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Is God Our Friend?
Posted by Clare
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Frankly, I cringe a little every time I hear Christians singing, “I am a friend of God.”

It’s not that the Bible doesn’t use those words occasionally. Abraham and Moses were considered friends of God. (Gen. 15:6; Exodus 33:11) And, of course, Jesus was the friend of both sinners and the righteous. So, the idea of God being our friend is not unbiblical. I think it’s just unbalanced.

In our attempt to humanize God, there is the real danger of making him more like us than he is, or redefining our true relationship to him based on a few verses of scripture. And, how we think of God, directly affects our reverence of him. The right kind of fear of God is good for us.

For example; when I go to a friend for advice, I can take it or leave it. However, when I go to God and ignore his advice I do so at great danger to my soul and life. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

An unbalanced view

When taken as a whole, the God of the Bible is so sacred, so holy that Jews would not even say his name. He struck down people who simply touched his Ark, or got too close to his holy mountain; he caused idols to fall on their face before the Ark, demanded death for blasphemers. He made his first commandment that we should have no other Gods before him. I don’t have any “friends” like that! (more…)

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4

What’s your subtitle?
Posted by Clare
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Contrary to your mother’s assurances, the general public does in fact judge books by their covers. 

“When you enter a bookstore, what exactly are we looking for? What catches your eye? All those beautiful paperback or hardcover editions are wrapped in a cover with an eye-catching design, the author’s name, and the title. The cover design is up to the graphics team, so an acquisitions editor is looking for two other important elements: a popular name and an intriguing title. Either will do nicely to secure a second look from Joe or Jane shopper.

In the big bookstore of life, you and I don’t operate much differently. We know that others are judging us by our “cover,” and we really, really want them to like what they see. We want them to take a second look. Why? Maybe we’re after their respect or admiration or perhaps we have an unhealthy “fear of man” (Prov. 29:25).

Maybe, if we’re honest, we wouldn’t mind if the person on the other end was just a tad bit jealous of us. Whatever our reasoning, if we don’t have as much control over the “cover art” (our outward appearance) as we’d like, we have to make sure we seal the deal with either an impressive name or a flashy subtitle.

Few of us have names people immediately recognize. So, in an attempt to be a somebody, most of us have adopted “subtitles” to impress people to “buy” us. (more…)

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I Have a Right
Posted by Clare
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Don’t I have a right to be happy?

I can’t tell you how many Christian men and women I’ve met with, who’ve asked that question as they contemplated divorcing their spouses. My answer to the, don’t I have a right to be happy question is always the same – “not always!”

God never wants us “happy” in disobedience. He actually wants us to be miserable, until we’re willing to be obedient. (more…)

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I Don’t Trust Myself
Posted by Clare
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All the elders at my church are reading a very popular book on the power of prayer. The author is the pastor of a large and growing church.

The premise of the book is that Christians ought to pray to God for a huge vision, something way outside of anything we could pull off on our own and pray until God provides. In all fairness, this is not a prosperity gospel book. This pastor simply wants the church to be bold in its vision and trust God to make it happen.

Here’s the troubling question I and some other elders had as we studied this book; “Should Christians “trust” God to deliver on a specific promise he’s never made?” (more…)

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