“For Richer, for Poorer, in Sickness and in Health, Until Death Parts Us”

The words are easily recognizable, and equally understandable- but are they the truth?  With these and other words, we promise undying love, endless devotion, and unquestionable loyalty and faithfulness “until death parts us,” and then divorce the mate with whom we stood before God, family, and friends to promise these things.   Why?

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Can We “Fall from Grace”?

I sure have…. many times…. in many ways…. but, it wasn’t God’s grace that somehow moved away or “threw” me.  No, it was I who stumbled and fell....

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Self-Deception: Six Lies We Tell Ourselves about Sin

The results of being spiritually deceived are the same whether Satan, Someone Else, or Self is the source of the deception.  But, being self-deceived is probably the most dangerous because it tends to be the most pervasive, and the hardest to correct.  We can become complicit in our own deception regarding many things, but let’s consider six lies we tell ourselves about sin…

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Fatal Flaws of Ancient Israel (and Modern America?)

We’ve all heard that “History repeats itself.”  But somehow, we never seem to think we’re the ones repeating it- at least at the time.  Both Roman 15:4 and 1Corinthians 10:11 warn Christians against duplicating the mistakes of ancient Israel.  But have we heeded these warnings?  Isn’t America now making the same mistakes as their religious predecessors?  I think so, at least in some key areas….

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Is “The Church Losing Its Young People,” or Are “Young People Leaving the Church”?

Though the unresolved results of the title question are the same, the solutions sought to “fix” the problem are very different based upon which scenario is perceived to be more accurate.  If "the church is losing its young people," then typical solutions proposed are to change the church to make it more attractive to the target group. But, if "young people are leaving the church," we need to change the hearts and minds of young people regarding the place and purpose of the church as God intended it.  Let’s reason through a few things in these regards…

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The Purpose of Law

Perhaps oversimplified (and yet still accurate), the purpose of “law” and its administration is to keep us physically safe and secure, cf. Romans 13:1-7.  It is not the law’s purpose to make us “happy,” “healthy,” or “wealthy”- only through physical security to provide the opportunity to pursue those things for ourselves if such is our desire.  But, when the law seeks purview into other areas, it quickly runs amuck.  For instance, when the law becomes interested in carving out niches for this or that special interest group, to provide them with peculiar advantages more than physical safety and security, it necessarily begins to infringe on the provision of physical safety and security for other members of its citizenry.  Though these things are true, they are not brought to our attention here for political or citizenship purposes….

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Are You an “Excellent Wife”?  (Men, keeping reading- this question is for you also!)

Proverbs 31:10-31 is a daunting text.  The wife/mother depicted is so…. so perfect, and yet the description of her seems to be such a hopelessly unattainable aspiration for women, and also an impossible expectation for men to seek and find such a wife.  Nonetheless, let’s note, in overview fashion, some of the characteristics and habits of the wife whose value is “far above jewels.”

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Has American Religion Lost Its Faith?

For the most part, the answer is “Yes.”  Here’s why….

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Instrumental Music in Worship?  What’s the Real Issue?

Instrumental music (“i.m.” afterwards) has been a part of mainline denominational worship for only a little over 100 years.  So?  History tells us that i.m. was not part of Christian worship from its inception for about the next 1900 years.  “Why not- what changed?” thus becomes the appropriate question.  Let’s see if we can provide a clear answer…

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Not Being Ashamed

We’ve likely all heard or said, “There’s no shame in …”  Shame can be a good- though perhaps temporarily painful, and helpful motivation (cf. 2Corinthians 7:8-13).  But if taken to extremes, it can also be devastating and debilitating (cf. 2Corinthians 2:6-8).  These negative consequences of shame have led to some seeking to eliminate it altogether. But this also eliminates the potential benefits of shame.  However, if we’re not careful, there are a few things of which we can become ashamed that we shouldn’t…

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