“Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull, Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them” (Matthew 13:14-15 NKJV).
I admit that my eyes are not as sharp as they may have once been, nor my ears as sensitive. Yet I am still amazed at the ability of the people of South Asia to see tiny details at surprising distances. When going through the jungles of the national parks, our local guides will see deer and other animals bedded down in thickets that I can barely detect even when they are pointed out to me. Here on our campus birds that are well within the canopy of leaves are identified long before I can catch even a flicker of motion. Continue reading “Eyes that do not see”
“When he had concluded saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. A centurion’s servant, who was highly valued by him, was sick and about to die. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, requesting him to come and save the life of his servant. When they reached Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy for you to grant this, because he loves our nation and has built us a synagogue’” (Luke 7:1-5 CSB).
This centurion seems to have been an exceptional Roman. Stationed in Galilee, he became involved in the local life, even to the point of building a synagogue for the Jews of that town. Perhaps he was attracted to the God they worshipped and their way of life. If you visit Capernaum today you will see extensive excavations of the first century town and an impressive synagogue that would have dominated the town even in Jesus’ day. The current synagogue dates from the 4th century but it is built on the foundation of the first century synagogue, so you get an idea of the size of the one built by this Roman centurion. Continue reading “A faith that amazed Jesus”
Who is this God who invites us to profoundly reorder our lives to their very core? After all, the call to discipleship is the invitation to radically align our allegiances, beliefs, values and behaviors according to God’s character and word.
By revisiting the stories of Moses and the Israelites, we can learn something about this God who desires to transform us. Continue reading “The God who calls”
There was a man in Jerusalem who was born blind. One Sabbath Jesus stopped as he was passing by. While his followers argued over why the man was blind, Jesus made mud from his own saliva and the dust on the ground, put it on the blind man’s eyelids, and told him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (John 9:7 NET). The blind man made his way there, washed the mud off his eyes, and came back seeing. He had been healed!
His neighbors could tell there was something different about him. Some weren’t sure if it was really him, but the man kept insisting that it really was. That led to the obvious question: “How then were you made to see?” (John 9:10). The man then told his neighbors what had happened. They wanted to meet Jesus for themselves, but the formerly blind man did not know where he had gone (after all, he had been blind and had gone to wash off the mud). Continue reading “Seeing as clearly as a blind man”
This three-stranded cord will not be broken, Ecclesiastes 4.12. No earthly powers can prevail against them. With them the word of the Lord will continue to grow and prevail, Acts 19.20. Whoever possesses them will be counted blessed and will stand against all foes and discouragements.
We who belong to the light put them on as we learn to look for the Lord’s coming, 1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11. They guarantee victory. Continue reading “The most powerful trio in the world”
People learn to prioritize at a very early age.
Parents usually give their youngsters tasks around the house called, “chores.” Those little jobs help teach responsibility. Children are also expected to complete their homework each day. Both are important things for kids to remember.
In college, students learn to make reading and studying priorities for successful college life. When the students become adults, there are work and social priorities.
What is the most important priority of all? The Bible teaches the most important things are spiritual things. Continue reading “Think important things”
Remember the old line about the aliens from space – you know, the ones in a flying saucer with green scales and antennae – where they arrive on our blue planet and ask that great philosophical question:
“Take me to your leader.”
So who would you take him to? The president of our country? A five star general? A captain of industry? Oprah? Continue reading “The way up is down”
The world has never had any rules. The world doesn’t even really like guidelines. How can something like, “Live for today,” qualify for a rule or a guideline?
William Barclay wrote, “One of the characteristics of the world in which we live is the lowering of standards.” Many in the world have no standard at all. The disciple of Christ must live according to the standards of Christ. The only other option is to live in profligacy. Continue reading “Rules”
“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”
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principles and power” (Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV).
Since the earliest days of Christianity there have been those who sought to add elements to the gospel message which were not originally a part of it. Jewish Christians sought ways to include the requirements of the Mosaic Law – specifically circumcision (Acts 15:1; Galatians 1:7). Others proposed various elements of pagan religion and philosophy (Colossians 2:8, 18-23). Continue reading “Complete in him”