Q: Why does God seem to act differently in the Old Testament than He does in the New Testament? How would you respond to nonbelievers that call God a murderer and a perpetrator of genocide, based on Old Testament accounts? In the Old Testament we see God primarily as a God of judgment and wrath, but in the New Testament…
Our two young boys wanted a nativity set, so we got a small one to place in their room. One night my wife went to tuck them in bed, only to find that Liam (age 5) had posted little plastic soldiers to guard the nativity. “They’re making sure baby Jesus is safe,” he announced.
Standing near the body of his older brother, his pain was visible. Adding to the weight of death was the knowledge that their relationship had been the closest thing he’d ever known to that of a father and son. His brother had always said, “I love you,” whenever they parted. But the differences in their lives, the jagged edges of their arguments, and the absence of true intimacy left this grieving man wondering if his love was real.
Today, some churches will observe Trinity Sunday as a way to remember and honor the Holy Trinity—our triune God consisting of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three, and yet one God. The word Trinity is not found in the Bible. But the New Testament reveals a triune God (Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 28:19; John 14:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 Corinthians 12:3-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 3:14; Hebrews 10:29; 1 Peter 1:2).
Following college, I spent several years in sports ministry and developed close friendships with a handful of professional and Olympic athletes. In talking with these friends over the past year, each of them commented that after they retired from athletic competition they struggled to know what to do next with their lives.
I thank God that I was born into privilege. No, I don’t mean that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. My dad isn’t a rich tycoon, and I don’t live in a luxurious mansion. In fact, when I was young, my dad had to work extremely hard so that my family could experience reasonable comfort. Yet, I can confidently say that I was born into privilege based on what we read in 1 Peter 1:3-6.
Was Jesus a nice guy? Consider this: He made some shockingly exclusive claims about Himself, and nice guys just don’t do that. When Peter told Him, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” Jesus blessed him (Matthew 16:16-17). To a Samaritan woman, Jesus plainly declared, “I AM the Messiah!” (John 4:26). And He announced to His followers, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
When we wrong someone, it’s normal for us to feel distance and shame. We might imagine that the offended person is stewing over our poor behavior, replaying our thoughtless conduct, or writing us off. We may even think there will be a complete disinterest in us until we return and effusively atone for our actions.
Q: What advice would you give a person who is the only single person in her entire church and is feeling left out and lonely? —Lisa
A: A single person is popularly defined as “one who is above 30 and unmarried.” I would prefer to see a single as “any person who is not in a marital relationship.” This would include…
My neighborhood in Uganda was relatively quiet until a businessman disrupted our peace by opening an outdoor bar across the street from my home. Now loud music blares the entire night, with the bar owner refusing to consider the residents he’s disturbing. He tells us that he’s a good man, and since he gives money to the poor people shouldn’t complain.
“Our Father in heaven,” Jesus taught us to pray, “may Your name be kept holy” (Matthew 6:9). We affirm today that Your name, Yahweh, already is holy because it describes You—pure, perfect, far removed from evil, error, and corruption.
Studies of children who grow up in fatherless homes reveal that they often face major challenges in life. The statistics are alarming: Youths who grow up in fatherless homes are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families. Eighty-five percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders and 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. Ninety percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes—32 times the average!