The glory of the church

In his book Family of God: A Study of the New Testament Church, Batsell Barrett Baxter’s first chapter is entitled, “The Glory of the Church.” It’s a fine title and a marvelous way to begin the subject. Brother Baxter gave eight reasons why the church is glorious: its origin, its foundation, its beginning, its relationship, its universality, its simplicity, and its destiny. It’s worth reading and appreciating.

His chapter needs no rewriting or revision. So allow me to take another tack that complements the points above. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, and the first of many problems he tackled was that of divisiveness. In the longest section of the letter (chapters 1-4), he wrote, Continue reading “The glory of the church”

Into your hands

Jesus was arrested and stood trial at night in violation of the Sanhedrin’s own rules. He had been beaten and slapped by the Temple’s soldiers. When Pilate received the case, the Jews changed the charge from blasphemy to treason because they knew the Romans would not crucify Jesus except for a violation of Roman law. He was judged innocent, yet he was scourged, mistreated and crucified.

After several hours on the cross, the Son of God neared the end of his life. As death drew near, he said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” (Luke 23:46 NET). Continue reading “Into your hands”

One minute late

Last Sunday, our time changed here in Brazil on the same date as in the US. That’s unusual. Usually, it occurs before, but was put off a few weeks because of the runoff presidential election last month. The US went off Daylight Savings Time, and Brazil, or much of it anyway, went on. So our time difference from Central Time, where most of our family members are, went, overnight, from two to fours hours.

They say that Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of DST. Whatever caused this normally practical and good-ideas man to come up with this, we’ll never know. Must have been the same day he dreamed up the post office.

On Sunday Brazil held its country-wide National Exam, which also functions as a college-entrance exam. Some people missed getting in for the exam because we lost an hour. One girl was one minute late, after the gates had been closed, and missed her chance. When the gates close, no pleading will open them. Continue reading “One minute late”

God’s judgments are true and just

“After these things I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a vast throng in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, because his judgments are true and just. For he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and has avenged the blood of his servants poured out by her own hands!’” (Revelation 19:1-2 NET).

As we mentioned in our previous article, John’s Revelation is not the easiest to understand. There are many explanations and interpretations, but there are also eternal truths in the word-pictures that John used to paint a picture for us. Continue reading “God’s judgments are true and just”

Where is our security?

“Then someone from the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator between you two?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out and guard yourself from all types of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions’” (Luke 12:13-15 NET).

Two men came to Jesus with what one of them considered to be a problem: he didn’t think he was getting a fair share of the inheritance. We don’t know the circumstances of his complaint, but it could have been as simple as the way inheritance laws were set up in God’s Law. The firstborn son would receive a double portion of the inheritance (see Deuteronomy 21:15-17). If that is the case here, the younger son might be complaining that the inheritance was not split equally and was hoping Jesus would change the inheritance law so he could have more.

Jesus could see what the real problem was: greed. So he told them a story. Continue reading “Where is our security?”

Daily renewal

Have you noticed that we are getting older everyday? Most of us can’t help but notice that what we used to do is getting harder to do, we are carrying more weight and struggle to get rid of it, and when we look in the mirror there are more lines and grey than there used to be! Growing older is a part of life.

When many see these things happening to them they start to despair. What is happening to me? Or maybe – how can this happen to me?! Usually the despair is because we are seeing only what is happening to our physical bodies as we are faced more each day with our earthly mortality.

But there is more to life than our physical body and what we are able and not able to do. The secret to facing growing older is in what we see as being important to us. The apostle Paul expressed it this way. Continue reading “Daily renewal”

Taking action so that others will believe in our ‘favorable future’

Researchers think they’ve discovered a strange phenomenon in the area of persuasion. The more a person believes strongly in a future, the more likely he thinks that others will eventually come around to his belief. But there’s more.

“… partisans believe they are so correct that others will eventually come to see the obviousness of their correctness,” says behavioral scientist Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School, lead author on the research. “Ironically, our findings indicate that this belief in a favorable future may diminish the likelihood that people will take action to ensure that the favorable future becomes reality.

Continue reading “Taking action so that others will believe in our ‘favorable future’”

Sell your soul to the devil?

“The quickest way to sell your soul to the devil,” a Wicca website explains, “is to join the church of Satan.” As the teenagers sometimes say, “well, duh!”

This organization, established in 1966, “teaches members to take pride in having the strength and dedication to implement the tools of Satan and the wisdom to recognize the Unseen in our society.” It goes on, “You don’t need to give some other organization your hard-earned money to sell your soul … understand that there is no such thing as a soul.” Continue reading “Sell your soul to the devil?”

Abundant life is a life sacrificed

What is the abundant life?

Jesus said that he came that people might have an abundant life (John 10:10). The prosperity preachers think that Jesus meant he came so that we would be rich in money and possessions. How truly they misunderstand the son of God!

A study of John 10 shows exactly what Jesus meant. The Lord began by saying he is the door of the sheep (John 10:1, 7). After the sheep were placed in an enclosure for the night, the shepherd put his body across the entrance. Wolves would, therefore, have to take the shepherd’s life before gaining access to the sheep. Continue reading “Abundant life is a life sacrificed”

What will you give?

How much is your soul worth?

Some would take umbrage to such a question and say, “My soul is worth more than any amount of money because it is eternal,” and that would be right. Would it surprise you to know, however, there are people who would happily settle for much less?

Some people don’t mind being religious as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. Just filling a pew on Sunday gives them the feeling that they are religious and good people. When the church asks them to give or help on a regular basis, they refuse. In just such a way haven’t they sold their souls in exchange for much less? Continue reading “What will you give?”