GraceWaves Articles

Ashley Madison and the Gospel

In case you haven't heard, the adultery-promoting website whose motto is "Life Is Short-Have an Affair" has been hacked. The names and contact info of clients(?) has been published. This kind of story is low hanging fruit for anyone who wants to rail against adultery. The site is disgusting. It plays to some of the very worst impulses people have. It promotes the myth that if no one knows then no one is harmed, and ignores the far deeper truth that any sin is a spiritual poison, first to the sinner and then to the family or larger social circle.

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Feeling Homogeneous? You're Important to God

"What is man that Thou are mindful of him?" Psalm 8:4 Life sometimes is a grind, a meaningless grind. The chirpy writer of Ecclesiastes put it this way "Nothing is new. Everything is empty. All things are full of weariness." While not uplifting, these thoughts do have a ring of truth. They reflect the way many people feel on a Sunday afternoon as they get ready for another week of work. Another. Week. Of. Work. And it's going to be hot down here in south Louisiana, again. And people are just as surprised by the heat this year as they

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Faith and Darkness

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 A few weeks ago Leslie and I spent some time in the Shenandoah National Forest in northern Virginia enjoying cooler weather and, of course, the mountains. I love all mountains. They're nature's way of declaring what it can do with a combination of time, pressure, heat, and pure muscle. The Rockies are jagged and young, geologically speaking. Precambrian adolescents at best. The Appalachians beat them by 400 million years or so. The Rockies are brash and tall and full of boasts. The Appalachians were once

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Shaped for Eternity

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 The movie Titanic came out in 1997. My daughter at the time was nine years old and according to her was “the only person my age not allowed to see it!” Despite her indisputable accuracy, and due to the fact that we, her parents, were obviously social Neanderthals, I would not allow her to go see the movie due to a few racy scenes. Besides I ruined the story for her when I quite

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Don't Just Do Something, Pray

“After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.” Matthew 14:23 What do you do when life becomes difficult? When the rpms of the day rev up and life gets a little bit crazy what do you do? Jesus prayed. I’ve always found that infinitely significant. The Son of God relied in prayer on the Father and the Spirit. What possible hope do we have without an enduring reliance on prayer? And yet… When pressed by life most of us tend to become practical. We want to

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Keep Peddling

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should live in them.” Ephesians 2:10 Grace is wonderful. God is a Giver. He smiles when He fashions a sunrise, a new baby, a redeemed life, the love of family and friends. God does love to give. Thank God for grace! But do we have a role in receiving grace? I say yes, not in the sense that we earn anything, but in the sense that we make ourselves available to God. God doesn’t take hold of a closed fist. We must

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Anxious? Take It to God

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 We find various forms of “do not be anxious” sprinkled throughout the Bible. Jesus even devoted a great deal of the Sermon on the Mount to the crippling effects of anxiety and His solution to it (Matt. 6:25-34). In the passage for today’s Gracewaves Paul again reminded us to “be anxious for nothing,” and he provided some

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I Choose (and So Can You)

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1. This verse, and this section of Ecclesiastes, is one of the more familiar in Bible. Even the Byrds knew it (Turn, Turn, Turn). The beauty of Hebrew poetry is clear, and the rhythms of a time for this and a time for that offer a strange comfort. I say strange because if you look at the different “times” some make a great deal of sense, such as “a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted.” In other words, planting

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Living Without Fear

“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6 Fear is debilitating and lies at the root of a great many spiritual, emotional, and even physical ills. It solves none of tomorrow's problems and steals all today's joys. God did not create us to be fearful creatures, so not surprisingly the Bible actually has a great deal to say about fear and how God wants to relieve us of it. Psalms 113-118 are called

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Living As If

“I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 We have a problem with grace. In my experience most people long for grace, believe in grace, and are astounded by grace. Grace is both amazing and puzzling. It is beyond my comprehension, but personally I accept its reality and presence in my life. I no longer have nagging questions. But I increasingly sense that this is not typical even for faithful Christians. Here is the problem in a nutshell: Most people do not for a serious moment believe that the

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You Have a Place In God's Family

“And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” Matthew 1:7 It’s the middle of June. How about a lesson from the Christmas story? The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy, tracing Jesus’ ancestry back to Abraham. The dizzying list of names threatens to lull the casual reader into drowsy nap through the begats. Nothing here. Let’s move on to the real story that begins with Mary and Joseph. However, if you slow down and look closely at the genealogy, you will find some very interesting details. For example, Matthew noted especially for us that Solomon’s

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Perseverance Is Victory

“We felt we had received the sentence of death, but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9 In the opening paragraph of his second letter to the Corinthians Paul referenced a particularly difficult time he encountered in Ephesus. He wrote that he felt that he had received the sentence of death while in Asia. He was utterly and unbearably crushed, despairing of life. We do not know the specifics, these details do not fit any particular period we know of in Paul’s life. What we do know is

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Take Another Street

“I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15 Sometimes I’m very tired of me. I commit the same sins, have the same defects of character, and get myself into the same kind of trouble I’ve had for years. There is nothing new under the sun. I’m not being pessimistic, and I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I also don’t need those of you who know me to agree too enthusiastically. I’m just being honest. In my journey upward I fall and fail

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Grace to Remember

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing.” Proverbs 10:7 The Memorial Day weekend has prompted me to consider the importance of remembering, and the grace God gives us to remember. Remembering is a minor feature of our early years when we see the future spread out before us and imagine all the awaiting possibilities. As we grow older the focus shifts to the past by a few percentage points each year. This is not a bad thing at all, for as we gather experiences, as families grow, and as friends sift in and out of our lives we simply

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Daily Bread

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 The Lord’s Prayer should be a part of your morning devotion. This prayer is Jesus’ gift to us, His answer to our request “teach us to pray.” Therefore, part of what we should pray every day is “give us this day our daily bread.” The key to understanding this initial request in The Prayer is the word “daily” a surprisingly obscure word in the NT (found only here and in the parallel in Luke). Outside of the NT we find only one example, in a shopping list or list of expenses.

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