The Trinkets of Christianity (Acts 18:19-19:41)

A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there.  He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business.  And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in ... [Continue Reading]

The Wedding Dance (1 Thessalonians 1-2)

We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4b) The other day I was at my cousin's wedding with my little girl, and she was have a grand time dancing.  I'm not going to lie: it was incredibly hilarious and hideous at the same time.  As a 17-month-old, I'm not sure she'd win any dancing competitions, but she gave it her all.  The ... [Continue Reading]

The Overflow of the Heart (Matthew 12:22-50; Luke 11)

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Matthew 12:34b) We're pretty good at censoring our words (although even that is a practice that's somewhat waning in our culture), but every once in a while a person slips.  Out comes this expletive or nasty thought that surprises everyone around us, including ourselves.  Where did it come from? Jesus said that, from the ... [Continue Reading]

Anything But the Best (Malachi)

“It is you priests who show contempt for my name.  But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’  By offering defiled food on my altar.” (Malachi 1:6b-7a) The book of Malachi highlights something that we don't really talk about much, and that's the heart of worship.  Particularly when it comes to a worship service, there is a temptation to use the time as an ... [Continue Reading]

Jealous for His Name (Ezekiel 38-39)

I will be zealous for my holy name. (Ezekiel 39:25b) It should not come as any surprise to us that God might be zealous (or "jealous," as other translations read) for His holy name.  After all, there is none greater than God.  There is no one stronger, no one more powerful, no one more knowledgable, beneficent, or full of love.  God is matchless, and none compares to Him. ... [Continue Reading]

Know Thyself (Lamentations 1-3)

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:40) When is the last time you examined your ways to see if they are in line with God's ways?  I find that living in a sinful world means that my heart is prone to wander.  There are so many little "g" gods that demand my allegiance, and it's easy to give into them before I even realize ... [Continue Reading]

American Idols (Isaiah 40-43, 44-48)

All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless.  Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. (Isaiah 44:9) There's something kind of silly about idols, isn't there?  The very way in which they come about makes them unbelievable.  A skilled worker fashions an idol out of some kind of precious metal or ... [Continue Reading]

A Great God (2 Chronicles 2-3)

“The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods.  But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him?  Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?” (2 Chronicles 2:5-6) God is big.  How big? Well, let's just say He's big ... [Continue Reading]

How to Love God (1 Kings 3-4; 2 Chronicles 1)

Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. (1 Kings 3:3) Sometimes it's hard to know how to love a God we cannot see, feel, or touch.  God's invisible qualities make it challenging to even remember that His presence is with us.  With ... [Continue Reading]

Make a Joyful Noise? (1 Chronicles 15-16)

Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it. (1 Chronicles 15:22) Something incredible happens when a person uses his or her God-given talents to leads others in worshipping the Lord.  Excellence, believe it or not, does have a place in the church. In the particular case of Kenaniah, he was give the ... [Continue Reading]