Some people have no shame, when they ought to show it. “The righteous person hates anything false, but the wicked person acts in shameful disgrace” Proverbs 13.5. Are there any more wicked than religious figures preaching false doctrines, creating their own kingdoms, living in dissolution, and loving the attention, power, titles and diplomas?
Then there is that sinner who is so overcome by his shame that he fails to come forward and confess his sin. Instead of drawing closer to God, he allows shame to drive him away from the Lord. Jeremiah has it right on this one: “Let us acknowledge our shame. Let us bear the disgrace that we deserve. For we have sinned against the Lord our God …” Jeremiah 3.25. Continue reading “Like the Lord, despise the shame”
Error surrounds us. From the first, since the days of Jesus, false teaching has spread its wings. How should we react to it? There are extremes. One can see nothing but an enemy. Another ignores it, wanting to emphasize only the positive.
While we follow the truth in love, we must also maintain balance by warning and exposing error. Here’s why. Continue reading “Why we can’t ignore attempts against the truth”
In many congregations Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church, in 1 Corinthians 16.1-4, is read before the saints make their offerings. It’s a good passage for that. Below are four thoughts on this blessed text.
1. The blessing of limitations
The church of Jesus Christ does not go beyond what is written, 1 Corinthians 4.6. Our practice is restricted to what is commanded. We do not invent new practices. So in order to finance the Lord’s work and express our solidarity with the brotherhood, the family of faith acts within the limitations of his commandments.
This means at least two things. First, the church only makes offerings. God’s people do not engage in bazaars nor do they sponsor or participate in fund-raising projects to raise monies. Continue reading “Four thoughts on 1 Corinthians 16.1-4”
Some people are not content to be resurrected every single morning when they awaken from their beds, nor to have the hope of eternal life once they give up their earthly existence, so they invent the idea of reincarnation. The endless ups and downs of good and bad stretched over a countless number of lives holds no attraction for me.
When man became darkened in his understanding of God’s ways, he still held some sense of justice. Together with conscience and the Ecclesiastesian heart which yearns for eternity, that sense of justice searches beyond mankind (not peoplekind, sorry, Mr. Trudeau) and the present age for balance. Things ought to be different. Justice ought to be done. So let’s imagine another life in which we pay for our bad deeds and people are rewarded according to what they do and say in the flesh. Continue reading “Of reincarnation and Ash Wednesday”
Thoughts fly at the beginning of a new year, almost as fast as the time that brought it. Here are a few items on my personal radar that might encourage you or provide you with an idea or two.
¶ I mentioned January 1st that for 2018 I’d be reading Ed Mathews’s daily devotional work, “Plow New Ground.” It’s meaty in dealing with the text and brings powerful application to our walk with God. I hope to post a daily comment and focus question on my microblog. Come follow that or pop in on occasion to exchange some ideas.
¶ Ye olde mission statement is getting tweaked, and a new Bible verse for the year is in the process of being chosen. All that ought to get nailed down this week. In the meantime, read this short piece to be pondered frequently, “Daily Attitudes.” Continue reading “A new-year start with sundry thoughts”
A year is a God-given division of time. He made the heavenly lights to mark days, seasons, and years. So people — recognizing God’s sovereignty or not — make plans for a year, such as traveling, doing business, and making money, James 4.13.
As people age, it seems that “the years that lie ahead are few” Job 16.22. Even though we may reach the ripe old age of 80, “the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh” Psalm 90.9-10. But Solomon said it doesn’t matter if you lived a thousand years twice, death is still coming for you, Ecclesiastes 6.1-9. Maybe how you live, and what you live for, is what really matters, yes?
The Bible has a recipe for adding years to one’s life: wisdom, Proverbs 4.10; 9.11, and obedience to parents, Deuteronomy 5.16; Ephesians 6.1-3. Diet and exercise are good, but God’s plan for longevity is better. Remember that Hezekiah got 15 years added to his life, but it didn’t turn out so well for him, Isaiah 38.5. Continue reading “The years of our lives”
In this world there is little peace for humankind and little hope for it in the future. Jesus offers an eternal peace, of the heart, free from the vicissitudes of life and politics. While Christians pray for governing authorities, they place no hope in them. Confidence, only in Christ. He came from God and returned to God. He knew why he came to earth and fulfilled that purpose. During his time on earth, he loved, and he loved to the end. He was sure of his place before the Father, having received from him all power to bring divine love to its proper conclusion. He exercised this power with wisdom and knowledge.
Jesus calls his people to imitate his example. While his love took turns that were specific to his role in the eternal plan, its serving nature, with no holds barred, must take firm hold in his people. God is not impressed with rituals, done repeatedly for points, in the human mind, or to satisfy some random demand of heaven, as man sees it. He does command some specific actions, and through those he does bring his life and Spirit, but God looks behind the acts to the motivations and yearnings of the heart. He wants to see those and the practice of love — genuine, sincere, honest, profound. Continue reading “May every soul say, ‘My Lord and my God’”
Jesus brings us life. To put it more accurately, Jesus is life. “I am the way, the truth, and the life” John 14.6. Here is the life of God, ever near and possible in its fullest: Continue reading “The life we have”
This three-stranded cord will not be broken, Ecclesiastes 4.12. No earthly powers can prevail against them. With them the word of the Lord will continue to grow and prevail, Acts 19.20. Whoever possesses them will be counted blessed and will stand against all foes and discouragements.
We who belong to the light put them on as we learn to look for the Lord’s coming, 1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11. They guarantee victory. Continue reading “The most powerful trio in the world”
Some people are wanting to modify the Brazilian flag. They propose adding a word to the phrase, “Order and Progress,” written across it. They want it to read, “Love, Order and Progress.”
People know love is important. They just don’t know what love is. The Bible explains and demonstrates it. The Way of Christ is defined by it.
You know, of course, that Jesus didn’t create the commandment to love God during his time on earth, Matthew 22.37-38. It was already in the Old Testament. He did, however pick it out and join it to the commandment to love one’s neighbor in order to make the two the great hook upon which hang God’s great plan of salvation. Continue reading “Behind Jesus’ greatest commandment”