Memories

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3 NKJV).

The last Monday in May is recognized as “Memorial Day” (formerly “Decoration Day”) in the United States. This national holiday is intended as a time to remember and honor those who died while serving in the armed forces of the United States. Many will also take time to remember other departed loved ones by visiting grave sites or in other ways.

Such events, along with monuments, statues, plaques, and designated sites serve to help us keep events and persons of the past alive in our consciousness and relevant to current times. They are made valid and effective by memories, and serve to help us recognize the importance of memory. Continue reading “Memories”

Opposition to the gospel

What is it about proclaiming Jesus that stirs up opposition? This isn’t unique to our times. As Paul and Barnabas were traveling on their first journey they were constantly encountering opposition. This came from the Jews. Initially they were curious and wanted to hear more. But as Paul began to attract large crowds the Jews became jealous. They were thrown out of Pisidia.

When they arrived in Iconium “the same thing happened” (Acts 14:1 NET). Here the Jews stirred up the Gentiles and wanted to stone Paul and Barnabas – they fled to Lystra.

“In Lystra sat a man who could not use his feet, lame from birth, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he was speaking. When Paul stared intently at him and saw he had faith to be healed, he said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And the man leaped up and began walking.” (Acts 14:8-10) Continue reading “Opposition to the gospel”

Delving deeper into faith

What is faith? This probably sounds like a silly question – but only if we have given it no thought because we assume we fully understand it. Consider one small sampling of the evidence.

In the second and third centuries before Christ, Jewish scholars translated their Hebrew Bible into Greek. We call their work the Septuagint. Interesting questions might be: When they used the Greek word pistis (faith), what Hebrew words and ideas were they trying to convey? Was their understanding of faith broader, the same or narrower than ours? Take a look.

Continue reading “Delving deeper into faith”

The Operation of Christ’s priesthood

Did you know that Christ is functioning as a priest right now? We readily recognize Christ as Prophet and King, but we might fail to see him as our High Priest. But the Hebrews writer takes great care to show this aspect of our Savior’s work.

In a previous article we focused on the quality of his priesthood. Now, we wish to turn our attention to the operation of his priesthood. What is it that he does for us as High Priest? The Bible presents at least three ways that Christ ministers to us as our priest.

Continue reading “The Operation of Christ’s priesthood”

This gift is direly needed in the church

To a church confused about the use of spiritual gifts, the apostle Paul wrote, “But you should be eager for the greater gifts” 1 Corinthians 12.21. And again: “Pursue love and be eager for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” 1 Corinthians 14.1.

Paul urged them to desire some gifts more than others. He was speaking, of course, of miraculous gifts, such as prophecy. But if saints in the first century could pursue certain gifts, since they were more important than others, it stands to reason that today saints should value certain non-miraculous gifts above others. Continue reading “This gift is direly needed in the church”

Get up and keep on walking

During one of the feasts in Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus entered the city through the northeast gate called the “sheep gate.” Nehemiah had built the portal and probably a sheep market when he supervised the reconstruction of the city’s walls.

There was a pool there that was deep enough for swimming. The sick gathered because of a legend that said when an angel “stirred” the water the first one into the pool would have a cure. Continue reading “Get up and keep on walking”

Loving the unseen

“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ” (Colossians 2:1-2, NKJV).

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a secular proverb that describes the attitude of many. Most humans tend to focus their attention and efforts on those people and things which are in close proximity to themselves. We don’t usually spend much energy on those whom we have not met, or on needs that are at a great distance.

Paul was not of that mindset. He wanted the Christians that lived in the cities of Colossae and Laodicea to know that they were important to him. Though they had never yet seen him “up close and personal,” he knew who they were, he knew of their faith, and he had great love for them. He also was willing to invest great energy, both emotional and physical, in their spiritual growth.

Continue reading “Loving the unseen”

Being a Christian

With the conversion of Cornelius the dynamic of first century evangelism changed. No longer was the good news of Jesus directed only to Jews, but Gentiles were also taught. The result was that “a great number who believed turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:19 NET).

The centre of this explosion of new followers of Jesus was in Antioch. Antioch was the third largest city of the Roman Empire at this time, with a population of over 500,000 people. Included in this number was a large number of Jews – it has been estimated by some that around 1/7 of the population was Jewish. Continue reading “Being a Christian”

One less day

By Johnny O. Trail — Drives returning home after Wednesday evening services are typically uneventful. Last Wednesday was vastly different than what I typically experience on my commute from mid-week Bible study. The tragic experience I came upon made me ponder a few things of spiritual importance.

As I was topping a hill on the way home, I saw a motorcycle laying in the ditch. Just a bit further down the road, there was a white car that had wrapped itself around a tree. Since my eldest son typically drives himself and his brothers to and from church in his car, my concerns were immediately raised. He too, drives a white vehicle. Continue reading “One less day”