Widow of Nain

Seven purposes of Jesus’ miracles

” ‘Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.’ And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak” (Luke 7:14-15).

There were several people who became instruments of God’s miraculous power in biblical history: Moses, Elijah, the apostles – including Judas – were all instruments of God’s miraculous power. Did this prove they were divine? Of course not.

What about Jesus’ miracles? Did they prove he was divine? Jesus’ miracles – taken alone – no more point to his deity than miracles performed by these other individuals of the Bible prove their deity. However, the miracles of Jesus do collaborate with other evidences to build the case for his deity. Interestingly, Jesus’ miracles also served several other purposes: Continue reading “Seven purposes of Jesus’ miracles”

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Satan doesn’t care why we leave the Lord

Satan is doing everything he can to destroy our faith. He’s the consummate liar (John 8:44) and will use whomever or whatever is at his disposal to accomplish that goal (1 Peter 5:8).

Nothing will be spared.

The devil has no conscience, no scruples and he’s incapable of queasiness or doubt. He speaks in our voice and will ingratiate himself in any way possible to turn our head. Our constant attention is needed. Continue reading “Satan doesn’t care why we leave the Lord”

Eye to Eye daylily closeup

Every eye

Daylilies are a relatively new addition to my garden. At first, I avoided them because of the short life of the flowers. They are aptly named “daylilies,” or hemerocallis, meaning “beautiful for a day.”

The truth of the matter is that the plants bear multiple flowers, which open up throughout the span of a few weeks. There are many types of daylily, which can bloom as early as May and as late as August. Some varieties are “rebloomers,” and can have multiple flushes of blooms stretching all the way through fall. Continue reading “Every eye”

Titus arch

The destruction of the temple

“Now while some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and offerings, Jesus said, ‘As for these things that you are gazing at, the days will come when not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!’ So they asked him, ‘Teacher, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that these things are about to take place?’” (Luke 21:5-7 NET).

Of the three accounts of the impending destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), Luke’s is probably the simplest to understand. Continue reading “The destruction of the temple”

listening

Listening

If you are not a charming conversationalist you might still be a big hit as a charming listener. You can win more friends with your ears than you mouth. Did you notice that you can earn an entire degree in communication, yet not take a single class on listening? Apparently “Listening 101” is not considered a part of communication at a university, yet 50% of any communication transaction involves the part where someone listens.

Have you ever taken the time to think about what qualities make one a good, or a poor listener? A nod of the head, eye contact, a word of encouragement (“Go on, I’m listening”) would certainly help. In Jesus’ parable of the soils (Matthew 13:1-23), the verb to hear is used 15 times, and such figurative terms for hearing as “see,” and “perceive” are used 16 times. Continue reading “Listening”

Books

It will be alright

Have you ever known anyone who became so anxious with reading a story that he or she would skip to the last chapter to see how it ended? Years ago I remember someone telling me this was her strategy for reading books. For many of us this would ruin the story. However for her, knowing how the narrative tensions would be resolved enabled her to relax enough to read through the story.

I’m not convinced this is a great strategy for reading books. Nevertheless, it is a helpful way to live life. Continue reading “It will be alright”

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The golden rule turns a bad experience into a good one

For Sunday lunch, I went to a pizza buffet with some friends and we walked into a mess.

Shortly after we arrived, practically every seat in the place was filled and the buffet was empty. There weren’t any plates, just salad bowls.

People streamed in and the food kept disappearing. More would be brought and it would vanish as the crowd around the buffet grabbed it and scurried back to their table. Continue reading “The golden rule turns a bad experience into a good one”

Festival of Lights

Not forced to believe

The Feast of Dedication was celebrated in Judea about the middle of our month of December. Created after the victory of the Maccabee-led revolt over Antiochus Epiphanes, it was decreed by Judas Maccabaeus that the celebration would last for eight days.

This feast was also called the “Festival of Lights” because there were lights in the Temple and in every home. Eight lights, one of which would be lit every day of the festival, were set in every home as a symbol of the “light of freedom” returning to Jerusalem after the rule of the Greek Seleucids and Ptolemies. Continue reading “Not forced to believe”