First Thoughts

Author: Ernie Baker

Hope and Healing After Divorce

Psalm 137—God Heals the Brokenhearted Divorce is one of the most heart-wrenching difficulties that life can throw your way. Dreams are smashed. Families are divided. Homes are sold, and children wonder if they are the cause. Money becomes tight, and bitterness grows. I know precious people who have not seen their own children for years and grandparents whose hearts ache to be with grandchildren they are not allowed to see. In the last few years, this reality has been experienced by many as the extra pressure of a pandemic revealed the weaknesses already present in relationships. Does God Care About Me? Does God care about this pain, or are the promises of Scripture only related to gospel truths that happened in the past while we painfully wait for their fulfillment?  Are we all on our own...

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Loving Difficult People

Let’s be honest; some people are hard to love. Unfortunately, from the stories I hear, it is often a spouse. Your difficult person may not be a spouse; he could be an extended family member or even someone in your church who just “rubs you the wrong way.”  A Model to Follow As we live our lives, the realities of our fallen world are realized in our difficult relationships. Scripture is realistic about this. In particular, as Paul writes, he applies biblical teaching to this very subject. In Ephesians 5, he writes, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (vs. 1-2). Who are the “us” that Christ loved? Certainly not very loveable people (see 4:17-19)! In these verses, our...

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Death Hath Confronted Us

In the last week, I have had two significant conversations about death. A friend suddenly lost his wife from Covid as he was in the hospital recovering from his own case. As we visited, we discussed the truths of 1 Corinthians 15. We cried. We reminisced. We talked about the importance of family, and we hugged. Most importantly I prayed for my friend as he grieved and appealed to Yahweh to comfort him. We thanked the Lord for the hope we have for eternity. Then came one of the most difficult conversations of my life. A friend was dying of cancer and asked to speak with me. In the past, I have been with people when they passed into eternity (and right after) but rarely have I talked with people who knew time on the earthly side was very limited. We cried. I helped him and his wife write some...

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