Jesus did what was right

My wife watches me when we cut grass together. She watches closely. If I start mowing in a way she doesn’t like, she will stop her mower and make hand signals to correct me. I don’t mind. She’s only trying to help.

Jesus was at the synagogue one day and the Scribes and Pharisees were watching him closely. They weren’t watching Jesus to help him. Their motives were darker. Dr. Luke wrote they were watching to see if Jesus would heal someone on the Sabbath. They wanted to accuse him of doing something wrong (Luke 6:7). Continue reading “Jesus did what was right”

Accepting who Jesus is

“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me’” (Matthew 11:2-6 NIV).

Can you imagine what John must have been going through? When Jesus came to him at the Jordan to be immersed he had seen the Spirit descend on Jesus like a dove, identifying him as the promised Messiah. Yet if Jesus was the Messiah, why was John in prison? And why was Jesus doing nothing about it? So he sent his followers to ask Jesus if he really was the Messiah. Continue reading “Accepting who Jesus is”

Remedies for going the distance

“What’s the point?” “Is this worth the effort?” We have all heard such comments and perhaps even asked such questions in certain situations.

When such thoughts reveal a floundering faith in Christ a physician’s care may be required. Just as athletes might need some athletic tape or analgesic spay to press on, Hebrews offers remedies for going the distance in moments of doubt and discouragement.  Continue reading “Remedies for going the distance”

No substitute

It doesn’t happen often, but a new thought struck me one day. I was showing my daughter how to shoot a basketball through the hoop when the thought came. There is one person on earth for whom there is, in my case, no replacement. My friends in Africa, Tennessee and Texas can find other friends, I suppose; if I should pass away, my spouse might (and probably should) seek happiness in another marriage relationship.

But for my little daughter, there would always and only be one Dad. I was irreplaceable. In the event of my death she might be lucky enough to have a good man become her “stepfather,” but I was her one and only “Daddy.” Continue reading “No substitute”

Can Facebook replace the church?

Facebook’s creator and sovereign Mark Zuckerberg said that his product can replace the church. He should really get out more.

He should also read the Bible more.

Unless he considers himself the Savior of All Mankind, Mr. Zuckerberg can never replace the Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, who was sent by the Father to redeem people from sin. It was Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that created the church. The church is not a social club, but rather God’s assembly to spread out, united, across the world with a saving message. Continue reading “Can Facebook replace the church?”

Opening our minds to the truth

Does God give us his word in such a way as to confuse us? Some people think Jesus taught in parables to obfuscate the truth so no one could understand it. Did he?

The answer is no.

It is possible for a person’s mind to be so set against the word of God that such a one would reject what God tries to teach. A good example of this is one of the “hard sayings” of Jesus in John chapter six. The Lord said, “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me” (John 6:57 ESV). Continue reading “Opening our minds to the truth”

Garbage as food

The ultimate recycling technique consists of using your own kitchen vegetable waste to feed the soil in the garden where you grow more vegetables. Our family also adds the weeds that come out of that garden.

This week we enjoyed some sweet corn, although we didn’t grow it.

Corn husks are not the best thing for the compost bin, but they go there anyway. We wouldn’t think of eating them. If I were a better international cook, I would save them for tamales, although they STILL wouldn’t get eaten even after they were used to hold together all that delicious corn and beef goodness. Continue reading “Garbage as food”

The ancestry of Jesus

“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham…” (Matthew 1:1 NIV).

Genealogies. Most do not find these the most exciting part of scripture to read. When the Reader’s Digest, known for publishing condensed versions of books, brought out their Condensed Version of the Bible, guess what they left out? One of the obvious was the genealogies – after all, who wants to read these? Yet these serve a purpose, both in life and in scripture. Continue reading “The ancestry of Jesus”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 1)

“These signs shall follow them that believe…” (Mark 16:17)

Some years back, when I lived in Appalachian Kentucky and conducted a weekly radio program, I aired a program that argued against snake-handling as a biblically-sanctioned religious activity. Some might say that was a more dangerous stunt than the snake-handling itself. During the course of that program (I still have all the manuscripts), I said concerning Mark 16:20:

This passage no more authorizes the use of snakes in worship than it authorizes the drinking of bleach…Yet, if the passage teaches one, it surely teaches the other, does it not? Why snakes and not bleach? Why not snakes and bleach? I’ll tell you why, because you can get away with handling a snake for a long time – especially if you know what you’re doing – but you can’t get away with drinking bleach even once!

Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 1)”

Evaluating a hymn

The first surprise might be that we should evaluate a hymn at all. Yet why should we not? If our hymns are to be sung not only with spirit but with our minds (1 Corinthians 14:15), then we should think about the songs we sing. If our hymns are to allow “the word of Christ [to] dwell in [us] richly as [we] teach and admonish” each other (Colossians 3:16), then we should think about what our hymns teach.

So how ought we to evaluate a song? What questions might we ask of it? Continue reading “Evaluating a hymn”