As I ended my day-long seminar last Saturday on the biblical model for the church, I felt my mind moving up into another level. The words came more easily, the phrases were more elegant, the ideas flowed almost flawlessly.
Such a shift into a higher plane of communication occurs rarely. Most times, my teaching plods along. Much mental effort is required to put the points across. Continue reading “Plodding or planing?”
Humans tend to justify their lack of faith in Christ or their obedience to God by blaming unfavorable circumstances. Sometimes, people may blame God himself. The one-talent man blamed his master for being hard and inflexible. Adam blamed Eve, whom God gave to him, and Eve blamed the serpent.
The mind works expertly to find reasons why faith isn’t viable or why obedience is too hard, complicated, or impossible.
The apostle Paul heads off this tendency when writing to the Philippians. He knows, like most good missionaries, that his absence might provide an excuse for the converts to let up on efforts to serve God. Continue reading “No Matter What Happens”
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV).
As Christians, we should all want to be effective, productive and fruitful. Sometimes it seems this type of life is difficult and possibly beyond our grasp. But Peter, in quite simple language, explains what this type of life is all about. Continue reading “Being an effective Christian”
When Christopher Columbus finally set off on his first voyage with the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, ample funding backed the voyage. Although it had required the influence of the courtier Luis de Santángel, Spain’s king and queen finally agreed to sponsor the expedition. Columbus was well supplied for the journey.
Like Columbus, Christians are on an expedition. Our journey involves living for God. Peter informs us that God has provided us with “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). But how informed are we regarding how to draw upon the Lord’s resources?
Continue reading “Well supplied”
Oct 21 2015. Back to the Future day. For those who are not aware, this was the day that Doc Brown took Marty McFly into the future to deal with the problems his children were having.
As we look back on the predictions the film made as to what life thirty years into the future would bring, we see that largely the predictions were missed: our cars do not fly, rain can’t be turned off and on, and we don’t rehydrate our pizzas.
A few predictions were correct: 3D films are back, film sequels are commonplace, and many of us use a Skype-type phone system. Continue reading “Back to the Future”
As Job’s friends continued to try to reason with him, they were reflecting their own world-view, a view that many people still have today. That view stated that if someone was wealthy, it was obviously because God was blessing them. If they were in poverty or if bad things happened to them, it was because God had withdrawn his blessings due to sin in their lives. Continue reading “Why do the wicked prosper?”
As we read through the dialogue in Job, we have the advantage of knowing what was in chapter 1. It was there that God declared that there was no one like Job: “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8 NET). As we read through the dialogue between Job and his three friends, keep in mind that Job is innocent of doing anything that caused the calamities that he has had to endure. Continue reading “It’s your own fault”
Job was an exceptional man. God described him in these terms: “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8 NET).
In worldly terms he was rich and successful. In the list of what he owned were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, plus many servants. These were what made a man wealthy in the East and in his day. Although we aren’t given an exact time that he lived, it would appear to be in the time of Patriarchs, as we shall later see. Continue reading “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”
An amazing story emerges from the pages of the New Testament. No, I am not referring to God’s love in sending Jesus to rescue us from our sins, although this is truly amazing. Rather, I am referring to the glimpses we are permitted into another astounding and sobering story, a story involving people. Continue reading “Entrusted”
When our children were young, we would often travel from Scotland down into England to visit friends. Inevitably, after an hour or so of travelling, one of our children would ask “Are we there yet?” They were tired of travelling and wanted to be able to get out of the car and play with their friends. Continue reading “Are we there yet?”