If our lives are unfolding as expected, wonderful. However, if we can relate to the expression that “expectations are just premeditated resentments,” if crises of health, finances or injustice have slashed our dreams, then we will want some relief. Continue reading “Avoiding hopelessness and bitterness”
Throughout history God’s people have derived courage, comfort and strength from knowing the battle belongs to the Lord. David confronted Goliath. King Jehoshaphat and the men of Judah marched out against a vast army.
Today Christians encourage each other in song singing, “The battle belongs to the Lord.” If we allow the armor of God metaphor in Ephesians 6 to suggest a spiritual battle background lying behind the Ephesian letter, another reassurance of God’s victory comes into view.
Continue reading “The battle belongs to the Lord again”
Do people sometimes regard doctrine as splitting insignificant hairs and being irrelevant? While humanity has indeed invented some hair splitting antics, biblical teaching is anything but trivial or irrelevant.
What Paul wrote about God’s judgment reveals volumes about the state of humanity’s nature. Does this have practical ramifications? You betcha. Continue reading “If babies inherit Adam’s sin, Paul’s argument fails”
It is an amazing prayer. The initial request was so simple. The heart of an apostle spilled forth seeking God to enlighten his people.
This was not a request for God’s people to grasp some grand nebulous understanding. With laser precision Paul prayed for God to enlighten his people in very specific ways, ways that have inspired and continue to infuse lives with direction and purpose. Continue reading “When God’s power intersects our lives”
Paul’s words in Ephesians 1 are clear. Nevertheless, a story about a letter can perhaps provide a fresh appreciation for his message and what it means for us.
Although I certainly did not graduate with a degree in chemistry and chances are you have not either, let’s pretend we did. Now imagine receiving a letter from our alma mater’s chemistry chairperson: “The president of our university chose us in chemistry before our chemistry program ever began to be educated and prepared for employment.” Continue reading “The chosen in Christ”
We know the message and it comforts our hearts. In his grace God pours out salvation upon us, the undeserving. We can be redeemed, made holy and adopted as God’s people because our salvation rests upon Christ, not our righteousness. Furthermore, the cleansing power of the Messiah’s blood is greater than any sin we might bring to him.
So, how compatible is grace with the command to make every effort to live up to God’s calling? If we feel like these are opposing ideas, we would not be alone. Continue reading “Grace & making effort: Are they compatible?”
Peaceful unity is beautiful, whereas evil promotes cantankerous divisiveness. We recognize this. However, are we aware just how profoundly solidarity saturates God’s will at all levels?
Paul’s writings outline God’s solutions for a fractured cosmos, a divided church and broken relationships. Should we be surprised that at its core the same solution keeps appearing? Continue reading “Three divisive scenarios – God’s one unifying solution”
In spite of the magical power of dragon talk, as Bilbo the Hobbit surveyed the underbelly of the powerful dragon Smaug, Bilbo thought to himself:
“Why there is a large patch in the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell!”
As Smaug would later discover when a metal dart penetrated his chest, although dragons might feel impenetrable and wield great power, genuine vulnerabilities can exist. Lacking some vital knowledge, Smaug mistakenly placed confidence in his invincibility. Continue reading “Vulnerabilities in the sinner’s prayer”
His white hair spoke to his experience. However, his voice belied his age as his tone and words tumbled forth with enthusiasm. “In the last month or so I have seen scripture in a whole new light.” With this statement he explained how an idea had opened up his eyes to what had previously alluded him.
He anticipated with joy the adventure of pressing forward studying God’s word. What had so changed his understanding and perspective of God’s word? Continue reading “Scripture is mostly stream, not stain glass”
From being vaults of security to becoming resources for caring, Jesus sought to alter our worlds from the inside out. Sometimes when his transforming message is presented, an unintended consequence occurs. Continue reading “From treasures to tools”