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To Fear or Not to Fear

How do you harmonize the wonderful "fear nots" in the Bible (Gen. 15:1; Is. 41:10; Heb. 13:6) with the repeated admonition to "fear the Lord" (Deut. 6:3; Acts 9:31; Col. 3:22)? Did you ever think about that? How can we fear God while He drives out our fear? The answer is found in a proper understanding of the fear of the Lord. The English word "fear" is rarely seen as so...

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Making a Difference in Your Local Church

How can you make a difference in your church? I once asked an ordinary church member (if there is such a person...) this question. His reaction surprised and troubled me. This young man stated that he didn't think he was in any position to make a difference in his local church. When I asked him why, he answered: "I am not in a position of influence." It is not that I disa...

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Relationship and Rules

God made us and redeemed us. He knows how the Christian life functions best. We should therefore not be surprised that the Bible tells us how we should live. When you read Scripture carefully however, you discover that God's statutes don't exist in a vacuum. They are imbedded in God's gracious redemption. He first establishes the relationship, then He gives the rules. Wh...

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Everything Under Control

Does your life ever feel like a runaway train? Are you disillusioned and afraid when you think about the state of affairs in the nation? What about some of your other anxieties and concerns? Do you worry about your health, job security, church or (grand)children? Are you tempted to think that your problems are too big to solve and your troubles too complex to untangle? If...

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Nurturing Your Marriage

Every living organism on earth requires food to survive. This is most obviously true for the human body. If the body doesn't receive the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong, it will become weak and eventually the person will die. We don't tend to think in this organic way about our marriages, but we should. Marriage is not self-sustaining. There is no internal m...

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Ten Tools for Your Prayer Toolbox

Prayer is an amazing privilege. To think that Almighty God pays attention to our words is hard to believe, but true. And yet I find that many Christians struggle to pray. I certainly do. I am easily distracted and repetitive in what I say. And If I don't watch out, my prayers are quickly reduced to reading items on a shopping list instead of a genuine, heart to heart conve...

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Signs of Spiritual Growth

You will find the pencil marks on pantry door frames or kitchen walls in many houses. Measuring your children's height is fun, encouraging and shocking at the same time. Wow, you've grown that much?! Over time these height marks turn into little treasures. Some parents even refuse to paint over them. We mark growth because we expect growth. It is part of a child's normal ...

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About Movies

A friend asked me a question yesterday. He wanted to know my thoughts on a new movie that is coming out, Beauty and the Beast, a remake of the 1991 Disney Classic. According to its director, the movie will break ground as Disney features an openly gay character. The movie also includes a "nice, exclusively gay moment". Did I think this was a movie Christians could watch or...

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A Gratitude Boost

The most recent World Happiness Report ranked The Netherlands in sixth place of happiest countries in the world, trailing Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland. Being Dutch myself, I chuckled at these statistics because the Dutch are notorious complainers. Tourists often mention how friendly we are. Yes, ask the Dutch for directions and nine out of ten times ...

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Dreams and Unintentional Sin

Experts tell us that we dream at least two hours every night. Most of us don't recall the mental escapades the next day. But when we do, we usually dismiss them quickly. But how should we think about a dream in which we sin? The content of these dreams can startle, even shock us. Would God want us to view these actions as real sin? It is a good question. Are we answerable...

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