Prayer, praise and pie

Notwithstanding the raging Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving. According to the Thanksgiving story, the roots for this holiday stretch back to 1621 when the Pilgrims of Plymouth shared a feast with the Wampanoag people.

While many today view Thanksgiving primarily as a time for family, feasting and the shopping floodgates swinging open, Christians will often seize upon this day as an opportunity to focus upward. Prayers of thanksgiving and praise for God’s loving kindness will ascend before enjoying turkey and pie.

Considering this year’s difficulties and what might yet lie ahead, perhaps Psalm 34 can serve as a template for this year’s Thanksgiving. It calls us to remember as well as look forward. Continue reading “Prayer, praise and pie”

Saved through childbearing! What is this? (2)

A library story can contribute toward illuminating the phrase, “But she will be saved through childbearing.” Clarity, however, might challenge our perceptions on salvation as well as our views on gender roles within worship. Or it might be 1 Timothy 2:15 will confirm what we already accept as true.

Our reaction will likely reveal more about us than it does Paul’s message. His message never changed. Continue reading “Saved through childbearing! What is this? (2)”

Saved through childbearing! What is this? (1)

Among Paul’s instructions to Timothy we discover what appears to be a curious assertion. Perhaps we’ve heard an explanation satisfying our curiosity quelling any further inquiry. Yet those explanations might melt away upon closer inspection.

So what did Paul write? “But she will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint” 1 Timothy 2:15. Continue reading “Saved through childbearing! What is this? (1)”

Isaiah’s New Heavens

Everyone knows what Isaiah’s new heavens and new earth is all about, right? Spoiler alert! Some regard Isaiah 65:17-19; 66:22 as referring to the end of time. Others understand it to have been a prophesy informing post-exilic Israel how God would rebuild worship in Jerusalem in their time.

Why such divergent interpretations? The short answer involves assumptions, methods and goals. Whether we realize it or not, this is also why we hold onto whatever views we might have.

Continue reading “Isaiah’s New Heavens”

Scripture – make it a daily habit

As a leader, the apostle Paul needed to address big yet simple questions. How do Christians prepare themselves for godly service? His first letter to Timothy reveals one of his solutions.

Given our hectic American lifestyle, we need a simple practical plan for embedding his solution into our daily routine. We need more than simply knowing what is helpful.  Continue reading “Scripture – make it a daily habit”

The other “I am” statements

Through seven great “I am” metaphors, John powerfully communicated Jesus’ purpose. Jesus’ claims are readily recognizable: I am the bread of life; I am the light of the world; I am the door of the sheep, I am the good shepherd; I am the resurrection and the life; I am the way, the truth and the life; and I am the true vine.

Yet, these are not his only “I am” assertions in John’s Gospel. On several other occasions Jesus simply said, “I am” without completing the predicate. Perhaps the most well-known example of these is “Before Abaham was, I am” (John 8:58). Continue reading “The other “I am” statements”