Rules

The world has never had any rules. The world doesn’t even really like guidelines. How can something like, “Live for today,” qualify for a rule or a guideline?

William Barclay wrote, “One of the characteristics of the world in which we live is the lowering of standards.”[1] Many in the world have no standard at all. The disciple of Christ must live according to the standards of Christ. The only other option is to live in profligacy. Continue reading “Rules”

Mindsets

Is Jesus teaching three disconnected lessons in Luke 16, or is he driving at a specific lesson in the chapter?

Jesus taught with a regard for context. Slicing up portions of his teaching has created misunderstandings through the ages.

In Luke chapter 15, Jesus used three lessons: the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Our duty is to find the lost and teach them the gospel. It was the very reason Jesus was sent into the world (1 Timothy 1:15). Continue reading “Mindsets”

He came for a reason

Why did Jesus come into the world? There are ten statements Jesus makes explaining why he was here. Five of them are in the gospel written by the apostle John.

Jesus said he had come in his father’s name (John 5:43). This means he came by his father’s authority. If a policeman knocks on someone’s door and shouts, “Open in the name of the law,” he means the door must open by the authority of the law.  Jesus talked a great deal about authority because it was important for people to know who was behind his teaching. Continue reading “He came for a reason”

Your verdict

Years ago, my job covering the cops and the courts for a daily newspaper kept me in courtrooms nearly every afternoon. Jury trials were my favorite to cover because it was never quite possible to predict what might happen.

Juries are composed of different types of people. There are those who carry guns and those who don’t. There are those who think everyone is innocent and those who think everyone charged with a crime is guilty. There are those who will vote for the death penalty and those who wouldn’t vote to give that sentence no matter what. Continue reading “Your verdict”

Greater love

Opposition to Jesus was rising. While the Lord would not shrink from opposition, it was too soon to allow a plot against him to succeed. He withdrew to the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 12:15; Mark 3:7-8).

There is a revealing look into the heart of God’s son in Matthew chapter 12. It is seen in Isaiah’s prophecy hundreds of years before Jesus ever came to the world, and it shows precisely what Jesus was most interested in doing. Continue reading “Greater love”

Contradicting the Lord

Peter was only human. Admitting Jesus as the Christ must have taken courage.

But not long after that confession, there was poor Peter telling the son of God he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Jesus was discussing his approaching suffering and death. Then, Peter contradicted God the son by saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22 ESV). Continue reading “Contradicting the Lord”

Always faithful

The motto of the U.S. Marines is “Semper Fidelis.” It means “Always Faithful.”

Our son, in the Marine Corps for six years, knew what this meant. He told us a Marine is always a Marine, and a Marine is always ready to serve.

Jesus knew the kind of servants he needed. The Lord wanted servants who were ready to do his work. He told his disciples, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning: and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, that when he will return from the wedding and knocks they may open to him immediately” (Luke 12:35-36a NKJV). Continue reading “Always faithful”

Are you worried?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease killed more than 630,000 people in 2016. That is a death from heart disease every 40 seconds. Cancer was the second most prevalent cause of death taking 596,000 people.

USA Today reported the top ten things that worry Americans are: government corruption, terrorist attacks, not enough money for the future, becoming a victim of terror, firearm restrictions, closely related people dying, economic or financial collapse, identity theft, closely related people getting sick, and Obamacare.

Not one of those things (or any other) should worry a faithful child of God. Continue reading “Are you worried?”

Worse than the first

Jesus began Luke chapter 11 giving us an example of prayer. He continued teaching his disciples that God is keenly interested in giving his people what they need, but that they must also keep asking him, keep seeking him and keep knocking on the door.

After the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the prince of demons, the Lord turned to them and told them that if that were true, they had nothing to worry about: he was sure to fail. But if what he was doing had God’s approval, then the kingdom of heaven had truly come. Continue reading “Worse than the first”

Go and do the same

A lawyer asked a medical examiner, “Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?” The medical examiner smiled and said, “All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.”

There are all kinds of attorneys, aren’t there? There are good ones, inept ones, experienced, inexperienced. It’s just like every other work in life, isn’t it?

A lawyer asked Jesus a question one day: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus, in Luke chapter 10, simply asked him what the law said. The expert in the law quoted the Shema which instructed one to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength and to love one’s neighbor. This scribe answered the question correctly. Jesus said he did. Continue reading “Go and do the same”