June 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

Elisabeth Elliot put it this way, “The love life of a Christian is a crucial battleground. There, if nowhere else, it will be determined as to who is lord: the world, the self and the devil, or the Lord Christ.” (1)

Elisabeth returned to the United States with her young daughter in 1963. She became a well-known author and speaker. One of her focus topics was sexual purity. She wrote a book entitled, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control. She wrote from the perspective of an earlier era when moral standards were clear and more biblically consistent.  But she relates to those of the current culture as well. She presents God’s timeless standards of purity without hesitation or...

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June 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

Do you ever talk to yourself? Most of us do. Pro golfer, Tiger Woods, talks to himself while walking the fairway of a golf course. He coaches himself about the next shot he wants to hit. Self-talk is beneficial. It helps to hear yourself speak out loud (or in your head) what you are seeing, thinking, or feeling. It is a key part of emotional intelligence. Self-talk can lead to better practices and outcomes.

Would you be surprised to learn that self-talk is mentioned in numerous passages in the Bible? Yes, the practice of consulting with yourself or speaking to your soul is prevalent in scripture. Consider these few examples:

  1. Nehemiah 5:7-Nehemiah is angry when he hears of the usury and oppression of the poor by fellow Jews but before ...
  2. ...

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June 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

Most of you are familiar with weight loss and goal weights. So am I. It seems like I’ve been on some form of weight control since I’ve been in my forties. Elsie coined a phrase that has helped me. She calls her upper limit her “screech mark,” as in putting on the brakes with the accompanying screech sound of a hard stop. A screech mark is a boundary. It tells me that I have set a boundary on how much weight I will permit myself to weigh. If I hit the screech mark I’ve got to put on the brakes and get back to sensible eating and exercise.

Screech marks can keep us from being mastered by a substance or behavior. First Corinthians 6:12 says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. ...

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June 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

She died at 32 years of age. She was one of the great singing voices of the 20th Century. Who was she? She was Karen Carpenter who, together with her brother, Richard, formed the hit singing group, The Carpenters. Karen literally starved herself to death at age 32 (1950-1983). The official cause of death was listed as heart attack brought on by anorexia nervosa, a condition few knew or understood in the 1970s. Why did she starve herself? In high school someone called her “fatty." Karen couldn't get that voice out of her head and it drove her to dieting. Her weight dropped from 145 to120 lbs. but then she kept losing weight. Food was the enemy. At the time of her death she weighed less than 90 lbs. Karen Carpenter starved...

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May 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

Elisabeth Howard and Jim Elliot were married on October 8, 1953 in Quito, Ecuador. They were missionaries to the Quichua Indian people. Their daughter Valerie was born in 1955. In October of 1955 Jim and Elisabeth along with four other missionary couples,  Nate and Marj Saint, Roger and Barbara Youderian, Ed and Marilou McCully, and Pete and Olive Fleming began an outreach ministry, “Operation Auca,” to the remote and primitive tribes of Auca Indians. Although missionary efforts had made inroads with several people groups in Ecuador, the Aucas remained a group of  tribes that had consistently repelled advances made by the white man. The Aucas were savage and dangerous. Yet, these missionaries were called and committed ...

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May 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

God delights in humility. Why? Because humility reflects a soft, tender heart that is willing to submit, is aware of the needs of others, and is teachable. It is modest and does not exalt self. Humility is difficult for us. Pride is our default setting. Humility, however, is the opposite of pride. Pride presents as a stiff-neck and a hard heart that will not bend the knee toward one in authority. Pride says, “I can do this myself without anyone else’s help. I know what to do so why should I ask God or anyone else for help.” Humility runs to the cross to confess sins and receive forgiveness and cleansing. Pride defends sin and refuses to acknowledge it much less confess it.

In his letter to the scattered church, Peter ...

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May 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

Having been a pastor for over 30 years, I have had to do my fair share of confronting sinning brothers and sisters. Some confrontations have been humbly received and restorative. Others have been met with anger, defensiveness, denial, and blame-shifting. I have discovered that my role in confrontation is to “speak the truth in love.” I can’t predict how the other person will respond nor can I control their emotions. I keep in mind that this is a person for whom Christ died and shed His blood. He or she is not the enemy but is a brother or sister in Christ. Also, I’m not here to win an argument; I’m here to win back a sinner.

What’s the biblical basis for confronting sinners? Probably the most widely used...

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May 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

As counselors, Elsie and I encounter our fair share of angry people in our practice. In order to learn best practice strategies for how to deal with angry people, we have taken seminars on anger management. One of the seminars we took is called, “What’s Good about Anger?” It frames anger in a positive light as a powerful motivation for good.  We learned a lot of practical skills to use with our angry clients to help them manage their anger positively instead of destructively. Here are seven biblical strategies we use to help our clients who struggle with anger. We teach them to:
  1. Speak softly and gently..
The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools....

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April 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

The Last Supper eaten by Jesus and His disciples the night before He went to the cross was the Passover meal (Pesach in Hebrew) in remembrance of the night Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. It is one of the most sacred and widely observed Jewish holidays. The Jews were instructed to mark the top and sides of their doorposts with the blood of an unblemished sacrifice lamb. When the death angel saw the blood, he passed over that house and did not kill the first born child in the house. First born animals were also protected by the blood. Death of the first born throughout the land of Egypt was the tenth and final plague sent by God against Pharaoh and Egypt. As a result of this plague, Pharaoh finally permitted the Hebrew slaves to leave...

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April 1, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

Laura Woolf Houle
Guest Columnist

I was recently listening to a devotional about Jonah and his unenthusiastic, reluctant mission to warn the city of Nineveh of pending damnation if they did not repent and turn their hearts back to God.  Growing up in a Christian home and going to church and Sunday school each week, I had heard this story dozens of times.  I’ve always thought, “Wow!  Nineveh must have been a horrible place, filled with awful, devious, sinful, wretched people who probably deserved what they had coming to them.”

As I listened to the devotional this past time, it struck me like a 2 X 4.  America is Nineveh!  The things they did are probably comparable to the things we are ...

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