Own your relationship to God

On the prayer website of a popular religious minister of old, the author titles one of his pages with the idea of owning our relationship to God./1

This is a happy phrase. It encourages us to assume responsibility for our relationship with God. I personally have to pursue it and nourish it. I must recognize that no other pursuit is as noble or worthy as knowing God. Fellowship with my Creator must be the great project of life. This means that no one else can assume responsibility for it. Nor can I blame anyone for failures in it. Continue reading “Own your relationship to God”

Start with God

The world started with God. He spoke, and it came into existence. God existed before all else. He is not created. He created all things.

Human beings started with God. Before the world was created, God planned to make man. In fact, everything else was created for man’s benefit.

Salvation started with God. He gave free will to man, so that the choice to love and serve God would be a real one. But man rejected God. God was not content to leave it at that. He had decided to bring man back to himself. Continue reading “Start with God”

God loves numbers

God loves numbers. He counts the number of hairs on each human head. In fact, he likes numbers so much, he makes things uncountable by human means. The stars cannot be numbered. And who can count the grains of sand in the sea or all the drops in the oceans of the world?

But God knows. “He counts the number of the stars; he names all of them” Psalm 147.4. So he not only counts them, but names them all. Continue reading “God loves numbers”

Like the Lord, despise the shame

Some people have no shame, when they ought to show it. “The righteous person hates anything false, but the wicked person acts in shameful disgrace” Proverbs 13.5. Are there any more wicked than religious figures preaching false doctrines, creating their own kingdoms, living in dissolution, and loving the attention, power, titles and diplomas?

Then there is that sinner who is so overcome by his shame that he fails to come forward and confess his sin. Instead of drawing closer to God, he allows shame to drive him away from the Lord. Jeremiah has it right on this one: “Let us acknowledge our shame. Let us bear the disgrace that we deserve. For we have sinned against the Lord our God …” Jeremiah 3.25. Continue reading “Like the Lord, despise the shame”

Why we can’t ignore attempts against the truth

Error surrounds us. From the first, since the days of Jesus, false teaching has spread its wings. How should we react to it? There are extremes. One can see nothing but an enemy. Another ignores it, wanting to emphasize only the positive.

While we follow the truth in love, we must also maintain balance by warning and exposing error. Here’s why. Continue reading “Why we can’t ignore attempts against the truth”

Four thoughts on 1 Corinthians 16.1-4

In many congregations Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church, in 1 Corinthians 16.1-4, is read before the saints make their offerings. It’s a good passage for that. Below are four thoughts on this blessed text.

1. The blessing of limitations

The church of Jesus Christ does not go beyond what is written, 1 Corinthians 4.6. Our practice is restricted to what is commanded. We do not invent new practices. So in order to finance the Lord’s work and express our solidarity with the brotherhood, the family of faith acts within the limitations of his commandments.

This means at least two things. First, the church only makes offerings. God’s people do not engage in bazaars nor do they sponsor or participate in fund-raising projects to raise monies. Continue reading “Four thoughts on 1 Corinthians 16.1-4”

Of reincarnation and Ash Wednesday

Some people are not content to be resurrected every single morning when they awaken from their beds, nor to have the hope of eternal life once they give up their earthly existence, so they invent the idea of reincarnation. The endless ups and downs of good and bad stretched over a countless number of lives holds no attraction for me.

When man became darkened in his understanding of God’s ways, he still held some sense of justice. Together with conscience and the Ecclesiastesian heart which yearns for eternity, that sense of justice searches beyond mankind (not peoplekind, sorry, Mr. Trudeau) and the present age for balance. Things ought to be different. Justice ought to be done. So let’s imagine another life in which we pay for our bad deeds and people are rewarded according to what they do and say in the flesh. Continue reading “Of reincarnation and Ash Wednesday”

A new-year start with sundry thoughts

Thoughts fly at the beginning of a new year, almost as fast as the time that brought it. Here are a few items on my personal radar that might encourage you or provide you with an idea or two.

¶ I mentioned January 1st that for 2018 I’d be reading Ed Mathews’s daily devotional work, “Plow New Ground.” It’s meaty in dealing with the text and brings powerful application to our walk with God. I hope to post a daily comment and focus question on my microblog. Come follow that or pop in on occasion to exchange some ideas.

¶ Ye olde mission statement is getting tweaked, and a new Bible verse for the year is in the process of being chosen. All that ought to get nailed down this week. In the meantime, read this short piece to be pondered frequently, “Daily Attitudes.” Continue reading “A new-year start with sundry thoughts”

The years of our lives

A year is a God-given division of time. He made the heavenly lights to mark days, seasons, and years. So people — recognizing God’s sovereignty or not — make plans for a year, such as traveling, doing business, and making money, James 4.13.

As people age, it seems that “the years that lie ahead are few” Job 16.22. Even though we may reach the ripe old age of 80, “the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh” Psalm 90.9-10. But Solomon said it doesn’t matter if you lived a thousand years twice, death is still coming for you, Ecclesiastes 6.1-9. Maybe how you live, and what you live for, is what really matters, yes?

The Bible has a recipe for adding years to one’s life: wisdom, Proverbs 4.10; 9.11, and obedience to parents, Deuteronomy 5.16; Ephesians 6.1-3. Diet and exercise are good, but God’s plan for longevity is better. Remember that Hezekiah got 15 years added to his life, but it didn’t turn out so well for him, Isaiah 38.5. Continue reading “The years of our lives”