More Than Words (Joel)

Rend your heart and not your garments. (Joel 2:13a) Have you ever told God, "I'll never do _________ again"?  It's actually a relatively easy thing to say to Him.  Sometimes the statement comes as a kind of bargaining chip to get God to give us what we want or to do as we desire.  Other times, it's a statement of regret in the midst of seeking His forgiveness for ... [Continue Reading]

Bait and Switch (Ezekiel 17, 20)

There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. (Ezekiel 20:43) There's something about Charlie Brown, Lucy, and a football that makes me cringe every time I see it coming.  It's the same old story: Lucy baits Charlie Brown to kick the football, Charlie Brown ... [Continue Reading]

Mourning as Motivation (Jeremiah 7-9)

Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. (Jeremiah 8:21) Mourning can be a great motivator.  When you mourn for something, you recognize that things are not what they should be - they need some sort of restoration.  That perspective can be a motivational force for good - so that you can be a part of the restorative process. Mourning is ... [Continue Reading]

When God Can’t be Found (Hosea 5-8)

When they go with their flocks and herds to seek the Lord, they will not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them. (Hosea 5:6) Whereas a person may believe that it's possible to move so far away from God that, when he or she finally does seek Him, He isn't to be found, such a belief simply isn't true.  Those who desire to truly know God can find Him when they pursue ... [Continue Reading]

Just Like Everybody Else (Amos 1-3)

This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not relent.  Because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed...” (Amos 2:4) There's a tension as it comes to Christianity.  It's complicated, really.  The tension is that we receive ... [Continue Reading]

Tired of the Game (Isaiah 1-4)

Stop bringing meaningless offerings!  Your incense is detestable to me.  New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. (Isaiah 1:13) Solomon's wasn't kidding when he said, "there's nothing new under the sun."  He was especially right as it comes to the whole game of religion.  In fact, the temptation to make religion a game is just as ... [Continue Reading]

Getting Too Big for Your Britches (2 Kings 15; 2 Chronicles 26)

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.  He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. (2 Chronicles 26:16) Pride is often hard to see in the mirror.  We recognize proud people when we see them, but they don't recognize themselves as being proud.  Perhaps that's why pride is such ... [Continue Reading]

Gracious Provisions (Jonah)

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17) There is a perspective about God that once you make a mistake, He writes you off for good.  From my perspective, this is one of the most incorrect views about God that floats around because nothing could be further from the truth.  The story ... [Continue Reading]

Managing Your Lion (2 Kings 9-11)

So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel.  However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. (2 Kings 10:28-29) Have you ever seen a lion on a leash?  A couple of years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Greenville Zoo in Greenville, South Carolina, and one of ... [Continue Reading]

A Tale of Two Stories (2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 20)

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.  But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12:13-14) Sin is serious, and it carries with it enormous consequences.  A part of the human condition, however, is that ... [Continue Reading]