Spending time reflecting on pain can pay dividends in understanding anger and anxiety. Pain is a physical warning system. Anger and anxiety are emotional warning systems. Both our physical and emotional alert systems can be either healthy or troubled.
“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”
Best I recall, I was baptized 10 January 1971, on a Sunday afternoon, in Gainesville, Arkansas. The following lessons are a few of those that have been impressed upon me during my life in Christ.
I’ve have gone through hard times, financially, emotionally, spiritually, and in our work. Difficulties are often present. Life is much easier than it was for many in past days, but it is never a bed of roses. I’ve learned, however, that God provides all we need for life and godliness, 2 Peter 1.3. This truth tells me to take one day at a time, not worry about tomorrow, and pray for daily bread — basic Sermon on the Mount lessons. Fearmongers abound, so I shut them down and tune them out. Continue reading “Lessons from 50 years of life in Christ”
“And again he entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that he was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And he preached the word to them. Then they came to him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where he was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying” (Mark 2:1-4 NKJV).
Some years ago while visiting churches in the mountains of Nepal I fell from the steps leading into the house in which I was spending several days. The floor level was two or three feet above the ground and the steps were makeshift at best – a few rocks stacked loosely on each other without mortar and without much level matching surface. My fall was not serious and I was uninjured, but as I sat on the ground catching my breath I saw one of the Church’s leaders taking apart the steps and beginning to level and relay them to be more secure. I thought at the time, “This is not his house (he was not actually even a resident of that village); what is he doing working on someone else’s house?” Continue reading “Whose house is it?”
When times are hard it is sometimes difficult to remember how blessed we are. We are living through a time of an unprecedented pandemic in recent history. There is political unrest seen in countries that are looked to as the pillars of democracy. The world seems to be going crazy! Yet in the midst of all of this turmoil we need to remember who we are because of Jesus. As Paul began his letter to the Christians in Ephesus he reminded them – and those who read it today – that we have every spiritual blessing if we are in Christ. Continue reading “We are a blessed people”
2020 is in the rearview mirror. Yet, its impact lumbers forward. What 2021 will be remains to be seen.
In some ways the story of Naomi might resonant with the tenor of our experiences in 2020. Her story descended from pleasantness to dwelling in bitterness. Yet that was not the end of her story, nor need it be our story’s ending. Continue reading “A pleasant or bitter 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”
Humans like the concrete realities. A stone or metal idol is better than an invisible God. The more impressive the religious sanctuary, the better people are supposedly reminded of the greatness of God. Signs of stability and success are house, vehicle, boat, the biggest widescreen available, the best and latest cellphone. People want things they can see and touch.
This human desire enters the church of God. Even things that may not be wrong of themselves can be wrong if they appeal to sight, rather than faith, 2 Corinthians 5.7. It is a real problem and one that ought to be exposed and discussed among us. Denominations have given in to it almost whole-hog. For a long time, what they do winds up having an influence among us. (And that’s a whole ‘nother discussion worthy of having.) Continue reading “A spiritual house”
Have you ever heard of Jesus Christ? Some might call that a foolish question. It would be difficult if not impossible to have lived in the world for the last 2,000 years and not know that name.
Here’s another question: how well do you know Jesus Christ? Some people would immediately dismiss the question as absurd. Many insist they do. As to how well they know him is another question. Continue reading “Do you know Jesus?”
“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching” (2 Timothy 4:14-15, NASB).
Most modern readers of the New Testament are interested in heroic characters, or in the study of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Church – in short we focus on positive things which lift us up. Yet we recognize that the Biblical writers also tell of less wholesome things and people, those whom we might call “villains.” Continue reading “Villains”