Pagans, Prayers, and Promises

Part 15 – “Route 66” (A message from each of the 66 books of the Bible)
Ezra 1; 1 Timothy 2:1-8
The Book of Ezra reveals that the Lord, being sovereign over all kingdoms, moved the heart of unbelieving Cyrus to fulfill God’s will. God also stirred the hearts of His people to respond and return to the Promised Land. Today, we should pray to God on behalf of unbelieving rulers so that political circumstances may become favorable for the message of the gospel . . . and the living of its commands.

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(c) 2008 Wayne Stiles

The Magnitude of God’s Grace

Part 13 – “Route 66” (A series with a message from each of the 66 books of the Bible)
1 Chronicles 17
The books of Chronicles, written to God’s weary people returning from exile, present a reason for hope in the Lord. In spite of all the faults of the kings from David’s line (including David himself), God will not renege on His promises to David. We too can take courage that God will fulfill His unconditional promises toward us . . . in spite of our sins. This shows the magnitude of God’s grace.

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(c) 2008 Wayne Stiles

The Problems with God’s Grace [Podcast]

Sometimes good news seems just too good to be true.

The leper Naaman initially felt insulted that all he must do to be healed was dip in the Jordan River. God’s grace often comes off as offensive to unbelievers.

Gehazi, on the other hand, felt shocked that his master Elisha took no money from Naaman for his healing. So Gehazi took some money in secret and thus later suffered discipline.

God’s grace has problems, as it were—offensive to unbelievers and abused by believers.

But it’s our only hope.

2 Kings 5

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Wayne Stiles Podcast

Obama’s Prayer . . . and Mine

I remember in the 2008 election when Barack Obama conducted his world tour as part of his presidential campaign, he visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem. You may remember that he inserted a prayer in the wall. The Jews consider this a sacred act—even if the individual represents another faith.

Obama's prayer

(Photo: Paul J. Richards / AFP – Getty Images)

After Obama left the Western Wall Plaza, someone scrabbled out the prayer—written on King David Hotel stationary—and took a picture of it.

Here’s what Obama’s prayer said:

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The Tabernacle at Shiloh—A Promise, Person, Place & Parable

Local schoolchildren ate their lunches across the olive grove from my wife and me.

Like the kids, we came on a field trip to explore ancient Shiloh. Although our lunch was hardly a feast, it reminded me of the reasons the young nation of Israel initially came to this site. They came to worship at the annual feasts before the Tabernacle at Shiloh.

The Tabernacle at Shiloh—A Promise, Person, Place, & Parable

(Photo: Area of the Tabernacle at Shiloh. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Ask most Americans where Shiloh is, and you’ll likely get a blank stare.

  • Historians may point to a Civil War battle in Hardin County, Tennessee.
  • Music buffs may start singing the chorus to a Neil Diamond song.

But question someone who knows his or her Bible, and Shiloh means something far more significant.

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What I Learned from Living Through a Hurricane

We hadn’t paid attention to the news. It was too late to leave. So we were ill-prepared when Hurricane Celia slammed into Corpus Christi.

What I Learned from Living Through a Hurricane

(U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Michael Pendergrass. Public domain)

I was only 3 years old on August 3, 1970, but my memories are vivid. We sat in the hallway in the middle of the house, closed all the doors, and I ate animal crackers while my stepdad played the guitar.

All the while, I heard what sounded like freight trains encircling outside our house.

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