If society, culture and the church could just move past feeling fear, anger and pain, we would all be better off, right? If everybody could only be positive and happy all of the time, our lives would improve, correct? Wrong! If these negative emotions and sensations were eliminated, our lives would unravel.
If you object to that last sentence, I’m sure you are not alone. So let’s cut to the chase.
Continue reading “Fear – it could save your life”
The holy prophets ridiculed idolators by noting all the things their idols could not do. They couldn’t even perform the basic actions of normal people, much less work godlike wonders. They had to be carried, because they couldn’t walk for themselves.
The true God walks. For the most part, walking is a metaphor for that continuing, deepening relationship that man can have with God. The Lord is a spirit, Jn 4.24, so he has no body and no legs with which to walk. The Bible uses figurative language for God’s actions, so we can better understand his nature and his will. But when God takes human form, he literally walks with and among mankind. Continue reading “The God who walks”
While Paul was in Athens waiting for his companions, it gave him a chance to look around the city. What he saw disturbed him! There were shrines to virtually any false god you could think of, complete with images that were supposed to represent them.
A friend recently visited ancient Athens and he said that you can see exactly what Paul was talking about, as the foundations for the shrines were packed tightly together along the side of the ancient street. They weren’t large, but they were everywhere! Continue reading “What a great God we serve!”
A compass points toward the earth’s magnetic north. However, the true geographic north pole lies several hundreds of miles away.
Kenny, a friend of mine, recently told me about an international trip where his flight passed between the North Pole and magnetic north. At such a place, if someone were to use a compass to locate the geographic north pole it would point in the exact opposite direction! If we can assume the compass would even function.
To accurately use a compass to discover true north, you must also know your latitude. In other words, to navigate the earth requires both good instruments and the knowledge about how to use them well. For the church to reliably chart its path through difficult scenarios requires understanding how to use well the tools God has supplied for his people. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tackled a rough situation by providing some of these reliable tools for the journey. Continue reading “True north: finding a reliable path forward”
A couple traveled recently to another continent and toured a famous religious building, still under construction after almost 100 years. They were awed by the edifice, which used new techniques for the time, with a unique style. They shared their photos online of both the exterior and interior.
A friend of theirs who didn’t belong to that religion claimed to feel the presence of God there. The couple wrote that they hoped others might be inspired and convinced by the stories written on its walls. They saw the building as a way to make converts to their religion. Continue reading “No physical remains”
Few biblical stories challenge both exclusive and inclusive perspectives. Yet a story exists revealing how God can be pleased with the spiritual activities of the lost, while simultaneously excluding them from salvation. Some might question, how can God do both?
Continue reading “God’s surprising inclusion and exclusion”
During the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, he was almost daily teaching people, usually in the temple. One day in particular seems to have been very busy as one group after another came to Jesus with questions they considered to be either difficult or with no answer, in an attempt to trap him in what he was saying.
First came the Pharisees and Herodians. These two groups were opposed to each other politically, with the Herodians supporting Rome and the Pharisees opposing Rome. Yet they put their differences aside to attack their common enemy: Jesus. They asked a question about paying taxes which Jesus skilfully answered, to their amazement (Mark 12:13-17). Continue reading “The two greatest commands”
When the beloved James told happy saints to sing, James 5.13, perhaps he instructed them to do this because that is what God does. Continue reading “When God sings”
A London merchant and the poet William Blake watched the sun rise up out of the sea. The bright, yellow disk revealed itself, gilding the water, and painting the sky with a thousand colors.
“What do you see?” the poet asked the merchant.
“Ah, I see gold,” the merchant replied. “The sun looks like a great gold piece. What do you see?” Continue reading “What do you see?”
Do you remember the scene in The Avengers Assemble when Loki was growing tired of having to fight the Avengers and in particular the Hulk? He stopped fighting, held up his arms, and said, “Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by…” And at that moment the Hulk flattened Loki by repeatedly smashing him to the floor, after which the Hulk could be heard to mutter, “Puny god!”
This scene has been rated as one of the most humorous in that film. But doesn’t it make such a good point? If Loki truly was an all-powerful god, then the Hulk could have done nothing to him. As it was, Loki could not even stand up to one of the Avengers.
Isn’t this what we also see in the plagues of Egypt? The Egyptians worshipped a plethora of gods. Through the plagues, God showed that he was more powerful than any of the Egyptian gods. Continue reading “What God do you serve?”