Growing pains

Occasionally my oldest will complain to his mother of pains. This is normal. Occasionally I complain to his mother of pains. This is also normal. But the two are not the same. The former holds the promise of growth. The later holds the promise of more pain.

“Growing pains without growth is just pain.”/1

The life of a Christian is one of growth. We begin as infants (1 Peter 2:2), but we must not stay there. Just as physical growth involves pain, so does spiritual growth. It takes effort to become fully mature (Hebrews 5:14). We must push ourselves, get outside of our comfort zones to thrive. Continue reading “Growing pains”

Is your God handicapped?

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Has the Lord’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not’” (Numbers 11:25 NKJV).

About a year after their deliverance from Egypt, after celebrating Passover for the second time, Israel departed from Mount Sinai to journey to Canaan. Shortly after beginning that trip they began to complain about their diet of only manna (Numbers 11:4-6). Remembering the varied diet of Egypt, they demanded meat. Moses cried out to God, who promised to feed them meet for a complete month (verses 19-20). At that incredible statement Moses asked how it could be possible. That brought about the Lord’s response, essentially, “Is my arm too short?” Continue reading “Is your God handicapped?”

Toss that dirty diaper

In my father’s house…” (John 14:2).

Radio personality and financial advice-giver Dave Ramsey has a saying about debt that goes something like this: “Some people feel the same about debt as a baby does about a dirty diaper: sure, it stinks – but its warm, and its mine.”

That is not a pleasant picture. But it is accurate. A baby doesn’t know there is a better way to live; that is all she knows. Continue reading “Toss that dirty diaper”

A house of fear or of faith?

Some of us seem to possess the uncanny ability to spot everything that could possibly go wrong or which might fall short. If this statement resonates with you, then you might possess some trepidation in reading further. After all, such thoughts might be a little too painful and too revealing for comfort. However, I promise this article offers hope.

First of all, we need to know how anxiety and fear function. Emotions are fueled by our interpretative thoughts colliding with our values, expectations and desires. When these thoughts are negative, we will feel a negative emotion like fear, anger or anxiety. The stronger the emotion, the more we will be inclined to discover further thoughts corroborating it. In turn these thoughts can unleash even more emotion perpetuating a downward cycle. Continue reading “A house of fear or of faith?”

Lessons worthy of a virus

The internet is full of memes about how bad the year 2020 has been. It has indeed had its difficulties. Some have died because of a virus that people cannot even agree on the name; others have suffered horribly, including some of our own writers.

In spite of the hardship that the sufferings this year have brought to many, the Lord continues to work among his people and to fulfill his promise to work all things together for good for those who love him, Romans 8.28.

It would be an easy thing to cite a list of concrete events and happenings how the Lord has brought blessing to his people. We’ll leave the comments section open for that, if someone has a contribution he would like to make. Continue reading “Lessons worthy of a virus”

John’s doubt, our challenge

The forerunner for the Messiah was in prison, punished for presuming to speak truth to power. Though John had pointed others to Jesus, he still had followers. These disciples reported to John all that Jesus had been doing (Luke 7:18), most notably raising a widow’s only son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17).

When John hears of these wondrous miracles, he is dismayed. He sends two disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Luke 7:19). Perhaps John is discouraged because Jesus is doing these wonderful things and John is confined. Perhaps John was anticipating the Messiah’s work to be quickly accomplished.

Remember, this is the one who announced with such conviction, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). It is he who received confirmation from the Father that Jesus is “the Son of God” (John 1:34). John is no stranger to the nature of the one called Jesus. But prison and possible death likely has a way of causing a person to need reassurance. Continue reading “John’s doubt, our challenge”

Living different lives

One of the struggles Christians must face is our relationship with our society and the life that it offers us. Because people do not like anyone to be different or do anything other than what they do, there is always the pressure to conform to the standards of ‘everyone else’. How often have we heard as an explanation as to why someone chose to do something, “But everyone is doing it!” As Paul was writing to the Christians in Corinth, he had to deal with this very problem.

“Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, ‘I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16 NET) Continue reading “Living different lives”

Joining obedience and faith

Some modern Bibles render part of Romans 1:5 as “believe and obey” thus making faith and obedience two separate entities. This would seem to reflect more of the editors’ theological outlook than Paul’s mindset. Yet, we should not be surprised. How many people separate faith from obedient actions?

Paul joined faith and obedience into one unified idea. Yet, do we expect this?

Continue reading “Joining obedience and faith”