What can God do with humble selfless obedience?

A university lectureship director once told a young person who would be socializing with other presenters, “They don’t know who you are. Tell them about yourself.”

How would we behave at that social event? Would following the director’s advice be an example of prideful self-promotion, or might it just be sophisticated pragmatism, or even something else? Continue reading “What can God do with humble selfless obedience?”

Active listening

Active listening. Do you see the apparent contradiction in terms? Yet it is true: Good listeners are active listeners.

I imagine it is because of the low premium most of us place on the art of good listening.

  • Pray that the Lord will help you to be a good hearer of the word: Far be it from us to actually encourage the preacher by showing him that we care about what is taking place!.

Continue reading “Active listening”

The faith of a Canaanite

Jesus left Galilee. Perhaps it was because he wanted a break from the Jews who always sought a “sign.” Perhaps he had tired of the Pharisees.

All we know is he left and went to Tyre and Sidon on the Mediterranean Sea.

Phoenicia was known as a land filled with false gods. Yet, the Gentile woman that came to Jesus had a need. Her daughter suffered from a case of severe demon possession (Matthew 15:22). Continue reading “The faith of a Canaanite”

Your will, not mine

One more week until the madness ends. In my lingering euphoria over having my almost-daily migraines disappear, I agreed to let the local Master Gardeners add my yard to their summer tour of a handful of gardens.

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs16:9, NASB). In other words, things don’t always go as planned! Continue reading “Your will, not mine”

Everything for its purpose

“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble” (Proverbs 16:4, ESV).

When in Asia I am often cautioned to be very careful because of the many dangerous animals and conditions which I may encounter. Cobras, tigers, leopards, and bears are all indigenous to the countries I visit. Other potential hazards range from tiny mosquitoes (vectors for malaria, dengue fever, and other diseases) to wild elephants. One that I see regularly is the mugger crocodile, which throughout its range is responsible for many human fatalities. Continue reading “Everything for its purpose”

Do the deeds you did at the first

In the beginning of John’s Revelation Jesus addressed seven letters to seven congregations in the Roman province of Asia. The first of these is addressed to the Christians in Ephesus.

The congregation in Ephesus had a wonderful beginning. Paul visited the city at the end of his second teaching trip, spending time debating with the Jews in their synagogue. Such was the interest that he returned on his third teaching trip. He spent two years teaching in this Roman city which was steeped in paganism. Such was the success of Paul and his companions that those who made images of Artemis, the local goddess, started a riot in protest. (All of this can be found in Acts 18-19). Continue reading “Do the deeds you did at the first”

Get off the grass

I don’t want to be the old guy who yells at the kids to “get off the grass.” I don’t want to grow into old age speaking in negative terms of the church, succeeding generations, and how everything was just peachy in my day.

To begin with, things weren’t just fine when I was younger. As is true of any generation, the people of God had their struggles against false teaching, arrogance, and apathy. Furthermore, there are many great young people being trained to serve the cause of Christ today. Many are already doing so with distinction. Urging young people to go back to the Bible and follow it completely is not the theological equivalent of yelling at them to “get off the grass,” however. It is sound, urgent advice. It is the theological equivalent of begging people to refrain from polluting the water supply. Continue reading “Get off the grass”

God’s law

God sent his law to the patriarchs and to the Jews not to demonstrate a minimum acceptable requirement, but to help them remain holy. The law was given as the way to live before God.

Mankind promptly made a mess of God’s law. An example of how the Jews of Jesus’ day were so pitiful with their idea of the law is the definition of the word, “neighbor,” in Luke chapter 10. Continue reading “God’s law”

This day only

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, ‘I do not know you.’ ‘ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:11-13, NKJV).

One of my pieces of electronic equipment is damaged, and though it still works for now, I have been looking for a good opportunity to replace it. Returning from an out of town business trip I checked my email and found a good sale on precisely the item I need. The only problem was it was headed “This Day Only”, and dated two days previously. Looks like I missed out. Continue reading “This day only”

Walking in truth

When John wrote his second letter he was concerned with truth as well as with love. And when you think about it, these two go hand in hand: truth and love. In a world where “truth” seems to be defined as whatever a person wants it to be, it is refreshing to read about something definite and concrete called “truth” – and it is based in God’s word.

“The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever…” (2 John 1-2 NIV). Continue reading “Walking in truth”