Patna India

Is it wrong to prosper?

“Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, and trust in Mount Samaria. Notable persons in the chief nation, to whom the house of Israel comes! Go over to Calneh and see; and from there go to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory?” (Amos 6:1-2 NKJV).

When I make reports on my work in undeveloped nations a very common response is “That sure makes us appreciate what we have doesn’t it?” Others will say, “We sure are blessed.” Behind such comments is an inference of guilt. Are we wrong to have so much when so many have so little? I believe a lot of sincere American Christians ask that question, and fear the answer. Continue reading “Is it wrong to prosper?”

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Being an effective Christian

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV).

As Christians, we should all want to be effective, productive and fruitful. Sometimes it seems this type of life is difficult and possibly beyond our grasp. But Peter, in quite simple language, explains what this type of life is all about. Continue reading “Being an effective Christian”

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Full of grace and truth

Some time ago I was doing the children’s singing at a Vacation Bible School. I was asking the kids what song they wanted to sing next when one voice piped up:

“Jingle bells!” he cried.

I could see the smiles on the faces of several adults in the room, but before they could respond, his buddy responded, clear as a … as a bell:

“He means Jesus songs, Bozo!” Continue reading “Full of grace and truth”

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Interesting contrasts between Abraham and Lot

While the Bible is a lengthy book, God was spare in the details and provided only what we needed to know because everything had a purpose.

So often we find themes that run throughout Scripture and they provide pause for deeper contemplation. Light and darkness are common themes and we find them in the story of Abraham, Lot, Sodom and Gomorrah.  Continue reading “Interesting contrasts between Abraham and Lot”

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The perfect devotional

Over the years, I’ve tried first this devotional book or site, then another. I find some good in most of them. But I’m always on the lookout for the perfect devotional. To qualify as the perfect devotional, what must it do?

First, the perfect devotional is obviously true to the sound teaching of the Bible. With many of them, it’s a bother to have to wade through denominational doctrine, identify false assumptions, ignore religious language strange to the Scripture. So it must ring true and guide in the straight path. Continue reading “The perfect devotional”

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Homogeneity

“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11 NKJV).

Much of the violence and unrest in the world today may be traced at least in part to cultural variety. In the transition from colonialism to independence many borders were drawn on the basis of geography alone without regard for radical differences in the ethnicities involved. Former colonial powers ignored tribal enmities and incompatibilities, as well as serious religious tensions. This led to civil war on a vast scale on several different continents. Of course, not every such conflict is traceable to colonialism. The same forces produce conflict in many contexts. Continue reading “Homogeneity”

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Becoming a mature Christian

“We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ. Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:28-29 NET).

Do we want to be mature as Christians? I believe that is a goal that all Christians desire and should be working towards. But how do we become a mature Christian? Continue reading “Becoming a mature Christian”

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I’m a Missionary

She was bright-eyed and twenty years old, if she was a day. Her heart, I know, was in the right place. But her words jarred: “I’m a missionary,” she was saying.

What she meant was that she had participated in several week or two week-long mission trips.

I though of my uncle Reece Mitchell who spent 25 years in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I thought of another uncle, Dennis Mitchell who worked in Zambia 15 years. I thought of my father Loy Mitchell whose work in Zimbabwe traversed 40 years.

No, gentle student, you are not a missionary. Continue reading “I’m a Missionary”

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God owns spiritual truth

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6, NKJV). Salvation can’t occur without Christ because his blood is indispensable (Romans 5:6-11; 1 John 1:7).

Thomas a Kempis said, “Without the way, there is no going. Without the truth, there is no knowing. Without the life, there is no living.” These spiritual gifts can’t exist without Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Continue reading “God owns spiritual truth”

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Respond or not? HuffPo slanders God’s people

HuffPo published what one brother called a hit piece on the church of our Lord, an article critical of American congregations as a whole, based upon, as I understand it, a single event. (I’m not going to waste my time reading it.) Another friend said brotherhood reactions have been contained and charitable (my paraphrase).

Those who believe in the HuffPo site will believe the article; those who know it to be the liberal shill it is, will discount it. With its political, social slant, lines have long been drawn and hostility to truth frequently trumpeted. Continue reading “Respond or not? HuffPo slanders God’s people”