The ideal spouse

Our collection of Proverbs ends with one attributed to “King Lemuel, an oracle that his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1 NET). Sadly, this is all we know about him. Although Jewish legend identified him as Solomon, with the advice being from his mother Bathsheba, there is no evidence for this. Although we don’t know who he was, the advice is good and wise.

The first part of Proverbs 31 is addressed to the king and is good advice for anyone in authority. “Open your mouth on behalf of those unable to speak, for the legal rights of all the dying” (Proverbs 31:8) is as apt today as it was 3,000 years ago. But the last part of this chapter is what most people remember. Continue reading “The ideal spouse”

Here I am

When burdens bear down, burden-bearers are needed. When opportunities arise, volunteers are requested. Yet many times when work calls, silence is the only answer.

When the LORD calls, the faithful answer.

When God called the great patriarch, he answered, “Here I am” (Genesis 22:1 ESV). In faith, Abraham obeyed the command of God, trusting in God to provide all that was needful, even the resurrection of his unique son (Hebrews 11:9). We are called to trust in God to provide all that is needful (Matthew 6:33). Continue reading “Here I am”

Always faithful

The motto of the U.S. Marines is “Semper Fidelis.” It means “Always Faithful.”

Our son, in the Marine Corps for six years, knew what this meant. He told us a Marine is always a Marine, and a Marine is always ready to serve.

Jesus knew the kind of servants he needed. The Lord wanted servants who were ready to do his work. He told his disciples, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning: and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, that when he will return from the wedding and knocks they may open to him immediately” (Luke 12:35-36a NKJV). Continue reading “Always faithful”

Grace & making effort: Are they compatible?

We know the message and it comforts our hearts. In his grace God pours out salvation upon us, the undeserving. We can be redeemed, made holy and adopted as God’s people because our salvation rests upon Christ, not our righteousness. Furthermore, the cleansing power of the Messiah’s blood is greater than any sin we might bring to him.

So, how compatible is grace with the command to make every effort to live up to God’s calling? If we feel like these are opposing ideas, we would not be alone. Continue reading “Grace & making effort: Are they compatible?”

Stay focused on heaven

Edith Hamilton relates a story in her book, “Mythology” about a beautiful young lady named Atalanta.

After being rejected by her father the King for not being a male, she was left to die in the forest. Yet, she survived and became a fleet-footed huntress.

After hearing about her, several young men came to the forest to woo her. Atalanta, however, wasn’t interested in any man, only hunting and freedom. Continue reading “Stay focused on heaven”

If faithful versus never fall

by Barry Newton

Who would confuse, “If you practice every day, you will not be cut from the team” with “You will never be cut from the team.” If anyone were to strip away the conditional nature of the former forcing it to be understood as the latter, the motive might be desire.

The impulse to hear what we want is powerful. It can deafen us to the actual message.

Just listen to Jesus’, Paul’s, Peter’s and James’ voices as they frankly inform God’s people, not the lost, that their reception of the reward is conditional upon persistent faithfulness. Continue reading “If faithful versus never fall”