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We Can’t Buy God Off

A man came to me years ago distressed over his marriage. He had been unfaithful to his wife and she had discovered it. They were trying to put their marriage back together again and I was helping them. At the close of our initial conversation he told me that he had just bought his wife an expensive diamond ring for Christmas. And he wondered if he should give it to he...

One Thing Different

I once talked with a young man who had fought a serious alcohol problem in his life for years. He had at one point almost ruined his own life and the lives of the members of his family. As we talked the thought struck me, “If you removed just one thing from that boy’s life—alcohol—his life would have been entirely different.” When I share...

Who Got the Better Deal?

In 1986 Desmond Tutu, an anti-apartheid and social rights activist and Anglican bishop, recounted the story of the whites coming to South Africa. “When they came,” the bishop said, “the blacks had the land and the whites had the Bible.” Then, he said, the whites wanted to teach the blacks to pray. “So we bowed our heads and closed our eye...

America, the Finest

Karl F. Schmiedeke, during a visit to Pineville, North Carolina, stopped at the post office for stamps. “May I please have some pretty ones?” he asked. The clerk reached into the drawer, took out 10 stamps imprinted with the American flag, and slid them across the counter. “You can’t get any prettier than that,” he replied. If the astrona...

Despairing of Life

Some time ago a man just dropped in my office who obviously was despairing of life. It did not take long for me to know that he had virtually come to the end of his rope. He had no meaning, no purpose in existence. I had just been teaching to our church the Roman road of salvation and I decided that I would use that plan of salvation on him. I took that little book of...

Seeing Eye to Eye

I have a preacher friend who tells this story and I’m not sure that it’s true, but it is a good story and preachers don’t always tell the truth when they have a point they want to make. He said that there was a lady in his church who seemed to oppose him on every issue. It didn’t matter what he said, it didn’t matter what he presented to...

Junky Thinking

Jesse Jackson said some time ago that we sometimes allow our children to “eat junk and to watch junk and listen to junk and to play with junk and to talk junk, and then we wonder why they grow up to be social junkies.” To that I would add that we sometimes allow ourselves as well as our children to think junk. If we are continually focusing on junk in ever...

What to Say to a Lost Wor...

Henry David Thoreau once sat at Walden Pond watching a lineman string wires down the railroad. “What are you doing?” he inquired. The lineman replied, “We are building a telegraph system so the people of Maine can talk to the people of Texas.” Thoreau commented, “What if the people of Maine have nothing to say to the people in Texas or Te...

Rebellion Against God

A friend met another friend after many years of not seeing him. And she was surprised to learn he had left the pulpit to become a medical doctor. When she asked him about this he explained his actions in this way: “I have learned that people will pay more money for the care of their bodies than they will for the care of their souls.” Some time elapsed and...

Today's Devotional

Applied Christianity

I once talked with a man who was convinced that Christianity was a failure. His conclusion was based on the fact that while our cities are full of churches and preachers, our world is getting worse and worse.

If you think about this criticism, you must agree that there is much religion in America that has little effect on the daily lives of people. While the number of church members may grow each year, so does lawlessness and immorality. But does this mean that Christianity is a failure? No. At the close of World War I a soap manufacturer, walking down the street with his pastor, was bemoaning the “failure” of Christianity. He said to his pastor, “After 19 centuries of preaching and teaching Christ, there is still so much evil in the world. I don’t see how you can go on preaching the Gospel.” 

“I don’t see how you can go on manufacturing soap,” retorted the pastor. “Look at the little urchin playing in the gutter. Neck and ears filthy. There’s still so much dirt in the world. Soap is such a failure.”

“But,” countered the soap manufacturer, “If people will just apply the soap, they’ll be clean.”

“Yes,” concluded the pastor, “and if men will but apply Christ to their daily living, they will also be clean.” 

The evil of today’s world is not due to Christianity’s failure, but to our failure to apply our Christianity. As writer G.K. Chesterton said, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and not tried."

Attend church Sunday, listen to God’s word, then apply it to your daily life and you and the world will both be better because of it.

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