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Who Is Your Redeemer?

December 15, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

The story of Ruth has one of the most heart-warming and fascinating endings of all the stories of the Bible. Ruth is married to Boaz and they have a son. But the story does not end by focusing on Ruth or Boaz or even the son; it concludes with attention on Naomi. You may recall that chapter 1 focused on Naomi and her devastating losses… in a foreign land, husband dies, sons marry foreign women, barrenness for ten years, then her sons die. One tragedy after another leaving Naomi to exclaim, “I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty… the Almighty has brought calamity upon me” (1:21).... Keep Reading

Providential Coincidences

December 8, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

The story of Ruth is well known for the beautiful displays of sacrifice, faithful devotion, and love. We see the healing of Naomi’s bitterness. We see the widow Ruth provided for by Boaz. We see godly strength in the man Boaz. And, of course, we see how God preserves a family line that will eventually produce the great king David and the even greater king Jesus Christ. As much as there are great story lines in Ruth to celebrate, this little Old Testament book is very frank about suffering. Life is hard. From natural disasters, to untimely deaths, to socio-economic struggles, to crises of faith, Naomi’s and Ruth’s lives are filled with hardships. Their lives are not too different from ours.... Keep Reading

The Significance of Advent

December 1, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

When John the Baptist was born, his father, Zechariah, after nine months of being mute, “was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied” (Lk. 1:67). Zechariah’s “Benedictus” (from the Latin “Blessed”) is filled with praise for a covenant-keeping God. He concludes his song of praise with predictive words for his own newborn son. He says, And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Lk. 1:76-79)... Keep Reading

Advent: A Time of Longing

November 24, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

My son’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day this year. For at least two months he has been asking, “How many more days until my birthday?” For a six year old about to be seven, a birthday is a momentous day. He looks forward to the gifts he’ll receive and the special ice cream cake prepared for his day. All that excitement and anticipation for a single day that comes once every year. Can you imagine waiting your entire lifetime for a single event? There would be great rejoicing when that moment finally arrives. But what if the event never comes in your lifetime? You are promised a great blessing, live every day longing for it, and then you die never having received it. If fact, the promise extends to your descendants, and generation after generation passes away looking for fulfillment but never receiving it. Some generations lose hope. Others are reinvigorated in deep longing. Can you imagine the excitement and rejoicing that comes when the day arrives?... Keep Reading

Living by God’s Calendar

November 17, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

What season is it? Depends, right? There are weather seasons (hence, Fall in the US; dry season in Cameroon). There are sporting seasons (baseball just ended; football is in full swing; college basketball is just getting going; what’s your flavor?). Perhaps this should be included under “sporting seasons,” but I’ll mention hunting seasons separately (I have friends out and about shooting deer right now). Holiday shopping season? End of the year fiscal season? The end of election season?... Keep Reading

Wisdom from Habakkuk

November 10, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

A couple of weeks ago I highlighted that Habakkuk 2:4 was one of the most important verses in the Bible, as it has impacted thousands of churches across the world. Paul quotes this verse, “The righteous shall live by faith,” in Romans 1:17. Paul’s use and application of Habakkuk 2:4 was one of the key verses that awoken in Martin Luther a renewed understanding of God’s grace in salvation, namely, justification by faith alone. Let’s return to Habakkuk and delve deeper into the wisdom this little known Old Testament prophet has for us today. Habakkuk wrote in the late 7th century BC (about 620-609 BC). The northern kingdom of Israel had fallen to Assyria 100 years earlier. The southern kingdom of Judah had been sinking deeper into idolatry, immorality, and other godless acts, although it experienced a brief, short-lived revival under king Josiah. Habakkuk starts by complaining to God about the evil surrounding him in his nation: “Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise” (1:3).... Keep Reading

Trusting God in the Wilderness

November 3, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Any marriage counselor will say that trust is essential for a successful marriage relationship. They will also say that trust must be earned or built through faithfulness and integrity. Similarly, trust is essential for our relationship with God. When life is riddled with trial and mystery, however, our trust in God is shaken. How do we grow in our trust in God? King David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). He penned some of the most important psalms that teach us about living by trust and hope in God. And yet, his life was marked by trials, some of his own doing (Bathsheba) and some by the hands of others (Saul seeking his life; Absalom seeking his life). How can any of us maintain and grow trust in God when life is so tumultuous? Let’s consider David’s example.... Keep Reading

What’s All the Fuss About Justification?

October 27, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Have you ever read the prophet Habakkuk? If you have, could you identify the time this prophet addressed and the theme of his message? Not many of us could without some sort of review or study Bible help. And yet, in this obscure writing prophet’s work we find one of the most important verses in all of Scripture: 2:4, “the righteous shall live by faith.” Paul quotes this verse twice, in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11, in his efforts to explain the gospel. It is Romans 1:17 that became the watershed verse for Martin Luther to rediscover the magnificent truth of justification by faith alone, and so launching a reformation of the church that impacts us even today. Paul writes in Romans 1:17, “In it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’” Luther, growing up in the Catholic church, understood the phrase “the righteousness of God” as meaning “the righteousness by which God Himself is righteous.” Therefore, Luther understood the gospel as revealing God in his holiness and the holy standards by which one must live. Luther came to “hate God” and feel oppressed by such standards.... Keep Reading

This is the ninth in a series of reflections on Jesus’ teaching about money and wealth in the Gospels. Randy Alcorn, writing in The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving, says, “15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic ... Keep Reading

This is the eighth in a series of reflections on Jesus’ teaching about money and wealth in the Gospels. Randy Alcorn, writing in The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving, says, “15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic ... Keep Reading

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