“Break their teeth, O God….” (October 2022 Update) 

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Over the last 9 months, the world has seen the horror of this invasion and they have seen the resilience of the Ukrainian people. As Ukraine has liberated many territories since the invasion, we have witnessed atrocities that mirror the horror of the Nazi regime. We have also seen the Ukrainian army continue to recover lands taken by Russia and liberate people who were terrorized by the occupation. And we have seen Russia increasing threaten Ukraine and the world with nuclear weapons. Indeed, the situation is still one that demands we pray without ceasing! 

Everywhere I go, people ask me how they can pray for Ukraine and the war. In March, just days after the invasion, I wrote this article about praying imprecatory psalms. I think these reminders are still helpful today as we continue to pray for an end to this war and an end to the Russian occupation. So, I decided to reprint this to remind us to pray…. 

How did the people of Israel pray when they were unjustly oppressed by foreign enemies? They often turned to the imprecatory psalms to express their anger and to cry out to God to help.  The imprecatory psalms tend to be one of the most misunderstood writings in the Old Testament. An imprecatory psalm is one where God’s suffering people cry out to God to intervene and bring His justice to a situation. Some examples of these imprecations might include Psalms 5, 6, 35, 69, and 109, all of which are cited in the New Testament. Imprecatory psalms are those in which the author imprecates; that is, he calls down calamity, destruction, and God’s anger and judgment on his enemies.  

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“The Goodness of God” (September 2022 Update) 

There are many aspects to the character and attributes of God. All are essential to fully know God. While one of the most accepted attributes of God is goodness, few fully comprehend the magnitude of God’s goodness. God’s goodness includes His generosity and His love, but it is much, much more. 

God’s goodness comes out of His love. But God’s love emphasizes God’s heart. God’s goodness emphasizes God’s actions. William Tyndale said, “”God’s goodness is the root of all goodness and our goodness, if we have any, [and it] springs from His goodness.” And God’s goodness is the example and the motivation for our goodness. 

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“Knowing God….” (August 2022 Update) 

Our own spiritual lives will never be higher than our view of God. That’s why it is so important to be theologically correct, especially about the nature of God! Our view of God provides the framework for our life and also for the way we conduct our ministry. So, we need to be sure that we have a biblical view of God. However, it is impossible to know everything about God because He is incomprehensible. But what God has revealed about Himself, we can know and study and trust for our lives. That’s why studying the Word of God is so essential to having a right view of God. It affects everything in our lives. 

But we also need to remember that theology is not an end in itself – our goal is not simply to know about God – but to know God! 

Let’s look at a couple of passages about the importance of knowing God. 

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As we celebrate our freedom on Independence Day, we must not forget the cost of our freedom. Freedom for us is mostly free, but our Founding Fathers risked everything to achieve our freedom. What they did 246 years ago purchased our freedom today. And countless soldiers through the years have also risked their lives (and many lost their lives) defending the freedom that we have today. But, if you think about it, we do not have “absolute freedom.”  

Absolute freedom means that we are dependent on nothing and no one. However, all the freedoms we enjoy today could be called “dependent” freedoms or “derived” freedoms. That means that we did not attain them ourselves and that we cannot maintain them by ourselves. We are free. But we must remember that our freedom, in many senses, is dependent on others. We do not have “absolute freedom.” 

However, when we speak of God, we must speak of His absolute freedom. This means that God is self-determining. He does what He desires according to His own pleasures and His own purposes. Psalm 115:3 says, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Ephesians 1:11 reminds us that He “works all things after the counsel of His will.” Absolute freedom means that God does not rely on us or on anything in creation.  

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“Unchanging ….” (June 2022 Update) 

It is hard to determine which of God’s attributes is the most important. In reality, they are all essential. We cannot pick and choose one over the other. To remove even one of His attributes would be to lessen God – and therefore, He would no longer be God! 

But, if I had to choose one attribute that is most essential and at the same time, most comforting, I would choose the attribute of “immutability.” Because if God changes, then we can never have confidence in anything. That’s why God says in Malachi 3:6: “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore, you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.” If God would ever change, we could never have confidence in Him or in His promises. That’s why immutability is so important as we consider the attributes of God. 

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