Budget Christianity

“And you, in your turn, followed the example set by us and by the Lord; the welcome you gave the message meant grave suffering for you, yet you rejoiced in the Holy Spirit; thus you have become a model for all believers….” (1 Thess. 1:6-7). Today in America, one can become a Christian with relatively…

There, There

Spiritually, we don’t mature unless God brings us “there,” to those places of pressure and pain.  We may well ask, “Why?”, and this is the question most on our lips during such seasons.  It is tempting to think we can grow without going “there,” to assure ourselves that suffering isn’t a necessary part of spiritual…

There

After Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, he asked them to bring his father, Jacob, and the rest of their family to Egypt. Jacob was stunned and didn’t believe his sons at first.  But when he at last accepted their report, he couldn’t wait to see Joseph (Gen. 45:26-28). His first night on the…

Process

“God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.  Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen. 45:7-8). Joseph said the above words after revealing his identity to his brothers.  It is striking that he absolves…

The Inward Journey—Gene Edwards

Last month, someone sent me a couple books. One was, The Inward Journey by Gene Edwards. The book is a work of theological imagination. A young man, Chris (short for “Christian”), finds himself thrust into a painful season. As Chris cries and prays one day, he has a series of visions guided by a figure…

No Harm?

Psalm 91 talks about living under God’s protection.  It details various dangers the believer will be kept from.  In sum, “Because you have made the LORD—my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place, no harm will come to you” (Psalm 91:9-10). Similar sentiments are expressed in other verses.  Some take these verses at face value: if…

Too Strong for Me

He reached down from heaven and took hold of me; He pulled me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me” (Psalm 18:16-17). I have been meditating on Psalm 18, especially the verses above.  There are a couple levels…

Dreams and Suffering

Joseph dreamt his brothers were sheaves of wheat that bowed to his sheaf; he dreamt the sun, moon, and 11 stars all bowed to his star.  His brothers hated him because of his dreams, and because he was his father’s most loved son.   One day, their hatred brimmed over.  They stripped Joseph of the…

Fruitful Hostility

So Isaac left there, camped in the Valley of Gerar, and lived there. Isaac reopened the water wells that had been dug in the days of his father…. Then Isaac’s slaves dug in the valley and found a well of spring water there” (Gen. 26:17-19). Isaac lived in the realm of king Abimelech. But as…

The Defeat of Islamic Fanatics

Last week, a friend asked an interesting question: What did I think about ISIS and the situation in Iraq?  What did I think God was doing or allowing in Iraq?  Had I blogged on this topic? I confessed: Other than being grieved by ISIS’s crimes, I hadn’t given the topic a lot of thought or blogged…