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Be On Guard So You Can Pounce on People!

On Guard and Ready to PounceMy wife pointed out to me a powerful post on the website of People of the Second Chance entitled I am the Vulture. And I am sometimes.

A few days ago, I wrote an article about preaching for SermonCentral and in the comments section, someone used the article as an opportunity to make some assumptions about me, and even about one of my mentors, without actually knowing either of us.

The world recently learned that the Duggar family is now expecting child number twenty. Awesome! Congratulations to this very loving family! But I’m a bit aghast at the number of people using public forums like Facebook to oppose this further family expansion as somehow irresponsible or immoral (as if its anyone else’s business to begin with).

And earlier, a headline grabbed my attention about an anti-gay Pastor arrested in New Orleans for… an indecent act near a children’s playground (don’t click if you’re sensitive about such things). It isn’t simply that another church leader fell morally. It’s that he had devoted many hours to publicly picketing on the streets and shouting at homosexual residents and tourists.

Three different stories with very different contexts all point out the same characteristic about our human nature. We’re ready to pounce. I’ve pounced before, only to feel regret that I had issued premature judgement toward someone. We’ve all gone into conversations with our guns drawn, ready to find a target to shoot down. We’re ready to pounce.

Now, listen to this verse…

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
~ 1 Peter 5:8 NLT

Here’s the big question we all need to face… if we are ready to pounce on people, are we more like Jesus?… or someone else? Seems like I remember being told a few times what assuming can do.

My real challenge is twofold.

  1. Be on guard against the right enemy.
  2. Drop your guard toward the innocent.

Chances are, if I’m making conclusions about someone without really knowing them or their situation, I’m already wrong even if I’m “right.”

Photo by Steve Jurvetson.

Snakes! Blind Leaders! How Terrible God’s Judgment Will Be For You!

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One of the best books in my entire library is A. T. Robertson’s Harmony of the Gospels (aff link). It was my constant guide through the Life of Christ class I took in college and I’ve gone back to it more than almost any other in the study of Christ’s life. It isn’t a detailed commentary – just a chronological arrangement of the gospels.

Robertson called studying the last few days of Jesus’ life being “in the shadow with Jesus.” And next to the passage from Matthew 23 when Jesus is engaged in a final showdown with the religious establishment of the day, I wrote down a single sentence uttered by my professor, Dr. Jesse Thomas…

The Jewish leaders were guilty of slamming shut the door of the kingdom…

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Did An Earthquake Happen Because God Was Mad?

This may sound like the question of a child, but it’s a question that is on the hearts of millions of adults. I don’t understand God’s ways – they are above mine, so I don’t presume to have all the answers. But thankfully Jesus once addressed a group of people who had a similar accusation, so I wanted to record my thoughts about this big question.

Here’s a YouTube Link to Did An Earthquake Happen Because God Was Mad?

Many are likely to disagree with me one way or another. Please feel free to do so in the comments, but I would ask that you remain particularly sensitive as so many have lost loved ones in this terrible disaster.

And while we’re at it, you must read Al Mohler’s post from last night, Does God Hate Haiti? as well as Brad Harmon’s post, Where Was God When Haiti Shook?

The Worst Thing That Can Happen to Anyone

What’s the worst thing that can happen to anyone? Ask most people, and the answer will have something to do with loss, illness, or death. Perhaps someone might answer that the worst thing would be for a person to die without a relationship with Christ and spend eternity in hell. Yes, but I actually think the answer is slightly more complex. Here’s my assertion:

The worst thing that can happen to anyone is to follow their own desire, refusing God’s intervention.

I know this may sound confusing, but think about it. Scripture teaches plainly (in Romans 3:10-23) that nobody naturally desires the things God would have in mind for us. We, instead, desire things that seem good to us at the time, but are really counterfeits for the best thing – an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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A Living Definition of Integrity

Like math? An integer is a whole number, right? Our word integrity comes from the same root as the word integer. Integrity is really the concept of being whole, of being one, or of being the same all the time. D. L. Moody said that character is who we are in the dark.

Integrity is the foundation for our relationships as well as our reputation. Much is at stake every time we make another moral choice. Do what is right and it will probably cost you. Do what is wrong and it will most likely cost you far more.

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