Being a child is an exciting, terrifying time. Growth can occur at extreme rates. Every activity is new, or otherwise offers some new experience. But with all this growth, there are inevitable growing pains. Children who are learning to walk often fall. Children who are learning to climb often fall from less than comfortable heights. Bumps and bruises often accompany growth. Yet growth must be pursued, with vim and vigor. To children, stubbed toes and a bloody nose are small prices to pay for the reward of increased speed and dexterity.
Just as physical, emotional, and intellectual growth can be painful for children, spiritual growth can be painful for adults. But unlike most children, whose desire for growth is insatiable, adults are often content to wane rather than wax. Learning new things can be awkward, and we are often very uncomfortable in our awkwardness. So, instead of developing, we accept dying.
Continue reading “Stubbed toes and a bloody nose”
He was born to a humble family in a humble dwelling. He lived most of his life in obscurity as the son of a carpenter. He was nobody of importance, except that he was the most important person to ever step foot on earth.
To him be the glory! Continue reading “To him be the glory”
Our earth resides in the Goldilocks Zone, the region that is just right for life. This habitable zone is neither too far from, nor too close to, the sun. The earth is neither too big nor too small. The atmosphere contains just the right mixture of ingredients. The ratio of water to land is just right. It is undeniable that out of numberless possibilities, our planet has the perfect conditions for life.
To atheists, this principle presents a paradox. How can the earth be so perfectly fine-tuned for life by accident? Continue reading “The Goldilocks paradox”
In his book Family of God: A Study of the New Testament Church, Batsell Barrett Baxter’s first chapter is entitled, “The Glory of the Church.” It’s a fine title and a marvelous way to begin the subject. Brother Baxter gave eight reasons why the church is glorious: its origin, its foundation, its beginning, its relationship, its universality, its simplicity, and its destiny. It’s worth reading and appreciating.
His chapter needs no rewriting or revision. So allow me to take another tack that complements the points above. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, and the first of many problems he tackled was that of divisiveness. In the longest section of the letter (chapters 1-4), he wrote, Continue reading “The glory of the church”
How does one achieve glory? Humans think glory means to exalt self above others, and so people have tried to find a way to become the most exalted on earth.
Many used politics to find a route to glory by becoming a ruler. Others accumulated wealth as a way to find themselves exalted and enshrined in memory. Others have simply dominated others in an attempt to gain it. All of them have failed because they never understood what glory is. Continue reading “The road to glory”
“…a greater than Solomon is here” (Lk. 11:31)
By my count, Jesus mentioned Solomon twice in the gospels. In one instance, he pitted the iconic glory of Solomon – a king who expanded Israel’s wealth and territory like no king before or since – against a flower.
The flower won. Continue reading “Greater than Solomon”
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”
It is impossible to do the will of God without knowing the will of God. Salvation comes by knowledge of how to be forgiven of sin. “You will make his people know that they will be saved. They will be saved by having their sins forgiven” Luke 1.77 ICB. God’s grace and peace come to us and are multiplied for us “through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” 2 Peter 1.2.
Salvation does not happen automatically, like the sun rising and setting. So we must put ourselves to the task of learning what salvation is all about. The gospel must be learned, Colossians 1.7. We must “be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is” Ephesians 5.17.
We ought to ask such questions as these: Continue reading “Salvation comes by knowledge”
Those gardeners who plant moon gardens have my admiration. I never indulged myself in creating a place where we can enjoy the flowers that open as the sun goes down, but it sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy the best part of the day — the evening.
There is an unparalleled wonder in flowers that exhibit that rare characteristic of opening up AFTER the sun sets rather than when it rises. Continue reading “The glory of the moon”
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:1, 2).
A shepherd once strode into the palace of the most powerful man on earth and made a stunning demand: “Thus says the LORD the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go.'” Do you remember Pharaoh’s dubious response?
“Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice and let Israel go,” he wondered derisively, “I do not know the LORD, and moreover I will not let Israel go.” Continue reading “Zeal and knowledge”