Lessons from 50 years of life in Christ

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.

God provides

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”

A spiritual 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”

Lessons worthy of a virus

The internet is full of memes about how bad the year 2020 has been. It has indeed had its difficulties. Some have died because of a virus that people cannot even agree on the name; others have suffered horribly, including some of our own writers.

In spite of the hardship that the sufferings this year have brought to many, the Lord continues to work among his people and to fulfill his promise to work all things together for good for those who love him, Romans 8.28.

It would be an easy thing to cite a list of concrete events and happenings how the Lord has brought blessing to his people. We’ll leave the comments section open for that, if someone has a contribution he would like to make. Continue reading “Lessons worthy of a virus”

The sovereignty of God and the preposition of peace

At every turn of events in history, and in the midst of every disaster that falls upon mankind, and, as well, when personal tragedy knocks our feet out from under us, we need assurance that God is sovereign, that he is in control, that he is guiding our lives toward his benevolent outcome.

Not only when hurts and surprises happen, but every moment we need the knowledge that God rules the universe and moves the world.

God’s servant, James, mentions God’s rule and will early in his letter, writing to an oppressed people of God. He first disavows the idea that God is out to get us, James 1.13. Then he asserts that everything that is generous and good comes from God, James 1.17. Immediately thereafter, James makes a pronouncement of God’s great plan as he takes in all creation: Continue reading “The sovereignty of God and the preposition of peace”

The world and the Christian

“It’s complicated.” Modern man, who has largely discarded God’s standards in all things, often describes his relationships in this manner. The Christian’s relationship with the world is not complicated, that is, it is not difficult to discern, but it does have several facets that deserve attention.

I. Destruction of the world

Christians must always remember that the physical, material world will be destroyed, when Christ comes again. If we are merely cursory Bible readers, chapter 3 of 2 Peter, among other passages, still reminds us powerfully. Continue reading “The world and the Christian”

For the sins of the whole world

Religions are often identified with certain people groups. They are limited, mostly, to certain regions of the world. They make up a part of the culture of those groups. They do not always welcome outsiders. There are a few so-called world religions, but most of these are also limited.

Jesus died as the “atoning sacrifice” sent by God, “not only for our sins but also for the whole world” 1 John 2.1-2. This is a staggering affirmation. The apostle John writes it in the context of the need of a group of Christians to have a sacrifice for their sins and to be forgiven even after their conversion. It implies several things. Continue reading “For the sins of the whole world”

The Savior of the world

Since earliest times people and nations have looked to earthly figures and political powers to save them. The people of Israel hoped Egypt would protect them from Assyria. Brazilians have long talked about a salvador da pátria (savior of the nation) to rescue them from their problems. It is a human trait to wish for, await, or appeal to someone to save.

Inevitably, however, humans disappoint. The prophet Isaiah wrote about Pharoah: Continue reading “The Savior of the world”

The creation of the world

In Job 38—39, after all the speeches and accusations are made, God appears to the suffering patriarch, pins him to the wall, and peppers him with question after question about the creation of the world and how it is maintained. He makes clear several things about being Creator and Sustainer of the Universe:

1. God is sovereign

This was Job’s big lesson to learn. He was allowed to question God. Now he had to learn to trust God. He knew so little, and could do even less — we know so much more, after all, we are privy to the heavenly conversation between God and the devil in the beginning of the book. What has been revealed to us is clear, but how little we still know! The best scientists still haven’t figured out the nature of the universe. How much less we know of the universe’s Creator! Continue reading “The creation of the world”

You are reaching the goal. Right now.

November is a big month for writers and authors. It’s the National (American) Novel-Writing Month, a yearly challenge for people anywhere to write a novel in a month’s time, with a challenge of so many words a day. Other people have been inspired by it to create challenges to write daily during November for nonfiction and academic writings.

I like April when the National, and now Global, Poetry Writing Month rolls around, but November is the big month for writing challenges.

Humans like challenges and deadlines. Many if not most people live by competing against others, against the clock, against the current. This probably qualifies as eustress, Hans Selye’s term for beneficial stress: Continue reading “You are reaching the goal. Right now.”