Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:1-3 ESV).
Beauty is attractive. There was “not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than [Saul]” (1 Samuel 9:2). It was likely that Saul’s looks and height made him appealing to the people as king. But his character failings were why he was rejected as king.
Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah is the clearest description we have of the physical appearance of Jesus. This prophecy informs us that Jesus had “no beauty that we should desire him.” God did not want people drawn to Jesus for superficial reasons like with Saul. Continue reading “The beauty of Christ”
“And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants. … He himself went on before him, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother” (Genesis 33:1, 3 ESV).
When we have been separated from someone for a long time, it is never certain what kind of reception we will confront when we are reunited. Jacob left Esau at a time of stress and enmity. His older brother had actually threatened to kill him. Jacob fled to the country of their ancestors. Continue reading “Reunions”
Years ago, some men were talking after a church fellowship lunch about the news headlines. One man read about some government employees who went to jail convicted of conspiracy to defraud after filing false expense records.
The man said something that struck me in a way I’ll never forget. He said, “I hope these men get the maximum sentences for their crimes.” He didn’t stop there. “I can never forgive anyone for defrauding the government,” he said.
Recently, a Dallas jury convicted a former officer of murder in the shooting of a man. According to published reports, she said she fired because she thought a stranger was inside her apartment. During the sentencing phase of the trial, the victim’s brother said he forgave the officer and would not hold his brother’s death against her. That young man was a Christian, indeed. Continue reading “The power of forgiveness”
“Then they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Be of good cheer. Rise, he is calling you.’ … So Jesus answered and said to Him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘ Rabboni, that I may receive my sight'” (Mark 10:49, 51).
All people have desires and needs. Some are poorer than others, with greater and more obvious physical needs. Others have needs that are emotional, social, or spiritual, but just as if not more urgent. Some needs are obvious, but not all. In traveling to less developed parts of the world I see many beggars. Some are blind. Others are crippled. Some are simply poor and many are old, without income or family to help. When I see them I am often moved with pity and want to help. But I also recognize that I may not see their true needs, or be able to give that which will genuinely help them. Continue reading “What do you want?”
“Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to him to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them'” (Luke 15:1-2, NKJV).
I have been reminded of the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as I have watched the concrete and brick rubble from the demolition of a roof being buried to form the solid base layer of a road bed. One of the expected problems when it was proposed to remove the old roof was, “what will we do with all of the waste material?” When it was decided that much of it could be put to good use in the building of the driveway, that project was added. Continue reading “Trash or treasure?”
In previous articles we laid out the importance of the priesthood, the history of the priesthood, the nature of Christ’s priesthood, and the operation of Christ’s priesthood. We want to conclude this series by laying out some important implications of the ministry of Christ.
Due to the great work of Christ as our High Priest, we can be confident in at least five areas:
Continue reading “Implications of Christ’s priesthood”
Have you given much thought to the priesthood? Some may see it as a waste of time. But I want to suggest to you that a study of the priesthood will enhance your appreciation for God. The story of the priesthood is really a story of us, of sin, of forgiveness, and of service.
The Story of Us
So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-6 NET).
Continue reading “The Purpose and Power of the Priesthood”
The day the temple was dedicated, God’s glorious presence filled his house (2 Chronicles 5:14; 7:1-3). It was a momentous day filled with praise, sacrifice, and feasting. God was with his people. But times would not always be so good. In a preview of Israel’s fickle ways, God promised that if they would humble themselves, repent, and pray, then God would forgive them.
God’s glory would remain in his house through many difficult days. But a time came when no repentance was forthcoming, and a cleansing needed to occur. The last resort, a carrying away of the people into captivity, had already begun. Soon the house would be toppled by foreign invaders. Continue reading “When the glory of God returned”
“The second coat is on!” Those were the words spoken to me as I walked into the garage with some new plants from my favorite seller. The reason they were going into the garage is that the nights are still freezing here, and will be for some weeks now. My “Yard Boy” husband wasn’t talking about wearing two pieces of outerwear, he was referring to the beautiful paint job he did on the beehives.
Yes, it looks like our little patch of flowers and vegetables will soon have extra help getting pollinated. The second coat of paint had just been finished, just in time to put the plants on the work surface now vacated by the beehives. Continue reading “Coats of many colors”
No one ever said forgiveness would be easy. In my years of ministry I have been betrayal, leveled by criticism and felt the disdain of those who should (are commanded to) love me. I’m sorry, I’m far too human, and when I recall these events I can still feel the sting of tears in my eyes, the ache in the heart. Yet we are commanded to love our enemies: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Now that’s hard. Forgiving is hard.
Yet we are commanded to forgive. Repeatedly. Continue reading “It’s hard to forgive”