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”
By Johnny O. Trail — At the close of World War II, there was some concern that Japan would not surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had already been devastated by atomic bombs, and America continued to bomb various regions of Japan as the USA prepared a third nuclear bomb. To further encourage the Japanese to surrender, Americans dropped pamphlets from airplanes.
When the Japanese emperor, Hirohito, came on broadcast radio to announce the surrender, it was the first time that many of his subjects had ever heard his voice. Many of Hirohito’s followers believed he was a “demi-god.”/1 Some who heard him surrender to the Americans were hearing the voice of their “god” for the very first time.
For a moment, one might consider what it means to truly hear the voice of God. Continue reading “The voice of God”
The Old Testament is a rich mine of truths about God and his ways. The prophets reveal the divine heart and intentions. Get a taste of truths about God from this little slice of Ezekiel 33.
No. 1. God is a revealer. “The word of the Lord came to me” (Ezekiel 33:1, ESV). He tells man what he is doing and what he expects. God does nothing without letting us know his intentions and actions (Amos 3:7; Ephesians 3:5). Things he reveals are for us all, that we might obey his commands and thereby find joy and peace (Deuteronomy 29:29). God’s revelation to us, now contained in the Bible, is for our salvation. “The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations” (Psalm 98:2). Continue reading “7 truths about God in Ezekiel 33”
What is the most important commandment of God in the Bible?
The lawyers of Jesus day, men trained in the text of the Old Testament, sent one of their own to ask the Lord that very question. Opinions differed. Some thought sacrifice was the most important of God’s commandments. Others thought there were so many commandments it was impossible to determine which was most important.
Jesus said, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30). Continue reading “With all your mind”
“Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” (Matthew 16:13).
The replies to Jesus’ question were varied: “John the Baptist.” “Elijah.” “Jeremiah.” “One of the prophets.”
Today, the replies still vary: Continue reading “Who is Jesus?”
The ancient Greeks believed their gods were completely devoid of feeling and emotion. The gods, they thought, were so far above humanity they could not feel sorrow, pain, or grief.
Imagine a Greek who was alive in the first century and managed to read John chapter 11. In this text the son of God is overcome with feelings of sadness and grief at the death of his friend, Lazarus. Jesus was overcome with a wide array of emotions. Continue reading “A God that feels”
The world started with God. He spoke, and it came into existence. God existed before all else. He is not created. He created all things.
Human beings started with God. Before the world was created, God planned to make man. In fact, everything else was created for man’s benefit.
Salvation started with God. He gave free will to man, so that the choice to love and serve God would be a real one. But man rejected God. God was not content to leave it at that. He had decided to bring man back to himself. Continue reading “Start with God”