Self worth

Are you a narcissist or a doormat? A person whose self-worth is off the charts, or does your view of yourself depend on what others think of you or tell you? Chances are you are somewhere in between, as most of us are.

In a landscape setting, some plants are worth more than others. Late in my gardening “path” I discovered that a few really good anchor trees and shrubs are worth spending a little money on, rather than filling the beds with random bargains. Continue reading “Self worth”

Never alone

The artists’ conceptions of God are interesting. The Almighty usually appears as a very old, very kind man. To them he is human. That concept, however, does not fit the facts. 

Jesus said that God is spirit (John 4:24). The artists may say, “But the Bible says God has eyes and ears.” Yes. The Bible does indeed refer to God’s eyes and ears. God does see and hear but not like human beings. King David spoke of God hearing him (Psalm 40:1-2). And, yes, God does hear us. Continue reading “Never alone”

Let him pray

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. . . . Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:13-16).

Mrs. Baidya and her late husband were two of the original members of the Shikarpur congregation in Bangladesh, and had allowed the church to erect a small building on their property in which it met for over twenty years. Recently, when I was in the country, she sent word to me that she was ill and would like for me to come to visit and pray with her. I did so and enjoyed a very uplifting time with her, her family, and members of the church there. Such opportunities have helped me to a better appreciation of both the power of prayer and its value to Christians both individually and collectively. Continue reading “Let him pray”

Reactions to Jesus

When we talk to people about Jesus we cannot know the reaction we will get. Because of this some Christians are hesitant to mention Jesus to those they know for fear the reaction will be negative. We can take comfort from the apostle Paul. Not only was he willing to speak to others about Jesus, the reactions he received cannot be worse than the reactions we might have to deal with.

“At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defence. ‘You are out of your mind, Paul!’ he shouted. ‘Your great learning is driving you insane.’ ‘I am not insane, most excellent Festus,’ Paul replied. ‘What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.’ Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’ Paul replied, ‘Short time or long – I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.’” (Acts 26:24-29 NIV)

Continue reading “Reactions to Jesus”

Giving up glory

Heaven is the place we all want to go. Heaven is the greatest place imaginable because it is the dwelling place of Deity. Why would anyone willingly leave heaven?

I once had a discussion with someone who feared sinning and being cast out of heaven. I suggested that while angels were cast out (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6), it was not possible for us to sin and thus be banished from God’s presence.

Sin requires temptation (James 1:14, 15). There will be no temptations for us in heaven, and thus no possibility to sin. This is a great comfort to me, for I desperately want to live forever with my Lord. Once my glorified body is taken to heaven I can not imagine ever wishing to leave. Continue reading “Giving up glory”

What and who will be in Heaven

If in Heaven we’re going to play harps for all eternity, I don’t want to go there, said a woefully uninformed person. This perspective reveals that people must be careful not to think of Heaven in earthly, carnal concepts, far from God’s revelation in Scripture. This is also a problem for one masculine-centered religion which sees Heaven in terms of access to hundreds of virgins.

What is going to be in Heaven that motivates everyone, men and women, rich and poor, to make every effort to get there? Here’s a short list. Continue reading “What and who will be in Heaven”

Difficult but not impossible

“If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:18, ESV; compare Proverbs 11:31).

Traveling the mountain roads in Nepal has given me a new appreciation for the term “scraping by.” Frequently when two vehicles meet one must back up to a wider spot in order to allow the other to pass. Even in places where two can pass it is often by the narrowest of margins. I have frequently looked out my window and been unable to see any road beside our vehicle – and many times I found myself looking over a drop-off of hundreds or thousands of feet. Traffic can pass, but it is by no means easy. Continue reading “Difficult but not impossible”

Christians only

The first Christians – and the only Christians – for around ten years following the Day of Pentecost were of a Jewish background. They had been looking forward to the Messiah, they learned that the Messiah had come and he was Jesus, they were immersed and took him as the Lord of their lives. For the Jews, the entire idea of the Messiah was rooted in what they knew in the scriptures. They were able to continue doing much of what they had been doing as Jews, but with Jesus as the fulfilment of the prophets. Continue reading “Christians only”