And after that …

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

There was a film star who supposedly declared, on being told of her imminent death: “I always thought an exception would be made in my case.” Of course there are no exceptions; to be human is to be mortal.

Samuel Johnston once declared that the prospect of one’s own imminent death “wonderfully concentrates the mind.” Continue reading “And after that …”

Under the magnifying glass

It’s time to look for my magnifying glass again.

Someone keeps taking my magnifying glass from my desk because she needs to see something small up close. Magnifying glasses come in handy when we need to enlarge something so details can be seen.

The mother of Jesus placed the Lord under a glass in a passage called “the Magnificat.” In her praise of God in Luke 1:46-56, she zoomed in on the greatness of God so others could see him.

Let’s take a close-up look of God through Mary’s magnifying glass. Each statement begins with the personal pronoun, “he.” Continue reading “Under the magnifying glass”

Runts

“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things” (Romans 14:1 NKJV).

Some years ago we planted a row of Royal Palm trees on the Bible College campus in Bangladesh. They have grown and are now quite tall, stately, and very beautiful. Well, most of them are. There is one, on the far end next to the outer wall, which has grown comparatively little and is still small and weak looking. All were the same size at planting, all put into the same soil and treated identically. Yet one is much smaller than the others. Continue reading “Runts”

What is our verdict?

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offence that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15 ESV).

As the nation of Israel approached the Promised Land, God insured that they would have a fair system of justice. One aspect of this was that eye-witness testimony was only good if it could be corroborated. It wasn’t enough just to have one person testify against someone else.

There was a good reason for this. One person might give false evidence because he did not like the person. There was even a part of the law to deal with this. Continue reading “What is our verdict?”

The farewell

Speaking of the day they left for Africa in 1958 to do mission work, my mother described seeing my little head bobbing up and down on my father’s shoulder as he entered the plane in Kansas City.

“Once a friend remarked, ‘I could never go to another land because our family is very close.’ I wanted to cry out, ‘Our family is very close, too!’” (Donna Mitchell, Among the People of the Sun: Our Years in Africa, page 6). Continue reading “The farewell”

Rest for your souls

Weekends, holidays, vacation time — we want rest! Today we have more time off than people of any age. But some still think that the time they have for rest is little for so much work and responsibility.

Our problem is that the rest we need is for the soul.

In the greater context of chapters 11-12 of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus condemns the Jews for not accepting God’s emissaries (John the Immerser and himself) and for creating and imposing upon others their religious rules. To those willing to accept it, Jesus offers rest for the soul, with these conditions: Continue reading “Rest for your souls”

Standing with Pilate

Pilate was warned concerning Jesus.

Pilate knew Jesus was not guilty of sedition, but he ignored that innocence. He was warned by a troubled wife, but he ignored her warning. He was warned by his own conscience that Jesus was innocent, but he could not withstand the Jews clamoring for the Lord’s death.

“Why? What evil has he done,” Pilate asked knowing the crowd could not answer. The question meant nothing to the mob of Jews. They wanted the blood of this man who had only helped, healed, and given them hope. Continue reading “Standing with Pilate”

Divided loyalties

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24 NKJV).

We recently had a small local tournament in a table game called “carom” that is hugely popular in this part of Asia. There were twelve teams, and to ensure an even number we allowed the young son of one of the staff members to participate. Of course the father and son wound up on different teams (they were chosen by random drawing) and, as you would know it, the very first match of the tournament pitted father’s team against son’s. Continue reading “Divided loyalties”