The transformer of soul and place and time

God transforms lives. This we know already. In immersion, we are created anew. We are born again, John 3.3, 5. We become new creatures. The old passes away.

“So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5.17.

The physical and material conditions of life count for little. Continue reading “The transformer of soul and place and time”

Sufficient evidence

“The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’” (John 20:25).

Any teacher or student will recognize the effectiveness of visual aids. We learn through our senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) and the more of our senses which are involved in any experience, the more likely it is that we will perceive that experience correctly and remember it. Continue reading “Sufficient evidence”

Solomon’s love song

When we think of Solomon there are probably two things that come quickly to mind. We think of his wisdom, which he asked God for, and we think of his wealth. We might also remember that he built the first temple for the glory and worship of God.

What often does not come to mind was that he was a prolific writer and in particular, a writer of Hebrew poetry. We have recorded that “He composed 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. He produced manuals on botany, describing every kind of plant, from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on walls. He also produced manuals on biology, describing animals, birds, insects, and fish” (1 Kings 4:32-33 NET). Sadly, we don’t have most of these writings preserved. Continue reading “Solomon’s love song”

How do I pray for the lost?

Last week after a Bible class a lady asked, “How should I pray for lost individuals?” Her question might seem a bit strange. This senior from a retirement home proceeded to explain, “If God has chosen who is going to be saved, then what business is it of mine to pray for someone who is lost?”

Another lady piped in, “The Bible says that God wants all people to repent.” The first lady continued, “These ideas of election and freewill are confusing. I don’t know how to pray for lost people.” Continue reading “How do I pray for the lost?”

The beauty of Christ

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:1-3 ESV).

Beauty is attractive. There was “not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than [Saul]” (1 Samuel 9:2). It was likely that Saul’s looks and height made him appealing to the people as king. But his character failings were why he was rejected as king.

Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah is the clearest description we have of the physical appearance of Jesus. This prophecy informs us that Jesus had “no beauty that we should desire him.” God did not want people drawn to Jesus for superficial reasons like with Saul. Continue reading “The beauty of Christ”

The convert is teaching me

The church needs more evangelists. I’ve said it before, and I say it again: The church needs, more than anything, more personal evangelists. It doesn’t need better buildings. Nor does it need more pulpit preachers, which puts me in a category of almost one. Nor does it need more mass media — this from one who works both in print and online, in both Portuguese and English.

Yes, what the church really, really needs is more evangelists.

That’s what the Lord told us to pray for.

We don’t need slicker and prettier programs, either. We need the people of God talking to the people of the world. Continue reading “The convert is teaching me”

Passing the hat

“On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:2 NKJV).

An old country ballad (“Picking Time”) includes the lyrics, “Last Sunday morning when they passed the hat, it was still nearly empty back where I sat.” I don’t remember an assembly of the church in the United States where an actual hat was used to gather the collection. However, not long ago in Asia we visited a small congregation where, when it was time for the offering, it was discovered that there was no bag or pan or other vessel suitable for the purpose. I did however have a hat with me, so it was used. I enjoyed sharing with them the expression “passing the hat” and its tradition in our country. Continue reading “Passing the hat”

Following and worshipping God

It took Solomon seven years to build the temple for God. He began it in the fourth year of his reign and completed it in the eleventh year (1 Kings 6:37-38). He also built a palace for himself which took another thirteen years to build (1 Kings 7:1-12).

Once the temple and all the items to be used in the worship of God was completed, Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to be placed in the inner sanctuary. Israel’s elders, tribal leaders, and all the men of Israel came to witness the transfer of the Ark to the temple. Continue reading “Following and worshipping God”