Being understood

The Christians at Corinth were blessed in having been given many ‘spiritual gifts’. These were miraculous in nature – they did not have them through their own study or ability.

One of these gifts in particular seems to have caused some problems, possibly in those having it thinking they were greater than other Christians. This gift is often translated as “speaking in tongues”; if we were to translate it into modern English it would be “speaking in other languages”. The ‘tongues’ referred to in the New Testament were not ecstatic syllables which meant nothing, but rather languages. Although unknown to those who did not know them, they were known by those who spoke them. Continue reading “Being understood”

Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God

In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding (Proverbs 10:13, ASV).

By Ron Thomas — The words of this proverb are not hard to understand. Wisdom comes from only one of two sources. The source of wisdom is either from God or not-God. There are no other options. Continue reading “Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God”

God judges because he loves

Theologians make their fine distinctions and hard classifications. They like the old idea of taking one thing at a time. They consider God’s holiness, then move on to his love. Such an approach is probably acceptable, as far as it goes.

The various and wonderful aspects of God’s nature and personality are a single unit. Westerners like to break things down into their component units. The ancient Hebrews, however, liked to pull things together, considering them as a whole. The former group excels in analysis; the latter, in synthesis.

When it comes to the one true God, the Hebrew approach recommends itself. If God is one, his nature partakes of that oneness. Continue reading “God judges because he loves”

Bring a big bucket

Has worship become stale? Do Sundays sometimes leave you wanting? The solution is not to jazz up the worship assembly but to reassess your attitude toward God. Perhaps you just want to get more out of worship. An adjustment in action may be warranted.

Worship is primarily about God. But in His wisdom, God made worship beneficial to us as well. We should all want to make worship mean more. But how?

Worship begins far from the meeting place. Every day helps to shape the next. Every decision informs the subsequent choice. Weekly worship of God is modeled after our daily devotion to him.

Continue reading “Bring a big bucket”

Jesus the supreme example of suffering

Some people make it almost a life’s goal to avoid or remove any type of discomfort in their lives. They live by a dangerous misconception that happiness depends upon the absence of suffering and pain. Jesus’ gave us the supreme example of humility and also the supreme example of suffering. Following him is the key to joy and meaning.

Originally, man was created to enjoy life with God without suffering or pain. (Perhaps the deep-seated aversion to them and attempts to avoid them rise from this truth.) The Garden of Eden was the perfect place for man’s fellowship (relationship) with God. He had all he wanted or needed. Nothing lacked. Everything abounded in supply and variety. In the Garden, Adam and Eve had no worries, no cares, no difficulties. This was God’s eternal design. Continue reading “Jesus the supreme example of suffering”

Assumptions

Some of the biggest mistakes people make come from assumptions. 

The people of Nazareth made assumptions about Jesus that were very wrong. When he visited his hometown, Nazareth, Jesus attended the synagogue and taught there. It was an opportunity to tell people the truth about himself and God.

As Jesus taught the hometown folks, many of them became indignant (Matthew 13:54). One said, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” That was an assumption. These people had seen Jesus all his life. They figured they knew who he was. But, oh, how little they did know! Continue reading “Assumptions”

Big rocks go on the bottom to make a good road

The big stuff

“But also, for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, . . .” (2 Peter 1:5 NKJV).

I have watched as a crew of workers built a road (or driveway) on private property in Bangladesh. First they dug out the soil to a pre-determined depth, then filled it with pieces of concrete broken into chunks the size of one’s doubled fists and larger. After those are packed and leveled there will be a layer of brick chips several inches thick, and ultimately a cement pavement.

The order of fill is of great importance as the varied materials in the base strengthen and support the smooth surface. If the smaller chips were put in first, on the bottom, they would eventually be pressed into the dirt and the road would become uneven and broken. The larger concrete chunks will stay at the correct level. Continue reading “The big stuff”

Love and knowledge

Sometimes living as a Christian can seem confusing. Unlike the Law of Moses given to Israel, there isn’t a list of “do’s and don’ts” detailing how we should live. Instead we find principles we can use and examples we can see that help us determine how we should live.

One of the big ‘issues’ that the Christians in the first century had to face was in eating. Although this might seem strange to us, we need to realise the problem was not necessarily in the food itself, but in people’s perception of who we were, based on what we were eating. In particular this had to do with food that had been sacrificed to idols. Continue reading “Love and knowledge”

Hate and love

Hatred stirreth up strifes; But love covereth all transgressions (Proverbs 10:12, ASV).

By Ron Thomas — I have come to understand we live in a society that hardly knows the meaning of the word racism, just like they hardly know the meaning of the word hate. Without giving attention to the first word, let us give attention to the second.

The word hate has broad application in Scripture; it can be associated with intense dislike, coupled with animosity to something not so intense. Continue reading “Hate and love”

The voice of God

By Johnny O. Trail — At the close of World War II, there was some concern that Japan would not surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had already been devastated by atomic bombs, and America continued to bomb various regions of Japan as the USA prepared a third nuclear bomb. To further encourage the Japanese to surrender, Americans dropped pamphlets from airplanes.

When the Japanese emperor, Hirohito, came on broadcast radio to announce the surrender, it was the first time that many of his subjects had ever heard his voice. Many of Hirohito’s followers believed he was a “demi-god.”/1 Some who heard him surrender to the Americans were hearing the voice of their “god” for the very first time.

For a moment, one might consider what it means to truly hear the voice of God. Continue reading “The voice of God”