Being a child is an exciting, terrifying time. Growth can occur at extreme rates. Every activity is new, or otherwise offers some new experience. But with all this growth, there are inevitable growing pains. Children who are learning to walk often fall. Children who are learning to climb often fall from less than comfortable heights. Bumps and bruises often accompany growth. Yet growth must be pursued, with vim and vigor. To children, stubbed toes and a bloody nose are small prices to pay for the reward of increased speed and dexterity.
Just as physical, emotional, and intellectual growth can be painful for children, spiritual growth can be painful for adults. But unlike most children, whose desire for growth is insatiable, adults are often content to wane rather than wax. Learning new things can be awkward, and we are often very uncomfortable in our awkwardness. So, instead of developing, we accept dying.
Continue reading “Stubbed toes and a bloody nose”
Prayer is one of the great privileges of God’s children. The Lord has an open-door policy. We may approach his throne at any time. We may ask anything of him, according to his will. We may express any sentiment from the heart. He hears and answers our prayers.
Besides being a great privilege, prayer is also a great duty of the Christian. It is required in order to maintain and strengthen our relationship with God. It is a must for advancing the gospel in the world. Brotherly love requires that we pray often for the family of faith.
One small indication of the duty of prayer comes from the Lord Jesus, as Luke introduces one of his parables. Continue reading “Prayer as the Christian’s duty”
Don’t me and my family require the highest degree of concern and protection? Me first. Then, maybe, I can do something or other for my family. That is, if they’re good to me. After that, if there’s any extra time, money, or good will, we can think about church and neighbors, and throw in a stranger or two for good measure. And for my country? Nah, why bother with patriotism for a nation well on its journey down the tubes?
Isn’t that pretty much the idea these days of priorities and commitments? Gone is any sense of duty beyond me and mine.
So the following words from Lot sound like they come from another planet. Continue reading “Blind to duty”
In our Urbanova congregation, we memorize a Bible verse each week. For this twenty-fourth week of 2019, our verse is Ecclesiastes 12.13. I also used it as the text for my message June 9.
This month at Forthright Magazine, we highlight the theme of duty. So I’d like to share the points I mentioned in my message yesterday from Solomon’s great conclusion to his book.
He wrote in verses 13-14: Continue reading “What it means to be truly human, or the whole duty of man”
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62, ESV).
When I had a more fitting location than my present one, I used to grow a decent-size garden. We tried to grow pretty much everything: tomatoes, beans, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, weeds.
We grew a lot of weeds.
These days, I only have space for a few tomato plants. Not nearly as rewarding, but much less work. Continue reading “Don’t Look Back”
Have you ever despaired of life itself? Has grief ever weighed so heavily upon you that to even rise from your bed seemed impossible? Have you ever been overwhelmed by the stress and strain of sin that to continue on would take more strength than you have?
When those unbearable loads seem to pin us to the floor, God has blessed us with burden bearers.
Continue reading “To bear the unbearable burden”
The columnists of Forthright have been invited to devote themselves during the month of June to the topic of duty. They are free to write about any topic. But we’ll highlight on the front page articles tagged with the word “duty.” A few articles of the past tagged this way are already at the top of the front page. Check them out.
The Old Testament speaks frequently of duties of the priest, Levites, and the king. The NLT has Shecaniah saying to Ezra the scribe, who was laid low by the sins of the people: Continue reading “Our duty to get up and take action”
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV).
When I first began traveling to South Asia I was told that there was, until recently, no word in their languages for “thank you.” The word, “Dhanyabhad” had been invented during the period of British control and is now shared by several south Asian peoples to express gratitude. But until that occurred there was little thanksgiving acknowledged.
Generally speaking, if a culture lacks a word in their language for a thing (whether tangible or intangible) that thing is unknown to, or at least unused by, them. If they don’t say “thank you,” it is safe to conclude that gratitude is not a valued emotion. Continue reading “Giving thanks”
By John Kaniecki
“And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me” (Mathew 25:40 NET).
If one looks at this statement literally it is perhaps one of the most powerful statements in the Bible. That is, the way that you treat any human being is the way that you are treating Jesus. If Jesus came up to you and said “I’m hungry”, I am sure that you would give him all of the food that you had. But what about that drug-addicted man, dressed in rags, who is always begging by the side of the road. According to this scripture, there is no difference between the two. Continue reading “The least of them”
Christians have a responsibility as citizens to behave and to participate in life in such a way as to bring honor and glory to God. We do this through our acts of kindness and through our responses to the world around us.
The world seems to be more and more hostile to Christianity. Alternative lifestyles and religions are challenging the very morals we share in Christ. Rather than retreat and allow the world to overcome us, we should take our roles as citizens seriously. Let us make every impact for Christ we can in our society. If we sit silent and do nothing, the devil won’t. He intends to thwart every good and godly thing. Continue reading “A Christian Duty”