Faith of our fathers

June is the month for garden tours featuring daylilies in Tennessee, as they are usually at their peak. Today was no exception. With two friends as “enablers,” I went shopping at another friend’s beautiful garden for a few more daylilies to add to my burgeoning collection.

Some new varieties will now grace the garden, with features such as ruffled edges, petaloid segments, and vivid eye zones.

Of course the garden still contains a few “heirloom” daylilies, in stark contrast to some of today’s fancy new additions. I like the old, but also love the new. Continue reading “Faith of our fathers”

Are you pulling my leg (off)?

If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell…” (Matthew 5:29-30; see also: Mark 9:43-47).

Would you be surprised to learn that heaven will cost you an arm and a leg? And maybe even an eye?

I believe the above passage presents a great – indeed, an insurmountable – difficulty for those who believe that we incur no cost in our own salvation. Does our obedience to the gospel turn God’s grace into a payment for services rendered?  Continue reading “Are you pulling my leg (off)?”

Teaching others to teach others

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV).

As the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, Moses spent his last days teaching them once again about God and how they were to live for him. Continue reading “Teaching others to teach others”

You people of little faith

Just before Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, his disciples were with him (Matthew 5:1). From at least that point until Peter confessed Jesus is the Christ his disciples were constantly present. They heard lesson after lesson and saw miracle after miracle. So, why on three occasions in the book of Matthew did he accuse them as being people of “little faith?”

In Matthew 8, Jesus had been teaching people in Capernaum and then “got into a boat.” God’s word doesn’t say why Jesus got into a boat, but what happens afterward is good evidence why. Jesus was asleep when a storm developed and threatened to toss everyone overboard.  The disciples woke the Master saying, “Lord, save us! We are about to die! (Matthew 8:25 NET). Jesus said, “Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?” Continue reading “You people of little faith”

The carpenter on the other side of the table

“Which of these three…was neighbor?” (Luke 10:36, NASB).

Did you hear about Lizzie Velaquez from Austin, Texas, a.k.a., “The World’s Ugliest Woman?” who was searching YouTube and stumbled upon a video (which had been viewed over 4 million times) urging her to kill herself because she was so ugly?

She decided to leave her self-pity behind, and parlayed her new-found fame to become an anti-bullying advocate all over the nation! What an admirable way to turn the tables on her bullies! Continue reading “The carpenter on the other side of the table”

Attaching or detaching the heart?

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

The Christian assigns proper value, and prioritizes accordingly. The most valuable things in life are spiritual things. Worship, prayer, study, goodwill, example, influence, sharing the gospel.

These are easily lost in the mix of life’s activities.

These are easily shuffled to the bottom of the deck.

These are easily forgotten or misplaced. Continue reading “Attaching or detaching the heart?”

Firmly rooted and knit together

This is the time of year when the careful gardener is painfully aware of root systems in the garden; especially when they are insufficient.

Rainfall has been almost nonexistent for the past several weeks, and many of the newer trees and shrubs are showing signs of stress. The brilliant colors that herald autumn are muted even in the more established trees, because of insufficient water. Continue reading “Firmly rooted and knit together”

One church: the intersection of scripture and today’s world

Money, politics and religion can stir up controversy. Within Christendom, opinions about church run deep. Yet, most agree what the New Testament teaches, such as its insistence there is one church. Disagreement arises over how this teaching should be applied to our world.

Can we understand how the Bible’s teaching regarding one church relates to our world? Can the confusion be untangled? I believe yes.  Continue reading “One church: the intersection of scripture and today’s world”