In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
The Bible is not like our Western society. It does not glorify sex. But it certainly does not avoid it.
Simeon and Levi are lessons to us when we are tempted to use violence - physical or verbal – to bring about what we desire (or, worse still, what we think God desires).
Sexual immorality really does open a doorway for the devil, not only in one’s own life, but in the whole community.
How many people have I seen over the years whose faith has been diluted, even extinguished, say, by a spouse who was not a believer, or by a business partner who did not share the same Christian values.
He will ensure that ultimately justice is done; for he is a God of justice.
Ever since Adam and Eve fell and God told her in the Garden of Eden, “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you”, far too many men throughout history have used this as an opportunity to dominate, exploit and use the bodies of women.
We can have a great marriage, a wonderful husband or wife and still be fundamentally unhappy. Rachel is an example of this.
Being in a relational situation where you are unloved can feel very oppressive. But the Lord sees your situation. He says, “I will show my love to the person who is not loved” (Hosea 2:23).
Cheating and deceit may benefit us in the short term, but in the longer term they will take us away from God’s presence and from his purpose.
The challenge for us is to set aside time to worship the Lord and seek specific prophetic blessings for our children and grandchildren – and for our spiritual children.
How will we use the gifts God has given to us? What will be remembered for in the way that we have used these gifts?
She lived 4,000 years ago and, although she can hardly be called a celebrity, even today people all over the world are still reading about her.
The servant has to travel a road that is far from straightforward; and through his journey in Genesis 24 we can learn a lot. The one characteristic that stands out above all others is his single-mindedness in serving his master.
We have become increasingly accustomed to corruption in high places, and this has resulted in a cynicism towards those in power.
Some of us, like Churchill and Isaac, may have a defining period in our lives, which leaves everything else in the shade.
The Bible never ducks sexual issues. Within its pages you will find stories of adultery, rape, and, as here with Lot’s daughters, incest. These subjects are dealt with openly, but always in a matter-of-fact way and never sensationally.
When we decide to follow Jesus, his resurrection life enters into our bodies, so that we are ‘in Christ’ and we become a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). Bad company corrupts good character.
I was reminded of Ishmael when recently I saw a homeless teenage boy being interviewed on TV. He explained that he was on the streets because his step-father had thrown him out of the house.
Like Hagar, Paul, and Jesus, we may sometimes need to take the way of powerlessness in order to experience the power of God in our lives.
Being in the background does not absolve us from living by faith. Indeed, it is often in background roles that God can most effectively develop our character and our faith.
So was Abraham a superhero? In fact, he started life rather unpromisingly as a refugee from Iraq (Ur of the Chaldees), settling in Turkey (Haran), then he became a nomad in Palestine, and lived for a time as a foreigner in Egypt.
Noah was prepared to engage in a 100-year building project on the basis of a warning from God about things that he had not seen and could not yet see.
What are our hopes and aspirations for old age - if God allows us to reach that point in life? None of us can escape the ageing process: Outwardly we are wasting away, but inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
No longer is each day a struggle to work hard for Jesus, so that I can receive his approval. I know he accepts me because I have received his free gift of eternal life and grace.