Scripture foils attempts to reduce gospel by calling it ‘exhortation’

In 1 Thessalonians 2.3, a section of the letter where he defends himself against accusations of disinterest or self-interest, Paul described his evangelistic work among the Thessalonians as “our exhortation.”

For the appeal we make does not come from error or impurity or with deceit, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we declare it, not to please people but God, who examines our hearts.

The quotation above, from the NET Bible, translates “our exhortation” as “the appeal we make.” An exhortation is an urgent appeal for someone to take a course of action. An exhortation tells someone, “You ought to do this.” Continue reading “Scripture foils attempts to reduce gospel by calling it ‘exhortation’”

Greater love

Opposition to Jesus was rising. While the Lord would not shrink from opposition, it was too soon to allow a plot against him to succeed. He withdrew to the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 12:15; Mark 3:7-8).

There is a revealing look into the heart of God’s son in Matthew chapter 12. It is seen in Isaiah’s prophecy hundreds of years before Jesus ever came to the world, and it shows precisely what Jesus was most interested in doing. Continue reading “Greater love”

Preserving the best

Autumn is in the air! Well, maybe not the cool, crisp feel of the first frost that looms nearer and nearer, because it’s still pretty hot in the sunny South. But the calendar has let us know that the days are now shorter than the nights, as we passed the autumnal equinox.

That means that many of us are still canning, freezing, or dehydrating the last of the harvest. I DO love the look of a pantry full of colorful jars of tomato sauce, peaches, jams, and everything good the garden and our good Lord had to offer this summer. Continue reading “Preserving the best”

Contending with horses

“If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5-6 NKJV).

Complaints are universal. Every generation compares its experiences with those who come after it, sure that the things of previous times were much harder than those of the present. The weather was harsher, conditions were much more difficult, and accomplishments were won at far greater effort. In many cases those comparisons are not without truth. Continue reading “Contending with horses”

Daily renewal

Have you noticed that we are getting older everyday? Most of us can’t help but notice that what we used to do is getting harder to do, we are carrying more weight and struggle to get rid of it, and when we look in the mirror there are more lines and grey than there used to be! Growing older is a part of life.

When many see these things happening to them they start to despair. What is happening to me? Or maybe – how can this happen to me?! Usually the despair is because we are seeing only what is happening to our physical bodies as we are faced more each day with our earthly mortality.

But there is more to life than our physical body and what we are able and not able to do. The secret to facing growing older is in what we see as being important to us. The apostle Paul expressed it this way. Continue reading “Daily renewal”

Snakes, demons and gasoline (part 6)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 6)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

What, if any, limitations did God put upon miracles, according to the Scripture? We noted in the previous article that miracles were certainly limited in that only apostles could confer miraculous gifts to others.

But someone might respond, “If there are still apostles living today, then miraculous gifts could still be exercised and passed on by them.”

The Mormon religion, for example, believes that there are modern-day apostles. If this was the case, then it would seem at least possible for miracles to be both performed and passed on by the laying on of their hands. Could this be true? Continue reading “Snakes, demons and gasoline (part 6)”

Contemporary Christian music

Recently I was astonished to hear someone say his main method of teaching was to use “Contemporary Christian music” in his Bible classes. He pointed out that the lyrics of many rock, rap and country songs were sinful and degrading, while the Contemporary Christian songs featured lyrics that were “spiritual.”

There is no question that a great deal of popular music is trashy, mean-spirited and hateful. The Christian should turn that music off just as surely as he would walk out of a movie that is laced through with ungodly content.

You do walk out of such movies, don’t you? Continue reading “Contemporary Christian music”

Contradicting the Lord

Peter was only human. Admitting Jesus as the Christ must have taken courage.

But not long after that confession, there was poor Peter telling the son of God he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Jesus was discussing his approaching suffering and death. Then, Peter contradicted God the son by saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22 ESV). Continue reading “Contradicting the Lord”

Why mountains?

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2 NKJV).

I have been blessed with opportunities to travel to many parts of the earth. I have visited five of the seven continents, and at least thirty different countries. I have visited some of the world’s harshest deserts, beaches on many different oceans, seas and lakes, tiny villages, and huge metropolitan areas. Of all the places and geographic categories that I have experienced, my overwhelming favorite is the mountains. From the moderate heights of the Appalachians in the eastern U.S., to the towering Himalayas, there is just something awesome and wonderful about all of the mountain ranges I have seen. Continue reading “Why mountains?”

True love

In the upper room, Jesus gave the apostles a new commandment, to love each other. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV).

This new commandment is echoed throughout the letters written by the apostles and writers. John expands on it in his first letter, telling us what love is and what love is not. Continue reading “True love”