The minor prophet Obadiah gives Christians today a glimpse into the past, into God’s character and His promises, and into His work in the future. Read it today!
Last spring, I decided to explore uncommon territory in my Sunday School class. I asked the members how many had read Nahum or Obadiah. A few hands went up, only because they had been on thru-the-bible-in-a-year programs. I then asked who knew what either of them was about. Not a hand was in sight.
I quickly realized that we would have to do a lot of back work to understand either book, so the next few Sundays we covered empires in the ancient near east, including Sumeria, Egypt, the Hyksos, the Hittites, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, and Greece. Fortunately, I read and discuss history for fun and watch historical documentaries for entertainment, so it was no work. Then when studied Jonah, which occurred about a century before Nahum.
Obadiah is one of the neglected books in the Bible, nestled among the minor prophets of the Old Testament between Amos the Shepherd and Jonah the Reluctant Prophet. Only one chapter long, a distinction that it shares with Philemon, 2 & 3 John and Jude, Obadiah reveals the judgment of God on Edom, the descendants of Esau. Measured by how often books are read on Bible Gateway, Obadiah is the least popular book in the Bible, surpassing even Nahum in its obscurity.
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Modern society believes that “isms” are the greatest ills in society, and that destroying existing power brokers and structures is the only way to alleviate them. We are sadly mistaken, and our people will pay a terrible price for this delusion. Father forgive us, for we do not know what we are doing.
A football coach loses his job after reading a comment aloud to his team, written by a player, that someone considers racially insensitive. A seminarian’s career collapses after a woman complains that he made her feel “uncomfortable.” A bakery owned by Christians is nearly driven out of business by a nearby college after some students accuse the proprietors of racism. Four border patrol agents on horseback, using reins to control their steeds, are punished after President Biden promised punishment, despite being cleared of whipping Haitian immigrants. The esteemed Martin Luther King Jr. said that there were three evils in the world, racism, poverty, and war. Sixty years later, “isms,” whether racism, sexism, or something else, are seen as the greatest evils in America. Some would say that America is the greatest evil in the world.
Continue reading “Beyond isms”
How to take care of and recover from a common but sometimes vexing finger injury.
Mallet finger usually results from forced flexion of the distal (most distant) part of the finger (distal phalanx – DP) during active extension of the DP. The condition is caused by a rupture of the extensor tendon (on the back of the finger) that crosses the distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ) from the proximal phalanx (PP) to the DP. Part of the bone may also be avulsed (pulled away). Mallet finger is the most common closed tendon injury in athletes. Often, patients explain that a ball hit their partially flexed fingertip. Patients complain of pain, swelling, and an inability to fully extend their DP.
Continue reading “Mallet Finger – Diagnosis, Treatment, and Rehabilitation”
Genealogies and census data are some of the most skipped parts of the Bible. They are still important. Here’s why.
Every year my wife and I read through the Bible. Some sections fly by, such as the stories of Goliath, the fiery furnace, and the raising of Lazarus. Other parts crawl, like the sacrificial system in Leviticus. The slowest portions of all are the genealogies and the census data. “How?” we ask ourselves, “does knowing that Mikloth became the father of Shimeam, and that they lived with relatives in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 9:38) impact my life as a Christian?” Likewise, we struggle to care that “The priests, the sons of Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, (numbered) 973 (Nehemiah 7:39)?” Isn’t this a waste of space in a book that calls itself the word of the Almighty God?
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Posture includes the condition of our spirit and the position of our body. We will not have adequate power in prayer if we do not get our posture right.
The heart of Christianity is that God, not man (individually or corporately), is the center of existence. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and of all things. God contains within Himself all power, glory, knowledge, truth, goodness (righteousness, morality), and ultimately everything that is real inside and outside the created order. He is both near and far away. The One who made space and time is not bound by space and time. God does not hold Himself, and He is certainly not held by someone else, to a standard outside Himself. God is the standard.
The Illusion of Independence
Humans, vain and mortal creatures, yearn to be masters of our own world. We convince ourselves that we are. Our self-righteous protestations of personal power and independence sound funny to anyone with a modicum of insight:
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The story behind one of the most infamous crimes in history, and committed by one of the most virtuous men in history.
In the pantheon of world leaders, King David stands at the pinnacle of faithfulness, courage, and honor. Jews, Muslims, and Christians revere David as a warrior, a poet, a prophet, and a man after God’s own heart. God Himself honored King David uniquely among the kings of Israel.
Yet the Bible is clear that David was not a perfect man. In fact, his powerful character was marred by equally powerful iniquities. As recorded in the Bible, 2 Samuel 11, the New American Standard Version:
Continue reading “David and Bathsheba – the Inside Story”
Praising the Lord, acknowledging all that He is and does, is the best way to experience joy. How can we do it?
How many people that you know lack joy a lot of the time? What do they do about it? Some people eat. Others sleep. Many binge watch movies. Some drink or use drugs. What do you do when you lack joy? How does a lack of joy impact your confidence, your clarity of mind, your strength? Though it can be hard, the best thing that any of us can do when we lack joy is to praise the Lord.
