Make a truly great decision

It is easy to think this life is what is important. We may be tempted to think this life is all there is. It isn’t.

Many are swept up in politics, world events, trouble, flood, famine, and war. The newspapers are full of the negative things that happen every day. After a while, we may become convinced those things are more important. They aren’t.

Jesus had his problems with the self-important Pharisees. They wanted to kill him because of his teachings and his growing popularity. Jesus said the game the Pharisees were playing was not important at all (Luke 12:1-5). Continue reading “Make a truly great decision”

Being a father

I love being a father.

If every bit of progress of my children isn’t imprinted on film or memory card, it is in my mind as fresh as the day it happened. Those memories include when each of our three children walked, when they learned to ride a bicycle, and graduated from college. Sure, there have been trials and difficulties but the joys outweigh them all.

Each child has repeatedly assured us of their love for their mother and me. I know their love is genuine because they show it often. Continue reading “Being a father”

“They that are whole need not a physician”

The Romans taxed nearly everything. They taxed personal income and the use of roads and harbors. They taxed carts according the number of wheels, and they taxed for the animal that pulled the cart. If a person was walking with a bundle on his back, a tax collector could require the bundle opened and taxes could be collected on any item therein.

Many Jews became tax collectors hired by the Romans. The Jews punished these people they called, “publicans,” because of their association with the Romans. Continue reading ““They that are whole need not a physician””

Under the magnifying glass

It’s time to look for my magnifying glass again.

Someone keeps taking my magnifying glass from my desk because she needs to see something small up close. Magnifying glasses come in handy when we need to enlarge something so details can be seen.

The mother of Jesus placed the Lord under a glass in a passage called “the Magnificat.” In her praise of God in Luke 1:46-56, she zoomed in on the greatness of God so others could see him.

Let’s take a close-up look of God through Mary’s magnifying glass. Each statement begins with the personal pronoun, “he.” Continue reading “Under the magnifying glass”

Standing with Pilate

Pilate was warned concerning Jesus.

Pilate knew Jesus was not guilty of sedition, but he ignored that innocence. He was warned by a troubled wife, but he ignored her warning. He was warned by his own conscience that Jesus was innocent, but he could not withstand the Jews clamoring for the Lord’s death.

“Why? What evil has he done,” Pilate asked knowing the crowd could not answer. The question meant nothing to the mob of Jews. They wanted the blood of this man who had only helped, healed, and given them hope. Continue reading “Standing with Pilate”

“The Real McCoy”

Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew chapters five, six and seven is wholly original. Nothing like it had ever been preached before. While Pharisees and scribes almost always cited Old Testament references for their lesson points, Jesus used the Old Testament in a different way.

Six times in Matthew chapter five the phrases, “it was said,” and “but, I say to you,” were given by the Lord. Jesus was showing the truth of the Bible’s teachings in contrast to the narrow, limited and often mistaken applications of Jewish leaders. Continue reading ““The Real McCoy””

My stubborn will

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it!” (Matthew 23:37 NET).

Jesus knew the city of Jerusalem so well. He had witnessed its founding and watched as King David took the city and made it his capital.

But he had also watched Jerusalem overcome by the idolatry and sin that characterized it in the Divided Kingdom and saw it led into bitter captivity to the Babylonians. Continue reading “My stubborn will”

To see our faults

One of the most common problems people have is an inability to see their own faults.

It’s just like the man who always met the preacher at the back of the church on Sunday and said, “You really told ‘em good, preacher!” This went on several Sundays until one day in February when a deep snow fell and the only one in church was that man. The preacher thought, “Well, now’s my chance!” After a lesson designed to point out the man’s faults, the man met the preacher at the back of the church and said, “If they had all been here, you would have really told ‘em good, preacher!” Continue reading “To see our faults”

Home

In the April 2017 edition of Reader’s Digest, former Major League Baseball manager Rich Donnelly wrote, “Baseball is similar to life. You start out at home and get a little older (first base). Then, in adulthood, you’re the furthest from home you’ve ever been (second base). You get older and wiser (third base) and see home plate. Then, you realize that where you want to be is where you already were.”

As Jesus stood before the threshold of death on the cross, he told his disciples they could not go with him (John 13:36). Ever the brash one, Peter took exception. He told the Master that he would follow him anywhere and even give his own life for the Lord. Jesus knew what he said had caused his disciples to become apprehensive. Continue reading “Home”