Taking up our cross to follow Jesus is often a painful experience—but we desperately need it. The invitation to die—to take up our cross and lose our lives for Jesus—is truly an invitation to newness of life, to union with Christ, and to ultimate freedom from sin.Read More
The longer you walk with God, the more dangerous the path. It’s dangerous not because of hardship and suffering (though they may be present) but because of the temptation to rely on your ever-growing experience instead of on Christ alone.Read More
For the Christian, the college years are often marked by grand desires to change the world in the name of Jesus. It is a time filled with ministry opportunities and therefore marked by busyness for many young people who don't want to waste any ministry opportunity in their path. But doing things for Jesus cannot and should not be your primary goal. If it is, you have sidelined the only work that truly matters: knowing God through Jesus, His Son.Read More
We all need friends who stick closer than a brother, who will be there for us in good and bad times, but to treat a friendship with the weight, exclusivity, and ownership of a marriage brings serious dangers. In just a moment, things can go from seemingly safe and good to horribly bad and harmful.Read More
How can a desire to pour into someone else's life for the sake of the gospel go wrong? The desire certainly isn't wrong. But our prone-to-wander hearts and our crafty, disguised-as-an-angel-of-light enemy can distort God's good design if we aren't sober-minded and watchful. Here's how you can tell if a mentoring relationship is beginning to veer off into the ditch of neediness.Read More
Jesus is our Bread of Life, our Living Water, our Pearl of Great Price, our Light, our Resurrection, our very Life. The greatest danger to our souls is that we might abandon abiding in him, following him, and finding our joy in him. Therefore, the best gift a friend can give is a commitment to fight for our joy in and communion with Christ. Conversely, the worst distortion of friendship arises when a friend encourages us, consciously or unconsciously, to place our affections elsewhere.Read More
The things we covet and crave are often good things. But even so, to covet is to become enamored with something other than God. And craving God's gifts when you already have God Himself is preferring the gifts above the Giver.Read More
Though we have more access to the Bible than any generation before us, most Christians still have never read it all. The abundance of biblical access, on smartphones and bookshelves, generally hasn't resulted in an increased personal knowledge of the Word. And yet our generation speaks very authoritatively about God and the Bible.
Lack of knowledge plus authoritative opinions: This is a dangerous combination.Read More
Are you familiar with the story of Athaliah and Jehosheba? Here's why you should know about these two women from the book of 2 Kings.Read More
A new temptation often arises in the subtle shift from learner to teacher, one we often don't foresee. It creeps in as we begin to delight in our own expertise about God, rather than God Himself.Read More
An orphan comes into a world of sorrow before he is able to comprehend what he lost.But in the tragedy there is an invitation: Who will volunteer to make the orphan's grief their own? Who will step in to parent the parentless? And within our hearts we have found an unrelenting and determined answer: "Send us! We will go!"Read More
No Christian hopes to one day find themselves drifting from God. We don’t set goals to love other things most, to serve false gods, or to give in to temptation. But many of us, surprisingly, have found ourselves years into following Christ with an alarming companion: apathy.Read More
While we may be aware of our tendency to look to spouses, children, money, food, careers, and houses to find fulfillment, many of us have assumed friendship is immune to the same kind of temptation. But idolatry is always dangerous to our souls, no matter how harmless the idol may seem at first glance.Read More
No one likes to be used. But unfortunately, it is easy for all of us to fall into the habit of seeking God only to get the benefits He offers. Here are four ways that we often think we are seeking God, but in reality we’re only using Him.Read More
I’m skeptical of New Year's resolutions. Why? Because some days I don’t like being dependent on God, and a system of reform is an easy way back to self-sufficiency.Read More
I prayed. I believed. I trusted. I hoped. And in the end, I was disappointed. This December, like many before it, God's response to my prayers is no. No, your son will not be home by Christmas. No, that baby in your womb will not live. No, that marriage will not survive. Dashed hopes and unfulfilled longings are familiar companions to my holiday celebrations. I know I am not alone. For many, this month will be as full of heartache as it is of joy. Deferred hope feels like coal under the tree, a confirmation that God has passed over you to shower His blessings on someone else this Christmas. But disappointment in December may actually be due to God's kindness.Read More
For as long as I’ve been in church, I’ve known that sexual sin is a guy's struggle. Lust, sexual fantasies, pornography, masturbation. These were all things common to man, not common to woman. So what was I to do when my mom's Victoria’s Secret catalog arrived, and I secretly ogled over the pictures wishing I looked like those women? Or when I replayed intimate and sexual scenes from Titanic in my head? Or when I discovered certain parts of my body felt great when touched in a certain way? A Christian girl ought not to deal with such things. But the truth is lust is a temptation common to humanity, not just men. Lust is a desire for something that isn't yours to have. And plenty of women, myself included, have lusted for the pursuit and intimacy of a husband way before it was ours to have.Read More
Are we giving food too much glory? The Bible gives us the overarching concept that food is a symbol of a greater reality. Our need for daily sustenance, all the delightful flavors, the satisfaction of a full stomach after hunger are all pointing to Jesus, our Bread of Life, our Living Water, our New Wine, our fullness of joy and complete satisfaction.
There are two ways we can elevate the symbol above the Substance: celebrating the pleasure of food above Christ or celebrating the power of food above Christ. The former sees food as the ultimate satisfier and the latter sees food as the ultimate healer.Read More
As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" John 9:1-2 Suffering produces an insatiable desire to blame. Surely there must be some reason why this poor man must suffer all his life without sight. We hunger and thirst for some impetus for it all.
Why are we so bent on finding fault? Partly because we hope to prevent future suffering by finding the cause. Just like you may avoid spicy food if it once gave you heartburn. Partly because if the sufferer is to blame, we can accept the hardship as a legitimate recompense to sin: "She deserved that," or "I had it coming." If someone else is to blame, we at least have someone to take our anger out on.
So how does Jesus answer the disciples inquiry about the cause of the blind man's life of suffering?
Jesus doesn't tell us of a world of needless suffering. There is a reason, but it is one that we have had no category for at all: suffering for the sake of the glory of God.Read More
Grief is the recognition that something has been lost forever. It forces us into an awareness that we have no control to change or fix the situation. What is gone is gone and can never be regained, at least not fully. Grief is an emotion we don't gladle welcome. We keep it at arms length pretending it will go away if we wait long enough. And sometimes it does, but are we really better off for avoiding it?Read More