Bad romance advice

The Wise Man found four things mysterious to him: the way of a snake on a rock, a ship in the seas, an eagle in the sky, and most baffling of all, “the way of a man with a maid” (Proverbs 30:19). If this relationship mystified Solomon we might be forgiven for being a little perplexed ourselves!

Because I teach at a college, I am around a lot of young people interested in some kind of romantic attachment (though some might not admit it, I know that they are). Sometimes I offer the following bad romantic advice: Continue reading “Bad romance advice”

Salvation comes by knowledge

It is impossible to do the will of God without knowing the will of God. Salvation comes by knowledge of how to be forgiven of sin. “You will make his people know that they will be saved. They will be saved by having their sins forgiven” Luke 1.77 ICB. God’s grace and peace come to us and are multiplied for us “through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” 2 Peter 1.2.

Salvation does not happen automatically, like the sun rising and setting. So we must put ourselves to the task of learning what salvation is all about. The gospel must be learned, Colossians 1.7. We must “be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is” Ephesians 5.17.

We ought to ask such questions as these: Continue reading “Salvation comes by knowledge”

Shrinkage

“Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need” (Exodus 16:17-18 NKJV).

Over the years I have traveled in more than a score of countries and to five of the world’s seven continents. I am an unapologetic souvenir shopper and have brought back probably hundreds of carvings, boxes, shawls, art works, pieces of clothing, and other “doo-dads,” including at least a few things from everywhere I have been. Continue reading “Shrinkage”

Praise our magnificent God!

“Praise the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are magnificent. You are robed in splendor and majesty. He covers himself with light as if it were a garment. He stretches out the skies like a tent curtain, and lays the beams of the upper rooms of his palace on the rain clouds. He makes the clouds his chariot, and travels along on the wings of the wind” (Psalm 104:1-3 NET).

What a wonderful description of God! He is magnificent, robed in splendour and majesty, wearing light as if it were a garment, living and travelling in a place outside of our earth. How appropriate that John, in his first letter, would remind us that “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Light, that which dispels the darkness of sin, is not only what God “wears” but it is what God is. Continue reading “Praise our magnificent God!”

Good news: how we can receive Jesus

If we wish to know how to respond to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we need to look at stories where Christians taught non-Christians how to respond to Jesus. We should not expect letters written to Christians and which address concerns of the church to communicate what a non-Christian needs to know in order to become a disciple. Continue reading “Good news: how we can receive Jesus”

Then write something better

Here is a conversation I ran across about a year ago:

“Why aren’t more Christians reading and sharing articles written by members of the church?” To which another person wrote, “We will when you write something worthwhile.”

I will admit that there are some articles on the Internet by our fellowship that are either poorly written or are tactless in tone. Writing good stuff, in any format, is the result of hard work, numerous revisions and prayer. Good writing is no accident. I would add that it is important that the writer cares about the church and cares about the lost. There is far too much ranting and wrath spewed by those who are supposed to be God’s children. Continue reading “Then write something better”

Trendscoffer (Part 2)

You might say that this is the “flip side” to the last column published here. I hope my traditional scoffing at new and trendy things hasn’t sunk in so deeply that I reject anything new without considering its value, especially given my failure with the new Echibeckia I outlined in my last column.

As with almost anything, moderation and middle ground is the answer, as well as careful consideration with an open mind and open Bible.

While we don’t run to embrace the newest things, we don’t run the other way, either. Continue reading “Trendscoffer (Part 2)”

Which is the real thing?

“Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. For though he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:3-6 NKJV).

I once had my email hacked while I was out of the country, then used to try to raise money fraudulently by writing to my home congregation in my name, saying I had an emergency and needed several thousand dollars to be sent to me immediately. Those in the church office recognized the appeal as false because, as one reported to me later, they asked, “Have you ever seen anything written by Mike with that many grammatical mistakes in it?” Maybe all that high school and college English had some value after all. Continue reading “Which is the real thing?”

Teach me your way

Psalm 86 is identified as a “prayer of David.” He began by asking YHVH, the God of Israel, to listen and answer him, because “I am faithful” (Psalm 86:2). God is always “abounding in faithful love to all who call on you” (Psalm 86:5). God is always faithful to his people and God wants his people to be faithful. On this basis, we can “call on you in the day of my distress, for you will answer me” (Psalm 86:7). This is one of the great privileges of being a child of God.

Notice how David described God: “For you, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive” (Psalm 86:5). So often our view of God is that he is just waiting to pounce on us when we do wrong. This is not the view we find of God in the scriptures. God is loving and kind – he not only wants what is best for us but gives us those things that we need. Continue reading “Teach me your way”