
Friday, June 5, 2015
You’ve likely heard someone assert that, in spite of the wickedness we see on display in the world around us, people are basically good. Politicians, psychologists, and, sadly, religious leaders have reinforced that notion, assuming that because we’re not all as bad as we could be, there must be some built-in element of goodness and self-control in every person.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
People, as a general rule, do not like to be confronted with their sin. Most seem to think the title sinner ought to be reserved for only the most vile, violent, and corrupt, while softening their own spiritual diagnoses in the process. While they might acknowledge they don’t always do the right thing, their lists of wrongs are never as egregious as someone else’s.