by Gary Millar
If you are like me, you probably find yourself more consistently confused or failing in prayer than in any other area in the Christian life. Why is that? Talking to the God who chose us, saved us, and sustains us should be the most natural and delightful thing in the world, shouldn’t it? Perhaps it should, but more often than not, it isn’t.
We all know we should pray more. The guilt within reminds us. But if we are honest, we neither want to pray more, nor are we really convinced we need to. Why? Perhaps we don’t really understand what prayer is — or we’re prone to forget.
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We know as Christians, on an intellectual level, that we have idols—be it family, food, football or whatever. But to see the allure of idolatry can be hard for those of us in the Western world.That’s why I appreciate the points laid out by Doug Stuart in his Exodus commentary (450-54). Stuart suggests nine reasons idolatry was attractive to the Israelites and in the cultures of the Ancient Near East.
1. It was guaranteed. If you do the right incantation, you get the right results. Just say the right words and the gods show up. Who wouldn’t want that?
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I was in an engineering class the first time I watched the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Even though I wasn’t alive when it happened, I caught a glimpse of the horror thousands must have felt as the events unfolded.
And, the first question everyone wanted to know was, “What happened?”
After months of investigation, here’s what the Rogers Commission (the group commissioned to investigate the explosion) discovered: an o-ring seal in the right solid rocket booster failed at take-off. I won’t bore you with the details, but an o-ring is a small device relative to the size of a space shuttle. Very small.
It wasn’t something huge, like a puncture in the rocket booster or a hole in the cabin, that caused this disaster. It was a small, seemingly insignificant, o-ring failure.
I think there’s a lesson here for the church. What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat to your joy and the church’s mission?
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Kelly Needham: Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, “Does it have to be this way? Can’t I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?”
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These articles have been posted to challenge, inform, encourage,