BACK TO GENESIS

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we return to our study of the first book of the Bible—Genesis. We first started our expositional trek through what I have entitled “The Book of Beginnings” back in February of 2015. We made it as far as half of Gen. 14 in October of that year, before my fractured jaw brought us to a screeching halt. Two surgeries and medical leaves later we can finally get back to this strategic, foundational book of the Bible. I am excited for us to arrive at this point for several reasons. One, it means I have recovered sufficiently to climb back ...

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FIGHTING ANGER WITH PRAYER

Martin Luther's Petitions in Light of the Sixth Commandment "You shall not murder." That's the sixth of the Ten Commandments. No one questions the literal meaning. Apart from certain exceptions--as in the state's legitimate authority to punish evil (Rom. 13:1-7)--it is unlawful to take human life made in the image of God (Gen. 9:5-6). Jesus drilled down even further with this commandment. He expounded on it at a heart level in Matt. 5:21-26. Unjust anger constitutes a violation of the sixth commandment as well. And who doesn't struggle with that? The Bible ...

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HEADING OFF RELATIONAL DISASTERS

Six Marks of a Spirit of Magnanimity for Preventing Conflict One of my favorite Old Testament accounts with peacemaking implications is Gen. 13:1-18. It tells of Abram's largess in responding to Lot, his nephew, when a potential meltdown brewed on the south 40. Here are a number of principles we can learn from the way Abram intercepted a family rupture before it ever happened. First, taking initiative to diffuse tension. The conflict starts among the herdsmen. It doesn’t start with Lot and Abram, but their servants. It had to do with the tensions created by the ...

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GUARDING ONENESS

How to Deal with the Killer of Unity in Any Relationship My mentor and friend surprised me the other day. I asked if he could recommend a go-to resource on marriage. I figured he would point to any number of more recent publications by major evangelical authors. Not so. He suggested Larry Crabb's 1991 publication Men & Women: Enjoying the Difference (Zondervan). It just so happens I have a copy in my library. I read it years ago. Never hurts to take another look, so I pulled it off the shelf and began reading again. It took only twenty-eight pages before these ...

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OUR BEST & NOTHING LESS

Pursuing Excellence as Peacemakers for 2017 in the Church God’s word tells us many things we must do for Jesus in light of who we are in Jesus. A select list of responsibilities, however, are subject to a be-the-best-we-can-be, give-our-all, go-all-out kind of excellence in obeying them. One of those responsibilities in particular for every church-going follower of Jesus gets a lot of Bible press. I’m talking about peacemaking. The Scriptures make this very clear in numerous places. Perhaps Ephesians 4:1-6 says it most thoroughly among them. I therefore, a ...

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A PEACEMAKING WIFE

How Nancy Excelled at Safeguarding Oneness in Our Marriage Today would have marked our 42nd wedding anniversary. Ever since Nan went home to Jesus last May 31, I've wondered how this final major historical marker would unfold for me. As I paged through our wedding album this morning, tears fell again. I have so many great memories of life with the wife my youth. We enjoyed uncommon oneness by and large throughout the years. In this personal post, I want to pay tribute to Nan the peacemaker. She took Eph. 4:1-3 seriously in the church and in our marriage. She ...

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BARS, CHAINS, & BIRTHDAYS

More Reflections Along the Jaw Rebuilding Road Last Tuesday took me to yet another doctor appointment in Miami. Never have I looked forward to the 500 mile, day-long marathon trip as I did for this particular visit. Time to remove the Erector Set pile of metal bars and chains holding my reconstructed jaw shut for the last 21 days. What a war! Two surgical residents. Pliers. Wire cutters. Suction. It started easy enough. But before long the yanking, twisting, pulling, and tugging increased. I stiffened in the chair like a 2x6 piece of red fir. My kingdom for some ...

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SAVORING THE BETTER FOOD

When Fighting To Consume Enough Calories Teaches a Spiritual Lesson Day 20. Operation RoboJaw 2 is nearly three weeks in my rear view mirror. Lord willing, tomorrow in Miami, the wires come off this jaw! The Lord has taught me so many things through this latest trial. One particularly important lesson came soon after surgery. I visited my PCP for a post-op follow up. He took one look at my weight and read me the riot act. "You've lost nine pounds in a week. You have to eat more!" Easy for him to say. But I did and have. The scale stabilized right around 170 lbs. I ...

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SUPERIOR SATISFYING TASTE

Experiencing a Taste Better Than 10,000 Kinds of Food Yesterday in Miami Dr. Marx examined the scan of my jaw now two weeks post Operation Robojaw Two. "Everything looks great," he pronounced. And then, turning back to look me in the eye, added, "Only one more week to go." My heart sank. I had nursed a slim home he might release the Miami Vice Grip inside my mouth a week early. Not a chance. "The bone graft is about the consistency of cardboard," he explained. "Still needs to harden some." Doc knows best. I kept my mouth shut. What else could I do anyway? Honest...

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THE TRIPLE FENCE

An Extraordinary Benefit To Having My Jaw Wired Shut One week down. Two to go. Robojaw 2 left me Meatless in Miami--a major upside to the whole jaw-wired-shut deal recorded in that post. Today another half-glass-full look at things from Revheff Smoothie Town. It came to me during my morning reading in the Scriptures. Psalm 141:3 stopped me cold: Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! King David prays. His sense of urgency in approaching I AM is palpable in the first two verses. Need drives him. Concern grips him. Several items ...

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