There is a direct quote by the Lord Jesus that many people have misunderstood. Many know it, but some misapply it. Jesus said,
“For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Some believe that God sent his only son to those individuals chosen explicitly by him. They say God knew each individual and selected them so they could not possibly have resisted. They say others not called will never live eternally even if that was what they wanted. Continue reading “The choice is yours”
Of the churches Jesus mentioned in Revelation chapters two and three, his most pointed remarks concerned the lukewarm members at Laodicea.
Laodicea, in Greek literature known as Laodikeia, was a city of Romans, Phrygians, and Syrians. It was known as a producer of a powder used to treat diseases of the eyes, probably why the Lord Jesus advised them to “buy eye salve to put on your eyes so you can see” (Revelation 3:18). Their materialism had blinded them to what was truly important: the service of God. Continue reading “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”
Life gets rough. How people respond is well known. “Why did God do this to me?” “How can God be good if he allows this to continue?” Adversity can foster many temptations. What role does God play in all of this?
James’ letter takes us straight to our questions about God. He does not answer every question we might pose. Rather he counsels us how to think about God when we are in the thick of it. Continue reading “How to think about God when life is rough”
The nurse looked out the back window of the lead RV, concerned that the cars following in the caravan make it through the icy patch of the Indiana freeway. Just as she feared, the last car went to pass a slow vehicle, hit the ice, flipped over, and landed in the ditch. She was sure she would be pulling the dead bodies of three college students out of the vehicle.
The wrecked car was mine. I was in the passenger’s seat. A friend had offered to drive the first leg of the trip. In order to write a thank-you note to our hosts, back in the city where our group had campaigned during spring break, I did something I never do: I had removed my seat belt. Continue reading “God preserves life on a daily basis”
Many people are dealing badly with the coronavirus restrictions. Even religious folk are having a hard time of it. Just because someone is religious, doesn’t mean they have faith and are able to cope with afflictions when they come crashing down on the head.
From a man who taught fear and reverence of God to the people of Israel, whose comfort was in ritual rather than in true relationship with the Creator, comes this jewel:
If you fall apart during a crisis, then you weren’t very strong to begin with, Proverbs 24.10 VOICE.
Continue reading “How to deal with crisis”
Jesus has a precedent for his scathing denunciation of the religious leaders in Matthew 23. The Lord condemned the leaders of Israel as shepherds who failed to feed the sheep, Ezekiel 34. This chapter falls in the latter section of the prophet’s book that looks toward the restoration of God’s people, Ezekiel 33-48. Before the nation can be reclaimed, its leaders must be changed.
The true shepherd will take action. Continue reading “God the seeker”
God transforms lives. This we know already. In immersion, we are created anew. We are born again, John 3.3, 5. We become new creatures. The old passes away.
“So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5.17.
The physical and material conditions of life count for little. Continue reading “The transformer of soul and place and time”
Our prayers are important to God, though there are those whose prayers sometimes target human ears, not God’s.
It seems absurd in the extreme that some people pray to be seen and heard by others when prayer is specifically for God. The Lord Jesus talked about this type of person in Matthew chapter 6. He told his listeners that prayer should not imitate “the hypocrites.” The word “hypocrite” in the New Testament hearkened back to the days of Greek theatre. Actors would wear a mask depicting their character. A hypocrite is someone who wears a false face. Continue reading “Impress God with prayer”
Are you ordinary? In some ways we are all ordinary, aren’t we? We don’t wield super-human strength, or the ability to see through walls. We are not faster than a speeding bullet, nor are we stronger than a locomotive. And we can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. We are not world-famous artisans. Nor are we wise beyond all measure. And that is all quite fine. God can still use us to do great things.
Since the beginning, God has used the ordinary to accomplish extraordinary things. He created all things by a word (Genesis 1:1-3). With God, a word is powerful enough to bring entire galaxies into existence out of nothing. The Bible’s description of the creation of light is very simple, “And God said.” Does that not thrill you to know that our God only has to say the word to change the universe?
Continue reading “Are you ordinary?”
Theologians make their fine distinctions and hard classifications. They like the old idea of taking one thing at a time. They consider God’s holiness, then move on to his love. Such an approach is probably acceptable, as far as it goes.
The various and wonderful aspects of God’s nature and personality are a single unit. Westerners like to break things down into their component units. The ancient Hebrews, however, liked to pull things together, considering them as a whole. The former group excels in analysis; the latter, in synthesis.
When it comes to the one true God, the Hebrew approach recommends itself. If God is one, his nature partakes of that oneness. Continue reading “God judges because he loves”