Who is the Real God?

The Bible does not speak of the gods of the nations as harmless statues or mere figments of the human imagination. That may seem a provocative statement, but the Bible often speaks of the other “gods” of this world, and one only has to pick through Psalms to verify it (e.g. Psalm 82, 86, 96, etc.). While it is true that God openly mocks the idle images which the people created as gods, it is also true that there is a real power which they possess. The power is not in the wooden carvings or metal figurines, but in the dark demonic powers which lay behind the images. Behind the varied masks of the gods was the “god of this age” – Satan himself (see 1 Cor.10:19-20). And so, God speaks of these “gods” as real powers possessing a real power to lead people astray. This may be surprising to our modern minds, specifically our scientific minds, which so easily dismiss the gods of other nations as totally empty of any existence, let alone power.

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Peace When There Is No Peace

Peace is always popular – so is preaching about peace. People want to know that everything will be alright and that all the pain and hurt of this life are worth it. We want to be assured that we are really not as bad as we seem and all will turn out in the end. And no wonder. Our world is overrun with chaos and uncertainty and true, lasting peace remains elusive. Our own lives can be equally chaotic as we deal with broken relationships and inner struggles. Peace is good and right, but it is hard to come by.

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Siege Works and a Few Strands of Hair

There is a way to make theology so abstract that it loses all meaning to us. Take for example the essential idea of salvation. We can so easily speak of our salvation without giving much thought to what lies behind it. Within the church we can talk endlessly about salvation and yet fail to think about what we are being saved from, or what we are being saved to. Salvation then becomes a part of our Christian jargon, but it rarely is defined in a tangible, even earthy, way. Of course, this can happen with any number of the creeds and doctrines of the church – they remain floating in the realm of the abstract instead of imbedding themselves deep within the concrete realm of our thinking, actions and imagination.

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Doubting Zechariah

Luke begins his Jesus story by introducing us to an old man and an old woman. Zechariah and Elizabeth were faithfully serving God despite many obstacles to faith: barrenness, foreign occupation, national crisis, and the silence of God. It had been hundreds of years since Israel had heard or seen directly from God. In Zechariah’s day there was no glory cloud leading the way or manna falling from heaven. The walls of enemy cities were not crumbling, nor were there armies fleeing at the sight of angels. And there were no prophets bringing a fresh word from God for the contemporary moment. The evidences for God were in the distant past and his promises of an abundant future were beginning to fade from memory.

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The Chosen Ones

It is terribly easy to use the doctrine of election as a source of pride. Being called into a special relationship with the Almighty One is truly astounding. It really does set us apart from those who remain outside of this relationship. And it really does place us in a different category and gives us special access to our God. So how do we avoid the immense stumbling block of pride which so easily leaves us face-down in the muck?

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Waiting on Resurrection

“What misery is mine!”

So begins Micah’s lament for his nation. The prophet is miserable because he looks out on the people of God and can’t find anyone who is godly. It seems as if everyone has turned away from Yahweh and are descending deeper into wickedness. The light of God’s word had shone among them and they shut their eyes, turned their faces, and retreated into the dark.

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