Faith is at the core of our belief in the Son of God. It is something we all strive for and struggle with, depending on what happens in our lives. When things are going well, it’s easy to have faith, but so much harder when tragedy strikes.
If you search the New International Version (NIV) for “Faith” you will find it in 458 verses. In the English Standard Version (ESV), you will see 475 results. And, the New King James Version (NKJV), you’ll have 391 results. You can search any translation on Bible Gateway to see how many times a word appears and each search will reveal a list of verses to explore.
Editor’s Note: Being a parent is a daunting responsibility. How do parents know when they’re getting it “right” with their children? Is it possible for parents to know the right way to discipline their children in each situation? Andy and Sandra Stanley believe it is. In today’s post, Andy talks about how they discovered and practiced the key to effective discipline in their household, taken from their new bookParenting: Getting It Right.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it — Proverbs 22:6
One of Sandra’s most brilliant moments of parenting came when the boys were eight and ten years old. She and I went out for the evening, and our longtime babysitter Pam looked after the kids.
When we walked through the door at the end of the night, we followed the usual script, asking her, “How’d it go? Was everyone well behaved?” Typically, Pam cheerfully reported that everything had been great. This time, however, she said, “Well, the boys …” She was reluctant to fill in the details of their misdeeds but eventually did. And it wasn’t good. They had been extremely disrespectful to her. Continue reading →
Why isn’t righteous anger ever listed among the things that a Spirit-filled life will bring us? If it’s righteous, why is it not akin to the “fruit of the Spirit,” like love, joy, peace, and gentleness? Why is anger in Scripture so consistently lumped in the other lists with things like, say, slander and malice, with no exclusions for the “righteous” variety? (See, for example, Colossians 3:8).
We aren’t to just pretend anger away or feel guilty for the initial emotion of anger. But we are to deal with it, with the goal of eradicating it within us. This, of course, is not easy to do, but it’s not complex to understand, either.
Few ever present the radical implications of what it means to die to ourselves and what it means to practice a lifestyle of forgiveness. “Stepping out of anger,” Dallas Willard says, “means you are surrendering your will to God. It means you have accepted that you don’t have to have your way.” When I’ve read commentaries on Ephesians 4:31, where Paul says to get rid of bitterness, anger, evil speaking, and so on, the commenter very often inserts the word unreasonable before anger. But that’s not in the text, and the commenter doesn’t extend the “unreasonable” standard to anything else on the list. (What about “unreasonable bitterness”?)
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. —Albert Pike
A while back, I bumped into an older lady who recognized me as the pastor of Life.Church. She explained that she was a member of another church in town. Although I didn’t know her pastor well, I said that I’d heard a lot of great things about him. She responded, “Wow! I can’t believe you’re speaking well of the competition.” Shocked, I explained that in no way did I view her church as a competitor. She shot back, “Well, your church is definitely our competition. We’re fighting to make sure we get as many members as we can before you and other churches get them all.”
God’s heart must break over that kind of attitude. Jesus said in Luke 11:17, “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” Seventeenth-century Puritan minister Richard Baxter echoed Jesus’ sentiment when he lamented, “Is it not enough that all the world is against us, but we must also be against one another? O happy days of persecution, which drove us together in love, whom the sunshine of liberty and prosperity crumbles into dust by our contentions!”
A few days before the end of 2019, my wife Latoya came to Boston to celebrate New Year’s. She still had to finish her dental residency in Birmingham, forcing us, for the moment, to live apart. The moment she walked through the door, her presence made the utilitarian apartment feel like a home. One night, as she got ready for a hospital holiday party, I listened from another room as her voice bounced along with Stevie Wonder’s silky falsetto.
“Isn’t she lovely,” I crooned when she emerged, looking radiant in a black dress.
“Not so bad yourself. Grab your sports coat,” she said. “I hung it for you.”
In our bedroom, something on the bed caught my eye. A blue onesie had been placed on top of the pillows. Below it sat two tiny booties, one pink, one blue. I picked up the onesie and read the lettering on the front: Daddy of two.
“I want to believe God cares about me; I really do,” she told me, wiping tears from under her darkened, bloodshot eyes. Under the harsh fluorescent lights of the hospital corridor, Marci barely resembled the vibrant girl I remembered, that kid I’d watched grow up in our youth group at church.
When she was a teenager, Marci was outgoing, fun-loving, and full of life, even as she was growing more and more serious about her faith, coming early to youth group and staying late. No one loved to worship and talk about God more than Marci.
Then, in her early 20s, Marci met Mark, a great Christian guy with a charismatic personality. They fell in love practically overnight, marrying almost a year to the day after they met. Mark’s dynamic personality served him well, helping him land a great sales job. Before long, he was making more money than most other professionals his age. They bought their dream home, and as Mark and Marci served God together at our church, they just knew life couldn’t get any better. Continue reading →
As each year comes to a close, we publish our year in review and take the opportunity to pause and reflect on the ups and downs we’ve experienced, what we have learned and how we have grown. As you can imagine, for Bible Gateway, we care most about helping you to learn more about the Bible and hope that you continue to grow in your faith and knowledge of the Bible.
I leaped out of bed when the alarm signaled it was time to wake up and hit the pavement. Ten minutes later, I was outside pressing “start running” on my fitness app and putting in my earbuds to listen to a worship music playlist. I was excited to run because the cool, crisp mornings between winter and spring are my favorite time of year.
I made it home just in time to give my seven-and ten-year-old sons sweaty hugs and my husband a sweaty kiss before they left for the day. Then I started my post-run routine of showering, stretching, making a pot of tea, and having some quiet time with the Lord. I was looking forward to my Bible study time because the cancelation of many of my speaking engagements allowed me to study for the fun of it without the pressure of preparing to give a message.
The Abridged edition of the Expositor’s Bible Commentary is based on the original 12-volume set used by pastors, students and scholars around the world. While it’s broken down into two volumes (Old Testament and New Testament), it offers the key verse-by-verse commentary that leaves out technical jargon, allowing you to gain insight into your Bible study.