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Showing posts from January, 2022

Be Ready

  For several months in 1980 scientists warned that Mount Saint Helens was going to erupt. Residents around the Washington State volcano were strongly encouraged to evacuate for their very lives. Obviously most people did evacuate, but a few chose to stay home.    One such resident was Harry Truman (no, not the President). The 83 year old told one local reporter, “I don’t know whether the volcano will erupt. But I don’t believe it to the point that I am ready to pack up.” Those words stand as a monument to poor decision making. When the deadliest eruption in American history took place, Harry Truman’s house was buried under 150 feet of mud and debris, and his body was never discovered. It is foolish to disregard reality, and Truman learned that lesson the hard way.    Christians make the same mistake when they act as if temptations will never come, or that the devil is not able to get them to fall into sin. Yes, the Bible says that “He who is in you is greater than he that is in the wo

Your Good Deed for the Day

  A man was driving his pickup truck through the country one day, and he lost control after going too fast around a winding road. A nearby farmer heard the commotion, and he jumped on his horse and rode out to the scene. The farmer introduced himself and his horse named Duke, and he assured the motorist that they could pull his truck out of the ravine.    The farmer attached a cable to Duke’s saddle and the hitch of the truck, and then shouted, “Alright Peaches, giddy up! Good boy.” A few seconds later he yelled, “Alright Rascal, giddy up! Good boy.” Then the farmer said, “Alright Duke, giddy up!” And the horse took off and pulled the truck back to the road.   The driver was grateful and thanked the farmer, but he had to know why the farmer shouted to Peaches and Rascal when he only had one horse. “Duke here is blind,” the farmer explained. “He’s too lazy to do any work, but if he thinks there are other horses working too he doesn’t want to be upstaged.”    Sometimes a little positive

The God Who is Able to Do

  One of my favorite passages in Scripture is the doxology of praise Paul wrote at the end of Ephesians 3. Verses 20-21 say, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”   Warren Wiersbe wrote that Paul seemed to be trying to use every word at his disposal to describe God’s ability to grant all that we ask or think—He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all. He is truly the God who is able to do all these things. But I think it is interesting if we shorten that last sentence. God is able to do. We serve a living God, one who is able to do. This is in sharp contrast to the dumb idols and statues made by human hands that the Jews of old would frequently serve.    In the same city of Ephesus where Paul sent this letter, the silversmiths who made statues of the goddess Diana became furious that people were turnin

When the Devil Quotes the Bible

    The biblical account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness is a favorite one for many people; it appears in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is a great narrative because it gives us a manual for how to handle our own temptations—each time the devil tempted Jesus, the Lord responded by quoting Scripture. We too should rely on God’s Word, hidden in our hearts, to help us in our spiritual battles.    But today I want to focus on a different part of the temptation account. Often lost in the telling of this story is the fact that Satan also quoted Scripture. Its as if the devil tweaks his strategy and says, “If you’re going to quote Scripture, then I will as well.” In Matthew 4:5-6 we read, “Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against

Fishers of Men

I have always been fascinated by the miracle Jesus performed when He called Simon, James, and John as His first disciples. These three men owned a fishing business together, and when Jesus approached them one morning they had just finished a night of futile fishing. They had worked unto the point of exhaustion without so much as a nibble (a feeling I know a little something about). Jesus told the crew to push out into the deep and throw their nets out one more time.     Simon, who Jesus later nicknamed Peter, did this for a living. He knew at the Sea of Galilee you fish in the shallow end during the night, but Jesus told him to fish in the deep end in the morning. Peter may have been thinking that Jesus should stick to carpentry and leave the fishing to him. He had even begun the process of washing his nets. If they weren’t cleaned and dried, they would rot and break. His body had to be ready for bed, but he replied, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I wil