Walk in the light

Have you ever tried to walk on an unfamiliar path when it is dark? I can tell you from experience that it isn’t easy. Over the years I have enjoyed hillwalking (hiking, as others might refer to it). Sometimes we might set out a bit later than planned, or perhaps underestimated the time it would take us to complete the day’s walk. As the sun set we would still be on the hill. Descending a hill in the dark on a rough, unfamiliar path can be difficult. It always helped to carry a torch (flashlight), in our backpacks to use if we ended up being out after sunset. The light would illuminate the path.

This is the same condition we find ourselves spiritually when we are without light. Notice how this is described by the apostle John. Continue reading “Walk in the light”

The meekness and gentleness of Christ

During his ministry to the Gentiles, Paul was unfairly assailed by character assassins. They attacked not only his teachings but how he taught. Some in Corinth accused him of being weak in person and strong in letter.

In addressing this indictment, Paul appealed to the character of Christ. Paul mentions the “meekness and gentleness” of our Lord (2 Corinthians 10:1). To some, Paul’s gentleness was a flaw. To Paul, it was an imitation of God.

In his great invitation to the masses, Jesus called “all who labor and are heavy laden” to come to him not because he was strong, but because he was “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:28-30). Continue reading “The meekness and gentleness of Christ”

Obsessed with the Bible

You worship the Bible! You only talk about the Bible! You’re obsessed with the Bible!

Christians have heard these accusations time and again. In a way, they are right. We are people of the Bible. Because it’s the only way to respect Christ as Lord.

Only the Bible is the word of God. The Bible claims to be his word and proves it. Some affirm the Bible is proof for the existence of God. We can always start with the Bible, with any person, anywhere, to help a soul come to God.

Do we worship the Bible? We do not worship any single copy of the Scriptures, nor any translation. (KJV-only people come close.) If the Bible is the word of God, it deserves our highest respect and allegiance. So the Psalmist thinks: Continue reading “Obsessed with the Bible”

Self-Identification

Only a few seeds were dropped into the short furrows beside the wire cattle panels. The panels would later support the vines and the long, heavy fruit of the Trombino squash. Only a few plants were needed for this prolific and delicious vegetable! I pictured the delicious “noodles” that could be made by using a spiral cutter with the coming harvest. The steaming red marinara sauce, the parmesan and mozzarella topping it off, and maybe a few meatballs would complete a hearty meal without the carbohydrates of pasta. 

Zuchino Rampicante, also known as Trombino squash, is prized for its firm flesh without the mushy seedy part until the very last few inches on the three-foot long fruits. It has all the taste of zucchini without the tendency to turn too soft when cooked. As an added bonus, the squash can be allowed to ripen on the vine for a later harvest of an orange-fleshed butternut type squash, with a long narrow neck that’s easy to cut and peel. Summer AND winter squash on one plant!  Continue reading “Self-Identification”

Extreme requirements of those who serve God

“Thus the Lord said to me: ‘Go and get yourself a linen sash, and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water’” (Jeremiah 13:1, NKJV).

I am often amazed at how many modern Christians seem to consider their religion to be non-demanding. This is often reflected in the denial that God would require any inconvenience or excessive demands from them. They also assume that God wants them to have a prosperous and enjoyable life, whatever may be required to make that happen.

Whenever I am confronted with such attitudes I almost unfailingly think of the lives of the prophets of Israel as related to us in the Old Testament. Jeremiah, often called “The Weeping Prophet,” is a particular example of God’s extreme requirements of those who would serve him. Continue reading “Extreme requirements of those who serve God”

Living different lives

One of the struggles Christians must face is our relationship with our society and the life that it offers us. Because people do not like anyone to be different or do anything other than what they do, there is always the pressure to conform to the standards of ‘everyone else’. How often have we heard as an explanation as to why someone chose to do something, “But everyone is doing it!” As Paul was writing to the Christians in Corinth, he had to deal with this very problem.

“Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, ‘I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16 NET) Continue reading “Living different lives”

Something dependable

Our world is inundated with competing voices, conflicting perspectives and constant strife. From political posturing and divergent medical opinions to contrasting economic theories and social viewpoints, we are surrounded by what seems like chaos.

Ever long for a quiet moment to reflect upon something you can trust? In 1 Timothy Paul served up three wonderful nuggets. The first and third offer a profound impact for all of our lives, if we will embrace them. Continue reading “Something dependable”

Just the good news

If you watch the news, you’ll know that negative news leads. In fact, the negative news might be all you see. This is not a political statement, as this has been the case regardless of who is in power. Certainly, there is enough negative news to go around today, but the reason that negative news dominates is because it gets ratings. The people want to hear the bad stuff.

It is an interesting contrast then that on Sundays, many of these same folks demand only good news. Many do not want to hear of sin, punishment, or the wrath of God. They do not want to hear about the need for repentance or the command to live holy lives. Continue reading “Just the good news”

What it means to be rich and what to do about it

There are two classes of people in this world: the rich and those who want to be rich. So said someone, and the division is not far from the mark. We might add a third: those who pretend not to care about riches.

The apostle Paul addressed both groups toward the end of his first letter to Timothy. He has words for those who want to get rich in 1 Timothy 6.9-10. Later, he gives instructions for those who are rich, 1 Timothy 6.17-19.

His words to be passed on to the rich hold three contrasts that are important to note: Continue reading “What it means to be rich and what to do about it”

Wishful thinking?

“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with persistence” (Romans 8:24-25 NKJV).

The apostle Paul listed as three abiding virtues, “faith, hope, love, these three” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Modern skeptics often dismiss one of these, hope, as nothing more than wishful thinking and at best a delusion. One hears the promise of eternal life derogatorily called “pie in the sky by and by.” The emphasis of the world is upon immediate gratification – obtaining what one needs or wants right now without delay.

What exactly is hope, and how is it different from faith? Both place trust in the unseen and expect future fulfillment of promises. Continue reading “Wishful thinking?”