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    A New Perspective on Bathsheba by Grace Holik

    The popularity of Hallmark Christmas movies confirms–we love when those great love stories end "and they lived happily ever" but we loath when the story ends with breakups and broken hearts. That's why Hallmark movies never do. Authors and commentators seem torn between the idea of David and Bathsheba as an epic forbidden romance or a forced assault of power. I would argue for the latter. This isn't a love story between a sinister temptress who seduces a dashing king as they both consent to a riveting affair. Instead, this story demonstrates the misuse of power and deceit, as sexual lust takes precedence over the value of human life.   …

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    Repentance = Reparations: Time Does Not Heal All Sin

    Come back in time with me to first-century Jericho. Jesus has just entered the town, and there’s this short guy named Zach trying to see him through the crowd. Zach is a tax collector—and not just any tax collector. He’s the chief, and he’s rich. And he got that wealth via corruption.   Now imagine you’re one of the people this mob boss ripped off. It happened twenty years ago. And let’s assume that it went like this: you once owned property inherited from your parents. And they got it from their parents. Every good childhood memory you have rests on that precious property.   But one day Zach sent a…

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    Heartprints

    Nuggets of Truth in Narnia

    C. S. Lewis is truly a gifted writer. If you haven’t read his Chronicles of Narnia, it is never too late to dive into this world of talking animals, a wardrobe with a secret pathway into Narnia, and adventures that range from creation to the final judgment. Nestled in the context of the make-believe world of Narnia are many nuggets of God’s truth.One good example is found in the book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This is a story of danger and courage with great insights on the issue of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a difficult issue for everyone. It is hard for us to admit that we need it and may…

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    Organizations and Abuse: What You Can Do

    1.    Talk publicly about abuse. Many people know the “I hate divorce” line from Malachi 2:16, but far fewer know the rest of the sentence: “ ‘and him who covers himself and his garment with violence,’ says the LORD of Hosts.” Also, know that abuse involves more than domestic violence. There’s sexual abuse. And verbal abuse. Those enduring the latter often say the verbal injury is worse than physical blows. So talk about verbal abuse, as well. The Bible is full of verses about our speech, but often preachers talk as if gossip is the only sin of the tongue. So publicly condemn abusive speech, physical violence, and sexual violence. Tell victims…

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    Abuse: Rise Up, Church!

    Today I have a guest writer whose story you need to hear:  ^ I'm not even sure if the Hebrew is correct. But it doesn't matter. It means something to me. This is where girls would have scars from cutting themselves in attempts to escape the pain of abuse. But by the grace of God, and by His grace alone, my wrist doesn't have cuts. It says “Daughter of the King.” There have been a few accounts and testimonies of abuse circling around social media lately, including the Larry Nassar case and sexual assault on campus in my hometown. And I want to help raise awareness for the sake of many victims…

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    DOMESTIC ABUSE AND THE CHURCH: 7 Ways to Help

    Kathryn* was a close friend. We met at church and spent hours ministering together. But she seemed guarded whenever the subject of her marriage came up. My husband and I knew her husband; we attended church together. And we sometimes shared meals with them. He baked me a cake once when I miscarried—he could be so kind. But he also sometimes made lewd comments that made me wonder if he had a porn addiction. Eventually Kathryn confided that her husband often raged at her and spewed abusive speech, and that he had dragged her across the room by her hair. Another time, he barred the door to keep her from…

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    Offering the Gospel to This Generation

    Are high school students interested in the Gospel? They may not think they are, but underneath the outward façade when compelled to consider, the answer is YES!  After spending a week, as an adult guests, in the highly charged atmosphere of a Young Life camp in the mountains of Colorado – we saw firsthand the hard fought ground leaders had plowed for a year before bringing their group of kids to camp yield a positive response to the claims of Christ. Arriving on 7 different busses 450 high school students from 4 different states were saturated for a week in an atmosphere of fun, acceptance, laughter, being lead, music, lively…

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    Was Abigail Right to Go Behind Nabal’s Back?

    One morning after I had taught a women’s Bible study on the life of Abigail, wife of Nabal, a woman hustled over to me, elbows swinging. Seeing her body language, I braced myself.    Her argument about my teaching went something like this: “You're wrong! Abigail was most definitely not righteous. By taking matters into her own hands, she shows what happens when a wife steps out from under her husband’s ‘umbrella of authority.’ If Abigail had submitted to Nabal rather than intervening, David would have felt guilty for killing him, and it would have kept him from killing later." I’d heard this interpretation once before—from Bill Gothard, among others. So how do we…

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    Don’t Just Survive

    Today I'm happy to have as my guest Mary DeMuth, my dear friend who's an author and speaker. Her desire is to help people live “uncaged,” freedom-infused lives. She’s the author of fifteen books, including six novels, a memoir, and most recently The Wall Around Your Heart, from which today’s column is adapted. (It appeared in similar form at Crosswalk.com. I read the book and endorsed it.) After church planting in Southern France, Mary, her husband, and their three young adult kids now live in the ‘burbs of Dallas. To find out more about Mary, visit her  website, facebook, twitter, or wallaroundyourheart.com,  Some of us cope with relational pain by choosing to live in survivor…

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    God Hates Divorce—But He Did It!

    Often when we talk about a biblical view of divorce, we quote Malachi: “God hates divorce” (2:16). And it’s true. He does. But does that mean God hates the actions of anyone who initiates a legal divorce? God himself said he divorced Israel (Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3, and possibly Hosea). And of course God is God, so he can do whatever he pleases. Nevertheless, many wonder…if God hates divorce, did he hate his own actions? To answer this question, we need to look at the context of Malachi’s statement. God’s words, “I hate divorce,” follow an accusation against husbands who chose to do violence to their covenant marriages by divorcing…