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Branded

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mk 10:38; cf. v39-40, Lk 12:50)

The baptism that Jesus was referring to here is not water baptism, but the baptism of trials and suffering. When I was young and an unbeliever, I used to wonder, “Why are good kids bullied in school? If the problem is not with them, why are they ostracized for being good?” It took me a while to realize that such kids—coming from good, loving, and often privileged homes, who are meek, good-tempered, and usually bright—are frequently the target of bullies because of jealousy. This is often inexplicable, but the human psyche is not easy to understand. Is it better then for them to renounce their good nature or privilege just to avoid the bullying? Of course not.

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Tradition vs. Devotion

People around the world like festivals. To make festivals fun and memorable, especially for children, holidays are filled with many man-made traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus, reindeer, the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat, etc. People, especially children, like Christmas as it’s a time when they give and receive presents. Can we celebrate these commonly regarded as religious, yet non-biblical holidays? Should Christian parents allow their children to participate in traditional activities that are associated with those “religious” holidays? These are questions that we, particularly parents with children, may struggle with.

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Gideon: Mighty One of Valor

And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12)

Gideon is perhaps one of the most misunderstood or questionable characters in the Bible. He was of a quiet and timid character (Judges 6:15, 27), and at times displayed reluctance or even doubt of God’s abidance with Israel (Judges 6:13). He was definitely not a perfect man, but one thing is sure because God had this to say about him before any feat of courage or action of strength: you mighty man of valor (Judges 6:12, 14)!

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Handle Anger Properly

“‘Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” (Eph 4:26-27)

Anger is our normal emotional response to a perceived threat, hurt, wrongful doing, or injustice. Anger isn’t always bad, but it must be handled appropriately. Why is it important to handle anger properly? If expressed thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. If we nurse our anger, we will give Satan a foothold which can divide us.

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God’s Heart Crushed?

“The word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel to priest…and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.” (Ezekiel 1:3)

Ezekiel was already in captivity. He was among those first captives who were deported, those who were cast out of the promised land. Then why, oh why did God still send the word of God through Ezekiel since He was unhappy with them?

It is only when we connect this question with Ezekiel 6:9 that we get the answer: “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations.” Continue reading