The Joy of the Lord is my Strength is an old song derived from Nehemiah 8:10
The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
G D G
The joy of the Lord is my strength.
Psalm 100, and many other passages in Scripture, tell us that the key to joy is praise. Of course, believers don’t praise the Lord so that we can have joy. Instead, we praise God for who He is. We thank Him for what He has done for us. In acknowledging the magnificence of our Creator and Sustainer, in focusing on His truth, beauty, and righteousness, and in marinating our souls in His awesome love, we receive joy. As surely as the sun rises in the morning, honest praise with a clean heart will bring joy to all those involved. Over and over again, the Bible records God’s people praising Him. Psalm 100 provides a fine example.
How to Praise the Lord
Continue reading “How and Why to Praise the Lord (Psalm 100)”
How to reduce spending, save resources, and thrive financially in this time of rampant inflation
Inflation is higher than it has been in America since 1974. It is not merely a policy problem, but a major financial threat for every family in America, and most families throughout the world. Regardless of what one thinks about policy, we all need practical ways that we can fight inflation. Here are a few:
Continue reading “50 Ways to Beat Inflation”
The American economy is struggling. Inflation is worse than at any time in the past forty years and the stock market has lost a quarter of its value since January of 2022. Retirees, many on fixed incomes, have lost $3 trillion in the same time. Many are struggling just to get by. Necessities like food, fuel, clothing, shelter, and often health care, slip out of the fingers of millions of our countrymen.
Simultaneously, inflation is 9.1%, and the average interest on money in savings accounts is less than 1%. This means that in terms of purchasing power, savers are losing over 8% on their money. For example, one hundred dollars in a savings account now could rise to $101 one year hence, but would only be able to buy $93 worth of goods and services.
Continue reading “How to Decide How to Invest”
Nahum, an oft-overlooked minor prophet in the Old Testament, details God’s final judgment on the neo-Assyrian Empire and its leading city, Nineveh. The prophet Jonah, famous for his episode with a fish, had preached in Nineveh a century earlier and sparked a great repentance. In the intervening decades, the Assyrians returned to their wicked ways. Nahum, while showing none of the ethnic animus that so vexed Jonah, felt burdened by the sins of the Assyrians and the oppression of Israel. He asks the Lord what He will do about it, and God replies that His patience passed its limits, Nineveh would soon be destroyed.
Nahum chapter 1 overflows with the power of God, His wrath against evil, and His determination to punish the guilty. The Lord of Hosts reminds His prophet in a thousand ways about His strength to crush His foes and save those who trust in Him. The prophet concludes chapter 1 with the joys of bringing good news – being a herald of peace.
Continue reading “Nahum – The Four Fears”
How can man approach God? People from the Aztecs to the Zulus have asked this since the dawn of humanity, and man has imagined thousands of answers. These answers boil down to three possibilities.
- Man cannot do anything to approach God, and therefore can never approach Him.
- Man does something, or a group of things, to earn the right to approach God.
- Man cannot do anything to approach God, but God in His grace brings man to Him.
These possibilities are exclusive, as each includes a world view that is inconsistent with the others. It is logically impossible to select 1 and 3, for example, or some other combination.
Continue reading “In Christ Alone”
America has been a force for good, most of the time, for its history. If we don’t celebrate it, we will lose it. Tyranny encroaches.
For at least 70 years, America has been the preeminent diplomatic, informational, military, and economic power on earth. By and large, we have used our power for good. After World War II, we did not demand land, establish colonies, or institute an international economic system intended to make America richer. We opposed communism in all its forms, and tried to spread democracy, freedom, peace, and prosperity throughout the world. It is difficult to find another such example of benevolence in history. The British endeavored to improve the world as they understood it, but still accumulated colonies, acquired territories, and tilted the economic playing field in their favor. The Ottomans, the Mughals, the Mongols, the Arabs, the Romans, the Chinese, and other empire builders were not so munificent. The United States made mistakes, supporting dictators in an effort to stop communism, which we considered a greater evil. But internationally and overall, America has been a force for good.
Domestically, we have been equally idealistic. The reforms of the 1960s, from Johnson’s Great Society to the Civil Rights Act, have been attempts to right wrongs. The subsequent 60 years has been an attempt to right more wrongs, and correct problems in the fixes that we implemented earlier. America has been a force for good. And yet we take no joy in our successes. Instead, many Americans, especially younger ones, wish to hand more and more power to the government. They deny our victories and focus on our failures. They want socialism.
Continue reading “The Encroaching Tyranny”
How can companies attract, hire, and retain enough high-quality workers in the population-challenged future?
The future of HR is inexorably tied to the future of demography and technology in the United States and throughout the world. Cultural changes will also play an important role. These changes are overwhelming in their power and even in their novelty. Chief executives who wish for their companies to succeed will have to lead their companies and their communities through these daunting challenges. How can they do that?
Continue reading “How Companies Can Attract, Hire, and Retain Good Workers in a Population Challenged Future”