Category: The Spiritual Life

Sheepish thoughts

Let’s play with words for a moment. We speak of feeling sheepish in the embarrassed moments after an obvious mistake. But what if we apply “sheepish” to the quality of human character God finds attractive? God often refers to believers as his sheep but not as his lions, horses, camels, ferrets, or wolves. Is there …

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Is the Spirit in?

A growing field in Christian missions is called member care ministry. Workers in this field help global workers—missionaries—with emotional and spiritual hurts that have come from their time in ministry. Our question for today, then, is: Why the wounds? And who’s doing the damage? We may have heard the easy answer to the Why question: …

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Pragmatic Faith

Our question for the day: how pragmatic can we be as followers of Christ without losing our credibility? Is there, in other words, such a thing as a pragmatic faith? Or are the terms an oxymoron and the stuff of hypocrisy? Faith, we know, is a response of trusting obedience to God and his word. …

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Chasing Dots

I confess: in days past I’ve used a laser pointer with our family cat. You know the trick. A jiggling laser dot on the floor can entertain us and frustrate a bewildered pet for minutes at a time. It only takes a bit of human perversity and the cat’s preying instincts to have Mitsy pouncing …

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An Invitation

How many of us grew up with a “grumpy God” syndrome. I’m thinking mainly of those among us who have a rigorous religious heritage. So that the child’s Christmas question of “who’s been naughty or nice” is a year-round preoccupation. And God is the great moral inspector in the sky. If that’s you, consider having …

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“Come, Lord Jesus!”

The final verse of the book of Revelation—and the completion of my read-through—ended with a double calling: “Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” Jesus is the focus of both calls—one that speaks of the future and the other of the present. In the first call John exhorts Jesus …

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Seeing the Son

In the Bible the Son comes to us through a set of self-disclosures: as the Christophanies in the Old Testament; as the newborn baby in the New Testament; as the Logos-Word in his coming out; as the adult prophet, Jesus, hiking the Palestine hills with a clan of fringy followers, calling, challenging, and stirring hearts; …

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The Branch

Isaiah is a special read in the Advent season. The book offers a spiritual GPS or Satnav in a world with muddled moral maps. It sets out a reassuring bigger picture of life: in the end everyone will get to a proper destination. Amid job losses, Brexit votes, uncertain elections, crumbling social values, broken marriages, …

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Monuments

Christians and non-Christians alike hear the siren call of personal glory. Jesus, on the other hand, calls us to the highest delight of giving—of elevating others. Let’s compare these callings. Adam launched the monument-making impulse by wanting to be like God. Since Adam we all celebrate personal significance at some level. Yet the impulse divides …

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Active Listening

We all enjoy talking to an active listener. As in the Bible, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Prov. 20:5). Yet they’re hard to find! Think of a time when you read a book that captured you—an insightful story that stirred you …

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