Isaiah’s New Heavens

Everyone knows what Isaiah’s new heavens and new earth is all about, right? Spoiler alert! Some regard Isaiah 65:17-19; 66:22 as referring to the end of time. Others understand it to have been a prophesy informing post-exilic Israel how God would rebuild worship in Jerusalem in their time.

Why such divergent interpretations? The short answer involves assumptions, methods and goals. Whether we realize it or not, this is also why we hold onto whatever views we might have.

Continue reading “Isaiah’s New Heavens”

Scripture – make it a daily habit

As a leader, the apostle Paul needed to address big yet simple questions. How do Christians prepare themselves for godly service? His first letter to Timothy reveals one of his solutions.

Given our hectic American lifestyle, we need a simple practical plan for embedding his solution into our daily routine. We need more than simply knowing what is helpful.  Continue reading “Scripture – make it a daily habit”

The other “I am” statements

Through seven great “I am” metaphors, John powerfully communicated Jesus’ purpose. Jesus’ claims are readily recognizable: I am the bread of life; I am the light of the world; I am the door of the sheep, I am the good shepherd; I am the resurrection and the life; I am the way, the truth and the life; and I am the true vine.

Yet, these are not his only “I am” assertions in John’s Gospel. On several other occasions Jesus simply said, “I am” without completing the predicate. Perhaps the most well-known example of these is “Before Abaham was, I am” (John 8:58). Continue reading “The other “I am” statements”

The household of God

Communication is wonderful as well as a bit tricky. Our understanding of what others communicate is partially shaped by our experiences and prior knowledge.

So, when Paul described the church as being the household of God what do we understand? Perhaps what comes to our minds revolves around our relationship with other Christians as brothers and sisters. Yes, we are all in this together.

Does anything else come to mind? Would someone in the first century comprehend additional nuances? Probably yes. Continue reading “The household of God”

Something dependable

Our world is inundated with competing voices, conflicting perspectives and constant strife. From political posturing and divergent medical opinions to contrasting economic theories and social viewpoints, we are surrounded by what seems like chaos.

Ever long for a quiet moment to reflect upon something you can trust? In 1 Timothy Paul served up three wonderful nuggets. The first and third offer a profound impact for all of our lives, if we will embrace them. Continue reading “Something dependable”

Just a prayer meeting?

What happens when the regular evening Bible study is replaced by a special prayer meeting?  Years ago I remember one particular person saying that she would not be attending because it was just a prayer meeting.

From what he wrote to Timothy, it seems Paul would not have regarded God’s people gathering for the express purpose of praying as “just a prayer meeting.” Consider his instructions for Timothy. Continue reading “Just a prayer meeting?”