Are we ready?

“As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, ‘Do not tell anyone about the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.’ The disciples asked him, ‘Why then do the experts in the law say that Elijah must come first?’ He answered, ‘Elijah does indeed come first and will restore all things. And I tell you that Elijah has already come. Yet they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted. In the same way, the Son of Man will suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:9-13 NET).

Earlier in Matthew 17, Peter, James, and John were privileged to witness what we call Jesus’ transfiguration and also to see Moses and Elijah conversing with Jesus. They heard the voice of God which told them to listen to Jesus. Continue reading “Are we ready?”

Praying at night

According to Luke, Jesus had the habit of seeking solitary places for prayer (Luke 5:16). Throughout this Gospel, Luke highlights the importance of prayer in Jesus’ life. We get the impression that Jesus did not add prayer to his lifestyle, rather, prayer was at the center enabling each step along his journey.

At several important junctures within his retelling of the story, Luke draws our attention to the time Jesus spent in prayer. On two such occasions Jesus went without sleep in order to pray.
Continue reading “Praying at night”

Give us the tools

It was February 9, 1941. The speaker had a distinctly upper-class English accent, his syntax old-fashioned. You could see the stocky, bulldog determination in his stance and hear the growl of his voice. The man he addressed was the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Winston Churchill was the speaker. His country faced its most perilous hour; NAZI Germany threatened to overwhelm Europe and Britain, and Churchill stood almost entirely alone in the effort to stop them. They needed the help of the United States. But Churchill was a proud man. He knew his people were up to the task of defending their shores. What he needed from the United States was the benefit of its vast natural resources, and the talent and industry of her people. Continue reading “Give us the tools”

Messengers of good

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘ Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7 NKJV).

One great blessing to the modern missionary (or any traveler to remote places) is the capability of immediate communication almost everywhere. Thirty years ago I might be able to contact my family at home one time in a month. Now I can call or email almost as frequently as I choose, from nearly anywhere I might be, and do so at a fraction of the previous cost. Continue reading “Messengers of good”

Jesus came to call sinners

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ he said to him. So he got up and followed him. As Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this he said, ‘Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. Go and learn what this saying means: “I want mercy and not sacrifice.” For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Matthew 9:9-13 NET).

Have you noticed those whom Jesus spent time with? He wasn’t concerned to appear politically correct and only spend time with the movers and thinkers of his day. His concern was the everyday, normal people. Continue reading “Jesus came to call sinners”

Why can’t I judge?

The problem with criticism is that the victim simply cannot win. A critic does not feel the need to be consistent, or fair, simply critical. He is condemned if he does, and condemned if he does not.

But note that the standard that will be used to judge me will be the standard with which I judge others (Matthew 7:12). Is that a comforting thought? When you think of God using this criteria to judge you, do you sigh with relief or shake in fear? Continue reading “Why can’t I judge?”

The prominent ones

All that hard work, and the garden was a failure…or so it seemed. The beautiful Kwanzan cherry tree was dying out, and the eagerly awaited billows of pink fluffy blooms did not materialize in the splendor of years gone by. 

The tree was the highlight of the patio garden; the central hub for the whole yard, really. Without its expected glory, everything else was lackluster in comparison.

It didn’t matter that the violas under the disappointing tree were particularly robust and colorful this year. The graceful nodding of the Hawera daffodils went largely unnoticed as well. Continue reading “The prominent ones”

Memories

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3 NKJV).

As I go back through some of the pictures I have taken over the past 30 years of traveling in other countries, many memories come to mind. Some are of events. Many have to do with places I have been to and seen. Most of those memories, however, are of people whom I have encountered. These vary from near-hostile confrontations to casual business dealings and to deep and abiding friendships and fellowship in Christ. Continue reading “Memories”