Choosing the best

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:38-42 ESV).

When we think about those people who were close to Jesus, there is a family of siblings who seem to have held a special place in his heart. This was the family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus (although Lazarus is not mentioned here). We don’t know when Jesus met this family – it could have been that this is his first visit with them. Although it isn’t found in this text, we know that they lived in the village of Bethany, which was about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Jerusalem. Today we would have said it was a suburb, but back in Jesus’ day it would have taken about a half-hour to walk from one to the other. Continue reading “Choosing the best”

Unused and neglected

There is a reason why the patio chairs are not being used much in June. It has been oppressively hot, and dining outside isn’t nearly as pleasant as it was in April and May.

However, it wasn’t until I saw the morning glory vine reaching all the way up to the top of the bistro chair that I realized how long it had been since we sat there for a morning coffee!

It’s not just the lack of use of that little table and two chairs that bothered me. It is just a symptom of a life that gets filled with chores and cares, and which doesn’t have room for a little quiet time as a couple. Continue reading “Unused and neglected”

Becoming a mature Christian

“We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ. Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:28-29 NET).

Do we want to be mature as Christians? I believe that is a goal that all Christians desire and should be working towards. But how do we become a mature Christian? Continue reading “Becoming a mature Christian”

Can we understand the Bible?

Women often complain that the man they’re with does not communicate. “He must be the strong silent type,” they will say. “I wish he would talk. He talks all day at work, but he doesn’t talk with me.”

Of course, if a man (or a woman, for that matter), wants his partner to do something in a certain way, he might consider using actual words to communicate this. Continue reading “Can we understand the Bible?”

One thing you should know about the Bible

This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).

A recent article told how people can acquire more clicks on their websites by using “listicles.” Listicle is a newly coined term that refers to the trend of framing articles around lists. The titles often sound like this:

  1. “Four things you need to know about Forthright.net”
  2. “Five reasons why Forthright.net is the best site you’ll visit this week.”
  3. “Three websites you must visit right now (hint: you’re on one now).”

Continue reading “One thing you should know about the Bible”

The church’s education

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1).

We can’t just decide on the basis of ignorance or prejudice what a church’s educational program should look like. We will have to ask what the Bible says about the process and aims of such a program. As it turns out, the Bible places a great deal of emphasis on this subject! Continue reading “The church’s education”

How to be blessed by a study of Ephesians

The Epistle to the Ephesians is filled with great teachings about the church, grace, redemption, holiness, unity and more. Yet, to really get the most out of the epistle, we must slow down and notice the small words. There we will find buried treasure.

It’s easy to go too fast when we study the Bible, hoping to catch the major principles. But, we can look at the first chapter of Ephesians and learn the error of our ways. Paul is very precise as a writer and each word is loaded with power. Continue reading “How to be blessed by a study of Ephesians”

From that time

From that time Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 4:17).

If you open any harmony on the four gospels, you will see numerous divisions in the life of Christ, like: Birth, Early Galilean Ministry, Judean Ministry, Samaria, Perea and Decapolis, Later Galilean Ministry, etc. But there is a division I came across years ago in the life of Christ that has helped me more than any other. It is not found in chapter and verse divisions, and it does not involve the usual thematic divisions of the harmonies. It marks a profound shift in Jesus’ focus during his ministry. Continue reading “From that time”

Most important thing to successful Bible study

“Have ye never read?” (Mark 2:25, AV)

If you are a Christian, wouldn’t it be insulting for someone to ask you if you actually read your Bible? Surely you’ve read your Bible, right? Most Christians do, I would assume. Or, should I assume that? I’ve always been told that assumptions are bad things, and in this case, perhaps it is as poor an assumption as any. Continue reading “Most important thing to successful Bible study”

The Unknown

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We are so blessed in this digital age to have a means to take photographs, and then immediately re-take them if the result is not what we had imagined it would be. That process used to take days or weeks, while the opportunity passed.

Here in the dead of winter, I am cheered by my screensaver flashing the glories of the bygone summer garden.

As with the photos of old, we don’t always label the digital ones. This morning, I was attempting to remedy this shortcoming.

“Yes, that was a pretty daylily,” I thought, as I came upon a photo. Was it “Peach Magnolia?” The label simply said “img.36732.jpg,” or something similar and probably longer. Continue reading “The Unknown”