From heaven or from men

The Tuesday before his crucifixion Jesus made his way into the temple. He was approached by Jewish leaders who questioned his authority, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23).

It was a good question, though obviously not born out of sincerity. The need for authority in religious practice often is regrettably ignored, forgotten, or abused. Continue reading “From heaven or from men”

Giving up glory

Heaven is the place we all want to go. Heaven is the greatest place imaginable because it is the dwelling place of Deity. Why would anyone willingly leave heaven?

I once had a discussion with someone who feared sinning and being cast out of heaven. I suggested that while angels were cast out (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6), it was not possible for us to sin and thus be banished from God’s presence.

Sin requires temptation (James 1:14, 15). There will be no temptations for us in heaven, and thus no possibility to sin. This is a great comfort to me, for I desperately want to live forever with my Lord. Once my glorified body is taken to heaven I can not imagine ever wishing to leave. Continue reading “Giving up glory”

Heaven is like an egg

During our family devotional time, my five year old, with bright eyes remarked, “Heaven is like an egg.” I was bewildered. How could heaven be anything like an egg?

Perhaps you clicked this article simply because the strangeness of the title. You don’t have to read to the end for an explanation. What he meant is that heaven is perfectly suited for us, like an egg is for an unhatched chick. Continue reading “Heaven is like an egg”

God’s dwelling place

I want to go to heaven, how about you?

Each day here only further reinforces my desire. But why? What is the motivation? Why is heaven so wonderful?

We find glimpses of heaven throughout scripture: the garden in Eden, the tabernacle/temple, and the church. What do these seemingly disparate places have in common? The common theme running through these places is God’s presence. Continue reading “God’s dwelling place”

Through the door

I recently heard a travel writer encourage people who were considering traveling abroad to just go through the door. Doors are opportunities or obstacles. Often our perspective determines reality. If we view doors as obstacles, that is what they are. To this travel writer, one needed to see the doors as opportunities for adventure, growth, and perspective.

Scripture speaks often of doors, both literal and figurative. Continue reading “Through the door”

By the blood

The story of Christianity is the story of victory at great cost.

Hunted, beaten, starved, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered, this was the life for many Christians in the first century. Just as their Savior, they chose temporal suffering for eternal satisfaction.

This contrast between victory and loss is seen in vivid colors in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Following the great worship scene in chapter four, we find an equally awesome display of worship to the Son viewed as a Lion. But that glorious praiseworthy setting is enhanced by the suffering of that Son who became a Lamb slain (Revelation 5:6-8). Continue reading “By the blood”

Family is everything, unless Jesus is

Michael J. Fox is quoted as saying, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Mr. Fox is not alone, this is a common refrain among many.

Family is important. Some disregard, ignore, or abuse their family. Many give themselves over to their work, their hobbies, or their friends at the expense of their children or spouse. Many of the most successful people have chosen business over family. Continue reading “Family is everything, unless Jesus is”

In whom there is no deceit

The beginning of an undertaking is thrilling. The difficulties have not yet appeared and all the promise awaits. Jesus’ calling of his disciples is quite captivating.

Two sets of brothers kick off the disciples’ walk with Jesus.

Andrew’s invitation to Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) carries with it all the expectation of the Old Testament and all the hope for the future. Jesus gives Cephas a new name, “Peter,” which previews the confession he would make three years later.

James and John, sons of Zebedee, leave their father and their business to follow Jesus. Later they would request seats at the right and left hand of Jesus (Mark 10:35-37). Continue reading “In whom there is no deceit”

The meekness and gentleness of Christ

During his ministry to the Gentiles, Paul was unfairly assailed by character assassins. They attacked not only his teachings but how he taught. Some in Corinth accused him of being weak in person and strong in letter.

In addressing this indictment, Paul appealed to the character of Christ. Paul mentions the “meekness and gentleness” of our Lord (2 Corinthians 10:1). To some, Paul’s gentleness was a flaw. To Paul, it was an imitation of God.

In his great invitation to the masses, Jesus called “all who labor and are heavy laden” to come to him not because he was strong, but because he was “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:28-30). Continue reading “The meekness and gentleness of Christ”