Jonah’s story has fascinated readers for centuries.
Called to preach to the Ninevites (Jonah 1:1-2), Jonah runs away, boards a ship and finds himself in a terrific storm (Jonah 1:4). Jonah is thrown into the sea, swallowed by a great fish, and vomited onto the shore three days later (Jonah 1:10-17). Continue reading “Jonah faces monsters”
The following quote describes a richness lying within the word “faith” that challenges popular thinking. What are we to make of this claim about faith within the Greek New Testament?
The noun pistis offers a range of semantic possibilities for English translators. It can be rendered as ‘faith,’ ‘faithfulness,’ ‘fidelity’ or ‘trust.’ It probably does not, however, mean ‘belief’ in the sense of cognitive assent to a doctrine; rather, it refers to placing trust or confidence in a person. The cognate verb pisteuw (pisteuo) can be translated as ‘believe’ or ‘trust.’ English, regrettably, lacks a verb form from the same root as the noun ‘faith.'” – Richard Hays’ commentary on Galatians
Continue reading “The crux of our saving faith”
“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:13-15 NKJV).
Given the frequent headlines of terroristic violence in numerous locations in recent weeks, the question posed at the beginning of the quotation at the head of this article may seem naïve at best. Hundreds, even thousands, of presumably innocent people have been victimized for no other reason than to make a political or religious statement for the benefit of fanatics. Continue reading “Challenges”
An employer suddenly emphasizes proper procedure or a spouse describes what needs to be accomplished. Does it make a difference whether someone understands these statements as belittling criticism or helpful instruction? Of course it does!
While correctly interpreting social interactions can be extremely significant in navigating relationships, our perspectives regarding how a biblical author intended his words to function can dramatically shape what we teach for better or for worse. For example, what was Paul’s purpose in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 regarding Abram’s faith? Did Paul define what constitutes faith or did this apostle defend the principle of faith? Or both? Continue reading “Romans 4 and Galatians 3: defining faith or defending faith?”
Andrew Murray prayed like this: “Teach us to believe that we can love, because the Holy Spirit has been given us.”/1
We don’t believe that we can love as God loved. We doubt that our love can be like the love of Christ. We discard the possibility of fulfilling this commandment of Christ: Continue reading “Believe that you can love as God loves”
Man is never in charge of his life, and at that moment when he begins to assert control, he pushes God out. The desire to control is the essence of rebellion.
Jesus died to sanctify the church. Sanctification lies at the heart of the gospel. Without holiness (sanctity) no one shall see the Lord. God is holy and no one who is not shall enter his presence. God’s will therefore is to make us holy and for us to be holy and to offer to others the means to holiness.
Ignorance is not so much not knowing as not paying attention. Man ignores God, chooses not to know him, decides to leave his Word unread and unheeded. The ignorant man commits a damning sin, in need of the light of the gospel in order to save. Continue reading “Sundries: Never in charge”
“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4)
A preacher placed a small, empty cardboard box on the floor. He said, “I believe with all my heart this box will hold my weight.” Then he raised his leg and began to stand upon the box – which immediately began to collapse. He said, “You see, it doesn’t matter what I believe, if my faith is misplaced. People place a great deal of faith in all kinds of things, but that doesn’t mean those things have any substance. The only thing that matters is the strength of the object in which I place my faith.” Continue reading “Sinking boats and broken nets: 4 things you should know about faith”
Is there anything that happens on the mission field that American churches need to learn? Can a sponsor and supporter of missions efforts in the world’s number one country find something of value to apply in developing countries or in cultures far different from its own?
As one who grew up in the US, was reared in a Christian home, and has spent more time outside the country than inside it, I see lessons abounding. Brace yourself. Continue reading “What American churches can learn from the mission field”
Abraham is one of the great characters in the Bible.
Living in Ur of the Chaldees, one of the modern cities of his day, God called him to leave to go some place else – God would show him where. And Abraham left, along with his wife, nephew and father. Other siblings and their family joined them in Haran and there Terah, his father, died. Continue reading “The father of us all”
“Fear Not…” (Matthew 10:28).
Have you ever known someone who seemingly had no fear? We can do two things with fear: we can charge at it like a bull, or recoil from it. We will utilize both of these responses depending on our own inclinations and experiences. We press toward some fears, while we shrink from others. Continue reading “Escaping the prison of fear”