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    The Lord Speaks

    We can find nearly every argument in the book of Job about why there is pain in the world, but the arguing never seems to help Job much. His is a crisis of relationship more than a crisis of doubt. Can he trust God? Job wants one thing above all else: an appearance by the one Person who can explain his miserable fate. He wants to meet God Himself, face to face.

    Eventually Job gets his wish. God shows up in person (see Job 38:1). He times His entrance with perfect irony, just as Job’s friend Elihu is expounding on why…

    Hard Mysteries

    As my friend and I went for a walk, we talked about our love for the Bible. She surprised me when she said, “Oh, but I don’t like the Old Testament much. All of that hard stuff and vengeance—give me Jesus!”

    We might resonate with her words when we read a book like Nahum, perhaps recoiling at a statement such as, “The Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath” (Nahum 1:2). And yet the next verse fills us with hope: “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power” (v. 3).

    When we dig more deeply into the subject of…

    Love Without Limits

    A wise friend advised me to avoid using the words “you always” or “you never” in an argument—especially with my family. How easy it is to criticize others around us and to feel unloving toward those we love. But there is never any variation in God’s enduring love for us all.

    Psalm 145 overflows with the word “all.” “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made” (v. 9). “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down” (vv.…

    No Co-Signer Required

    When a person without a long history of paying his or her bills on time wants to obtain a loan to purchase a home or car, lenders are often reluctant to take the financial risk. Without a track record, that person’s promise to repay what he borrows is insufficient for the bank. The would-be borrower usually resorts to finding someone who does have a history of making good on their debts, asking them to put their name on the loan too. The co-signer’s promise assures the lender the loan will be repaid.

    When someone makes a promise to us—whether for financial,…

    God of the Depths

    “When you go to the deep sea, every time you take a sample, you’ll find a new species,” says marine biologist Ward Appeltans. In one recent year, scientists identified 1,451 new types of undersea life. We simply don’t know the half of what’s down there.

    In Job 38, God reviewed His creation for Job’s benefit. In three poetic chapters, God highlighted the wonders of weather, the vastness of the cosmos, and the variety of creatures in their habitats. These are things we can observe. Then God spoke of the mysterious Leviathan—for an entire chapter. Leviathan is a creature like no other,…

    Hear Our Prayer

    The opening to a prayer written by author Joni Eareckson Tada pulses with praise: “Almighty God, you are our Mighty Fortress, our refuge and the God in whom we place our trust.” In naming God’s attributes, she follows the example of King Solomon in his heartfelt prayer when he dedicated the newly built temple.

    “Lovable!”

    That exclamation came from my daughter as she got ready one morning. I didn’t know what she meant. Then she tapped her shirt, a hand-me-down from a cousin. Across the front was that word: “Lovable.” I gave her a big hug, and she smiled with pure joy. “You are lovable!” I echoed. Her smile grew even bigger, if that was possible, as she skipped away, repeating the word over and over again.

    I’m hardly a perfect father. But that moment was perfect. In that spontaneous, beautiful interaction, I glimpsed in my girl’s radiant face what receiving unconditional love looked like: It…

    God’s Assurance

    He Himself has said . . . . So we may boldly say . . . —Hebrews 13:5-6

    My assurance is to be built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, …

    The Never-forsaking God

    He Himself has said, ’I will never leave you nor forsake you’ —Hebrews 13:5

    What line of thinking do my thoughts take? Do I turn to what God says or to my own fears? Am I simply repeating what …

    The Habit of Recognizing God’s Provision

    . . . you may be partakers of the divine nature . . . —2 Peter 1:4

    We are made “partakers of the divine nature,” receiving and sharing God’s own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature …

    The Faith to Persevere

    Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

    Standing on the Promises

    My friend’s brother (when they were both children) assured his sister an umbrella had enough lift to hold her up if she would only “believe.” So “by faith” she jumped off a barn roof and knocked herself out, suffering a minor concussion.

    What God has promised, He will do. But we must be sure we stand on God’s actual word when we claim a promise, for only then do we have the assurance that God will do or give what He’s promised. Faith has no power in itself. It only counts when it’s based on a clear and unambiguous promise from God.…

    Judgment and the Love of God

    The Christian servant must never forget that salvation is God’s idea, not man’s; therefore, it has an unfathomable depth. Salvation is the great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is simply the door through which salvation comes into the conscious level of our life so that we are aware of what has taken place on a much deeper level. Never preach the experience— preach the great thought of God behind the experience. When we preach, we are not simply proclaiming how people can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.

    In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out— it is the sign of the love of God.

    Vital Intercession

    As we continue on in our intercession for others, we may find that our obedience to God in interceding is going to cost those for whom we intercede more than we ever thought. The danger in this is that we begin to intercede in sympathy with those whom God was gradually lifting up to a totally different level in direct answer to our prayers. Whenever we step back from our close identification with God’s interest and concern for others and step into having emotional sympathy with them, the vital connection with God is gone.

    Crying for Us All

    During the US Civil War, General Stonewall Jackson befriended a little girl at a home where he wintered. Five-year-old Janie Corbin adored Jackson so much that she wore a piece of gold braid in her hair, taken from the general’s hat.

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