A House built on the rock

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it because it had been well built” (Luke 6:46-48)

A life lived without Jesus’ words is like a house without a foundation (Luke 6:49). Jesus’ words, which came from the Father (John 12:49), are truth (John 17:17), and truth sets men free (John 8:32). Continue reading “A House built on the rock”

Lost in the Lord’s house

It was the worst of times. Through fifty-five years, Manasseh did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah. Not only did he rebuild the high places which were used to worship the Baals, he even “built altars in the house of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 33:4). The depravity of Manasseh was seen in that “he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom” (2 Chronicles 33:6).

Manasseh’s degradation infected the people of Israel, and he “led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel” (2 Chronicles 33:9). Though Manasseh humbled himself and repented at the end of his life, the damage of his fifty-five years was immense. Continue reading “Lost in the Lord’s house”

Born for this

Moments of great consequence summon the best out of us. It is at this moment that some might claim, “I was born for this.”

Never had a moment been as consequential, nor the need as great, as when God’s plan to save man approached its consummation.

Never had a person entered the world with more expectation, nor greater burden than when God clothed himself in flesh.

Never had one so perfect for the task met it with such perfection. Truly Jesus was born for this. Continue reading “Born for this”

Before birth

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Birth is a beginning, but not the ultimate beginning. It is true for all of us that life begins before birth.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of God’s Sovereignty in his life prior to his physical birth: “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name” (Isaiah 49:1). Continue reading “Before birth”

Lord over nothing at all

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is Lord over all.

In the book of John, the apostle makes use of seven signs (2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-9; 6:1-14; 6:16-21; 9:1-12; 11:1-46), which demonstrate Jesus’ power over quality, distance, time, quantity, natural law, misfortune, and death. /1

The gospel according to Luke presents Jesus as Lord over and again. The fisherman Peter was presented with the magnitude of Jesus’ sovereignty when the current anglers, at the Lord’s direction, caught more fish than their boats could hold. Peter, convinced of Jesus’ preeminence, fell to his feet and pleaded with the Master to depart from him (Luke 5:1-11). Continue reading “Lord over nothing at all”

Birth is a beginning

I was privileged to be present for the birth of all three of my boys. Each experience was wonderfully unique. The first is the most memorable. As second-year preaching school students we lived in a small two bedroom apartment. Our midwife was over an hour away. She didn’t make it. Armed with a three-page emergency list entitled “What To Do If Your Midwife Is Not Present,” we welcomed our little boy into our arms. I’d never held a newborn before, not like that. It was life-changing.

The anticipation is realized happiness. The anxiousness is replaced with relief. The pain melts into pride. This is our boy. Continue reading “Birth is a beginning”

A Sinner, the Savior, and Simon

When Jesus was invited to a meal, the whole neighborhood might come. The common people wanted to see and hear Jesus, a rabbi who was often in conflict with the Pharisees. When Jesus was invited to dine with a Pharisee, it was one part evening entertainment and one part religious instruction.

When Jesus came to dine at Simon’s house (Luke 7:36-50), word spread. A woman who is identified as “a sinner” comes to see Jesus. But she is not content with standing on the periphery, or peering in to get a fleeting glimpse. She moves through the crowd to the feet of the Savior. Weeping, she wipes the tears off his feet with her hair, kisses his feet, and pours over them expensive ointment.

The reaction by Simon was one of disgust and rejection. He rejects Jesus as a prophet because he certainly doesn’t know who is touching him for she is a sinner (Luke 7:39). Continue reading “A Sinner, the Savior, and Simon”

John’s doubt, our challenge

The forerunner for the Messiah was in prison, punished for presuming to speak truth to power. Though John had pointed others to Jesus, he still had followers. These disciples reported to John all that Jesus had been doing (Luke 7:18), most notably raising a widow’s only son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17).

When John hears of these wondrous miracles, he is dismayed. He sends two disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Luke 7:19). Perhaps John is discouraged because Jesus is doing these wonderful things and John is confined. Perhaps John was anticipating the Messiah’s work to be quickly accomplished.

Remember, this is the one who announced with such conviction, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). It is he who received confirmation from the Father that Jesus is “the Son of God” (John 1:34). John is no stranger to the nature of the one called Jesus. But prison and possible death likely has a way of causing a person to need reassurance. Continue reading “John’s doubt, our challenge”

The Ruler of this world

When man sinned in the garden, Satan won a significant victory. Sin entered the world. Man was separated from his God. The world, fashioned by the Creator, was spoiled. The struggle for men’s hearts became apparent.

Yes, Satan won a victory, but it would not be lasting. The God who declares the end from the beginning showed us the ending, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

God would be victorious over sin, over sin’s effects, and over sin’s greatest proponent. But that victory would not always be evident. At times, in the struggle with sin, Satan would appear to have the upper hand. Continue reading “The Ruler of this world”