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Showing posts from January, 2019
Something (Not Quite Simple) To Keep Reading and Keep Praying
Luke 18:1-3, Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow, is interesting to me. In his one-verse introduction to the parable (18:1) Luke, the gospel writer, gives its meaning and the reason Jesus told it. He says, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show they that they should always pray and not give up.”
In the parable and in its further explanation, (verses 2-8) we encounter the cast of characters. There are only three. First there is a judge who does not fear God or care about people. Second there is a widow who persistently comes to the judge with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.” The third character is the woman’s adversary, who owes her justice. Because he won’t act, she needs the judge to compel his action.
We learn from Jesus that the judge, though he cares for nothing beyond himself, will eventually give the widow justice though he does not care for God or people. He will do this for entirely selfi…
God’s Faithfulness Our Shield and Rampart

Note, I wrote this earlier for the local paper.  Later I thought that since the country is divided over a wall, and the government is partly shutdown, someone reading it might think that is what I am talking about here. But that is the farthest thing from my mind in this column!
Psalm 125:2 says, “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even forever.”
This is a picture of God surrounding His people, even as the mountains surround Jerusalem and other cities. I was thinking today, however, not of the mountains around Jerusalem or other cities but of the walls which have sometimes been built to further protect them, and of the spiritual lessons about our true security in Christ which the scripture draw from these walls. 
In the old city of Jerusalem there are various walls around different parts of the city. These walls, also called ramparts, date from different eras. When you were standing be…
Where Faith is Flourishing
(Note, Sometimes I am able to clarify something on this blog and subsequently on Facebook about which I was unclear in the earlier newspaper column. In the column, see below, I write about people who are “oppressed.” Even in seminary long ago, I read a book about sin which said sin is two things: first it is the bad we do and the good we don’t do. But secondly, sin is also the spiritual power of darkness which oppresses us. Children who grow up in physical abuse are oppressed as are children who grow up in a home with alcohol or substance abuse. Go to any AA or NCA meeting and you will find people who tell you that, without their higher power, they are “powerless over their addiction”--a kind of oppression they are under. Obviously there was oppression behind hundreds of years of slavery in this country and in the racism that followed after freedom...in some cases even up until now. These are some of the things I mean in the article when I talk about oppressi…
When You Make Politics into An Idol
The first commandment says “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt...You shall have no other gods before me.”(Exodus 20:1-2) The earliest Christian confession about Jesus of Nazareth was “Jesus is Lord” (The Greek word used in that confession is “Kyrios,” which translates the Hebrew “Adonai,” Lord.) When something or someone is the Lord and Master of our lives, that thing must be more important than everything else.
Suppose professional football were the most important thing in peoples’ lives. Suppose football were more important than people, more important than family, more important than nation, more important than God! If you can imagine a world where professional football was more important than all those things, you can also imagine that people whose team was the Houston Texans could end up hating people whose team was the Dallas Cowboys. They could easily get to the point where they imagined the other side was less than …