Concern … and answered prayer

When Paul visited Thessalonica he did what he did wherever he went – he went first to the Jews to tell them the good news of Jesus. For three straight weeks he taught in the synagogue from the Jewish scriptures – the Old Testament – about the Messiah, that he would suffer, and that he would rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah” (Acts 17:3 NIV).

The reaction he received was both positive and negative. “Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the market-place, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.” (Acts 17:4-5). It got so bad that Paul and Silas had to be sent away from Thessalonica – they went initially to Berea and then Paul ended up in Athens. Continue reading “Concern … and answered prayer”

Bewildering hermeneutics, complexity and truth

I recently read a book whose opening chapters were bent on attacking a particular method of applying scripture to today’s world. The author proceeded to break down the process of that hermeneutical model into a series of bewildering charts filled with mind-numbing complexity.

Not only would any typical person want to run away from a process of such inane minutia, most Christians would probably despair of being capable of implementing it. His attack would seem to be successful. However, his assault unravels if we are willing to stop and think about it. Continue reading “Bewildering hermeneutics, complexity and truth”

‘Without neglecting the others’

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (Matthew: 23:23-24 ESV).

The campus of Khulna Bible College contains a number of fruit and nut trees, including mango, coconut, litchi, jackfruit, papaya, and jambora (a type of grapefruit) trees. The nine coconut trees are especially productive and the nuts are prized for their water (or milk), meat, and fibrous hull. Periodically coconuts will be collected and counted out for sharing among the various staff families and the needs of the college kitchen. Continue reading “‘Without neglecting the others’”

Our confidence as Christians

The first letter of John comes as a breath of fresh air to those who are trying to live for Jesus. People around us tell us so much that simply isn’t true. It seems many think if they say something often enough and loud enough that it becomes true! Let’s notice some of the truths that John gives us in the last chapter of this short letter.

“For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith” (1 John 5:3-4 CSB).

Sometimes we hear people complaining that doing what God wants is difficult. Obedience, we are told, is just too hard! So does it really matter, they think, if we obey God or not? Continue reading “Our confidence as Christians”

The Wrong Battle; the Wrong Weapons

The most desired of conditions, peace is by far the most elusive.

Peace – in its simplest definition – is the absence of conflict. But there has always been conflict. There was conflict among the angels of heaven. There was conflict in the Paradise of Eden. There has since been conflict between all clans.

We know and appreciate the concept of peace. We crave and long for it. We write and sing about it. We fight and die for it. We want it as much as anything, yet we have no earthly idea how to both obtain and keep it.

The human being is conflicted. He is conflicted with his world, and with his self. Life is a search to ease the stress, curtail the strain, scratch the itch of conflict. But the itch returns, the scratching ensues, and the cycle continues. Continue reading “The Wrong Battle; the Wrong Weapons”

Was this wise?

Was it wise to spend nearly a whole Sunday school quarter focused on pain, suffering and meaninglessness? Apparently so, if success can be measured by the participants’ enthusiasm each Sunday.

Am I correct in perceiving a tendency exists to gravitate toward the positive, uplifting and empowering? If this be the case why would anyone even consider wallowing for an extended time in such things as human suffering? You are probably already ahead of me in this article. Continue reading “Was this wise?”

Let peace reign

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hears, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 ESV).

Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. It is important to consume a healthy diet and exercise adequately. Those who are at higher risk may have a doctor examine them. Some tests examine the heart from a distance, while others can look right inside the heart while it pumps.

While our physical hearts are essential to our physical well-being, there is another heart that is essential to our spiritual well-being. Merriam-Webster defines this heart as “one’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations.” Imagine if you could look inside this heart while it pumps. What would you see? Continue reading “Let peace reign”

No peace but God’s peace

Peace is not merely an inner sensation, but an objective state of being. In the Bible it is, first of all, peace with God. This peace does not depend upon a person feeling that God is near or convincing himself that God is bringing him peace. A person can feel peaceful but in fact be in a state of rebellion against God and not be at peace with the Creator.

Such was the case in Jeremiah’s day. The prophet condemned the priests and false prophets who denied there was any danger, when in fact destruction and devastation was approaching. Continue reading “No peace but God’s peace”

Honoring those who are worthy of honor

“Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7 ESV).

The custom of honoring guests and dignitaries by putting a scarf or garland around their neck is strong in Nepal and much of Asia. In the churches, visiting missionaries, as well as Nepali preachers and leaders, and local civic leaders are almost always welcomed by the ceremony of “garlanding.” It is a means of demonstrating respect and showing that they are held in honor. The traditional scarves and flowers are of little intrinsic value, but the act of being shown respect is priceless. Continue reading “Honoring those who are worthy of honor”

God’s patience

Although we realise that God is different from us and so much more than we are, often we place our human limitations and thoughts in how we think of him. Two verses that should bring us back to our senses are found in 2 Peter 3.

“Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9 NET)

There are two thoughts here that radically distinguish God from humans. Continue reading “God’s patience”