The Bible states, “Do not take to heart all the things that people say [about you]” (Ecclesiastes 7:21). And these days, with everybody saying all kinds of things about everyone else on social media, this timeless principle may be more important than ever before. The biblical context of this verse clearly has in view the typical opinionated chitchat and conversational commentary that has gone on between...
We live in a violent and tumultuous world—for now. Surprisingly, it’s one of the byproducts of grace. Had God chosen to destroy every sinner at the moment of his or her sinful intent, our world would indeed be free from all the horrible headlines, but it would also be unoccupied. Instead, God graciously and mercifully provides...
Accomplished athletes make their sport look easy. But for all of us who have tried to advance in a sport, we know there is nothing easy about reaching a level of proficiency in athletics. Some people can make godliness look easy. They seem to effortlessly love God and do what is right. But the Bible is clear that like athletics, reaching a level of proficient godliness requires a lot of hard work. Paul wrote, “train yourself for godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). The word that
There is little debate that “there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Even the most godly Christians are quick to concede that “we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). Thankfully, when it comes to imperfect people engaging in imperfect fellowship the Bible tells us “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Unfortunately though
We all like easy answers. Yet the Bible tells us that “It is the glory of God to conceal things” (Proverbs 25:2). That may appear to be a cruel portrayal of God, who is lauded for stealthily hiding important matters from his creatures. But think for a moment about how loving parents routinely and strategically choose to refrain from simply handing over the answers to their children’s homework questions. Parents and teachers alike intuitively recognize
“Why me?” That’s a question we usually mutter in bad times, but it’s actually a great question to ask when things go well. Of course the theological answer is easy and concise – namely, God’s grace. But beyond that, asking “why me?” when you are blessed may have practical and more specific answers that are worth discovering. In the Old Testament the question was asked
The Bible tells us that the prayer of Solomon “pleased the Lord” (1 Kings 3:10). It’s a simple phrase that we can read without giving it a second thought. But we ought to. Consider what a big statement that is. The content of Solomon’s prayer evoked pleasure in God’s heart. To imagine that something we ask for can have an impact on the way the Almighty God feels is a remarkable
Occasionally when reading the words of Christ we come across some jarring statements. For instance, in Revelation 2:6 Jesus says to the church in Ephesus, “You hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Sentences like that should slow us down to consider the powerful concern motivating such strong language. Think of it, “hatred” in this case was praised as godly when directed toward the behavior of a group of
What an amazing experience to have been a follower of Christ during his earthly ministry. Imagine sitting in the crowd listening to him teach, counsel and correct the world in which you lived. Consider the enormous privilege of being able to ask your specific questions and having God’s perfect wisdom delivered to you by the mouth of Christ himself. But even with all of that, Judas proved to be a traitor
When Christ’s redemptive work was complete he gathered his disciples and, with “all authority in heaven and on earth”, commissioned them (and every subsequent generation) to get serious about their job of propagating the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). The central verb of this passage is straightforward and notably uncomplicated: “make disciples!” Between the two advents of Christ
The Christian life is a life that is lived mindful of God. The crux and catalyst for sin is frequently described in the Bible as thoughtlessness or forgetfulness of God (Judges 8:34; 1 Samuel 12:9; Jeremiah 2:32; et al.). Godly living, on the other hand, is prompted and motivated by a chronic remembrance of the presence of God (Deuteronomy 8:18; Proverbs 5:21; Hebrews 4:13; 1 Peter 2:19; et al.). For us as Christians
When we read of people in the Bible provoking God to anger we ought to take note – especially when the people making God mad are his own children. The last thing we should want is to follow in the erring footsteps of our elder brothers and sisters. One such cautionary incident took place on the day God called Moses to lead Israel’s exodus from Egypt.
When reading through Proverbs one can’t help but perceive a handful of predominant and recurring themes. One of the most persistent sets of exhortations relates to our chronic tendency to say too much. Over one hundred seventy inspired proverbs seek to impress on our hearts that fools are “babblers” and the wicked are “rash” with their words, but the wise “restrain their tongues”. We are warned in dozens of ways that “When words are many, transgression is not lacking” (Proverbs 10:19).