Not According To Your Expectations

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I wonder what went through John’s mind as he sat in prison. He’d answered the call of the Lord in the wilderness, proclaiming the kingdom of God and baptizing the repentant (Luke 3:1-22). He’d prepared the way for the Messiah, introducing the Christ at the beginning of Jesus’s earthly ministry (John 1:29-36). He’d faithfully stood for righteousness in the face of Herod’s immorality (Matthew 14:4). And yet he found himself imprisoned. The crowds he once taught left him to follow Jesus (John 3:26). While John found joy in humbly playing his role in the bridegroom’s story (John 3:27-30), he seems to have struggled with doubt while in prison, for he sent some of his followers to Jesus to ask an important question.

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Never for a Moment Apart

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“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20

Presence.

Presence can make the act of sitting through a terrifying movie more bearable. Presence can make a nervous child more courageous. Presence can strengthen and encourage in powerful ways.

Presence can also cause a tempted eye to avoid the glance. Presence can make a child who’s considering disobedience choose to obey. Presence can remind and convict in powerful ways.

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On Growth in Spiritual Maturity

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A friend of mine recently asked me how we ought to address the issue of spiritual immaturity among young believers. He noticed that many our age have shallow understandings of theology and possess little maturity in the things of God, and he wondered how we can help people to grow when adolescence appears to have such a firm hold on our generation. His question grows more pressing when I consider my own heart and find the same tendencies and deficiencies in myself. So how do we grow in godliness? How do we ourselves grow more mature in the faith and more biblically and theologically grounded? And how do we lead others to follow our example? Below are a few thoughts that I pray will help us along that road.

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Comparison

I wonder if comparison is a nicer-sounding expression for envy. When I read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, I can quickly pass over verse 17 under the assumption that I don’t have any problems with desires for the wealth or the family of my neighbors. In fact, I tend to read this verse with specifics in mind, comforting myself that I don’t desire my friend’s Xbox or his car or whatever else he may have. I tell myself envy isn’t an issue for me. But then I begin to compare.

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Christmas and Idolatry

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Last week, I wrote that the word of God discerns in us what we fail to discern ourselves, and I tried to show how this cutting work serves to draw us nearer to God. But what do we do when God reveals idolatry in our hearts? How should we respond when God highlights some object or dream or comfort or person and reveals to us our unhealthy attachment? The answer, I think, lies in how we understand gifts. Continue reading