“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mark 4:9, ESV)
Hearing is a natural phenomenon. We don’t even have to try. It just – happens.
Yet, the physical act of hearing might as well be a miracle. There are so many things that have to be in place, so many things have to go right for it to happen, that it is a wonder we can hear anything at all. Think of how it works, and all of the things that can go wrong. Continue reading “Can I bend your ear?”
“Blessed are the pure in heart” (Mt. 5:8)
God is unpretentious.
What you see – by faith – is exactly what you get.
From the flaming shrub he said to Moses: “I am who I am.”
What you see? Not what you get. Continue reading “Off with the mask”
“Whoever humbles himself…” (Matthew 18:4). Forget who is greatest in the kingdom of Jesus. Minus humility, no one sets foot in the door (Mt. 5:3). What is humility, besides one of the most difficult words to define? We know humility … Continue reading Whittling away at God
“There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him” (Mark 7:15, ESV).
Jesus’ disciples were criticized because they did not follow traditions – traditions designed by elitists to help the ignorant mass from furthering angering their God. If only they could get enough of these oblivious people to obey God (John 7:49), they might succeed in ushering in the Messiah and overthrowing the Roman occupation. Continue reading “The cart before the horse”
“This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2, ESV).
What was intended as an insult was really a compliment: “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2).
Notice the words in the text. The word receive means to wait actively or expectantly. It is reminiscent of the way a mother longs to finally see her newborn child. Jesus welcomed those who were not otherwise welcome. Continue reading “This man receives sinners”
Must we wait for tragedy to make things right? Continue reading Nearsighted fools
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).
This question is meant to be answered. Someone once told me, “We see ourselves with rose-colored glasses; we see others with magnifying glasses.”
Why DO we so easily see the faults of others, but not our own? Continue reading “Can you answer this question?”
“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).
Following Jesus’ baptism, God said: “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). Immediately afterward, Jesus was taken to the wilderness to fast and be tested 40 days.
Satan tempted him there. His temptations all began with, “If you are the son of God…” He began with something that seemed perfectly reasonable: make stones into bread and feed yourself.
Men easily err when they think of what is perfectly reasonable to them, but fail to consult God. Why not turn stones to bread? He had the power. He had the opportunity. Continue reading “Logically right but spiritually wrong”
Can you imagine how earth-shattering the news was that Saul of Tarsus had become a Christian?
He had gone to Damascus from Jerusalem to arrest Christians. He had with him letters from the high priest giving him the authority to do this (Acts 9:1-2 – keep in mind that the only Christians at this time were those who were Jewish). He was willing to travel at least 140 miles (220 km), a journey that would have taken around a week. This was one man who was determined to see Jews who were now following Jesus eradicated. Continue reading “From persecutor to proclaimer”
“Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11 KJV).
On occasion during marital counseling, I ask couples to play a little game. There are no pieces or boards or fake money. It’s a game called “worst case scenario.”
In the passion of the moment, couples are often unable to see the path they are on, and where it is going to lead. We visualize it together and then discuss whether that is a place they’d like to see themselves in six months, a year, or even five years. Continue reading “Worst case scenario”