Yesterday the Thief came close to killing someone I love

Yesterday the Thief came close to killing someone I love, and he may have succeeded, for now, in destroying a lot of hard-won progress.

I pray it will be seen as a loving Father’s firm discipline that guides us toward the Better Life he offers us. Jesus paid a high price so we can have an abundant life. We are preoccupied with riches, when abundance is a matter of a rich life, peace with God, joy in difficult circumstances, and a mission that gives meaning and purpose to our lives.

The door to the Better Life opens when we admit we can’t get it and hold it on our own. It begins when we accept it as a gift Jesus has paid for already. If we stubbornly refuse to recognize God for who he is, if we insist on doing things our way instead of his, he will exercise discipline to show us his way. When we refuse to acknowledge him for who he is, the devourers wipe out our harvests. When we don’t give thanks to God for the simple gifts of life and breath, God steps back, lets us have our own way, and we discover just how painful life can be without his protection.

If you keep getting knocked down every time you get up, I beg you: Humble yourself before God and ask him to show you his way forward. He loves you more than can ever imagine and is simply waiting for you to realize how much you need him — and to reach out to him for help. Please, give up on stubbornness and let him rescue you and give you a new life.

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Justice or new birth, but not both

I’m ever more convinced that, a century ago, one stream of American Christianity dropped new birth to focus on justice, while another stream decided new birth had nothing to do with justice.

Now we find ourselves in a mess where neither one can actually help a society that needs both new birth and justice.

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