He left the scars

Each Lord’s day Christians have the privilege and the duty of remembering our Lord’s death. We take our minds back to his sacrificial suffering. In observing the memorial feast which reminds us of his body and his blood we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

Perhaps you feel compelled to limit your thoughts to the suffering and sorrow of the cross during this sacred time. If so, when was the last time you contemplated our Lord’s scars? Have you thought about the link between our sin and his scars? Have you reflected upon what Jesus’ scars mean for your own? Continue reading “He left the scars”

I will give you rest

Chamomile. Valerian. Hops. Monarda.

These are a few herbs that promote rest and relaxation when taken internally in the form of a tea or even in capsule form.  In my opinion, they are restful and relaxing in visual form, too!

Flowers have a calming effect just by growing there and being pretty. It is serendipitous that they also can work medicinally for that purpose as well. Continue reading “I will give you rest”

Does sin really exist?

“Man, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20).

Most of us can identify with Charlie Brown. We set some goal: “This time, I’m going to kick that football!” then somebody pulls the ball away at the last second, and we fall flat on our back. But there was one man in the Bible who set his sights high, and got even more than he asked for. That was because his goal was to encounter Jesus. Continue reading “Does sin really exist?”

When Jesus gagged a demon

“Hold thy peace, and come out of him” (Luke 4:35)

In the biblical text, demonic presence coincides almost exclusively with the ministry of Christ. Like a meteor grazing the atmosphere, it explodes on the scene and just as quickly fades away. I concur with those who assert, if only on the swiftness and coincidental nature of their presence, that they were allowed by God to appear during the life of Christ to manifest his glory and power. Continue reading “When Jesus gagged a demon”

Conduits of unexpected blessing

What thoughts do unexpected blessings trigger? Perhaps our human nature gravitates toward wondering what unanticipated blessings might come our way.

Jesus, however, flipped our desires around when he taught it is more blessed to give than to receive.  Our lives should be like a street through which God’s blessings pass, not dead end cul-de-sacs. So how might God’s people help others in unexpected ways? Continue reading “Conduits of unexpected blessing”

The God who heals

Have you ever been hurt, so badly hurt you felt something had died inside of you? If you have, did you feel like you had spiritually and emotionally flat-lined? How do your recover?

It’s impossible to live for any amount of time and not be hurt. We all have wounds, because life isn’t fair. We suffer persecution. Simply living the Christian life is an affront to many people in society. It stirs up resentment among friends and neighbors. It certainly stirs up Satan, who will act. This is the crab in the bucket principle – they don’t want to change, they simply want to pull you back into the bucket with them. Continue reading “The God who heals”

Jesus, the Son of God

“Now because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began persecuting him. So he told them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I too am working.’ For this reason the Jewish leaders were trying even harder to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own Father, thus making himself equal with God” (John 5:16-18 NET).

Jesus was in Jerusalem because of a “feast of the Jews” (John 5:1). Although which feast is not specified in the text, most scholars take this to be Passover. If this is true, one year had now passed since the first Passover recorded in John 2, when Jesus cleared the temple. He would have two more Passovers, two more years, before his crucifixion. While in Jerusalem, Jesus did two things which angered the Jewish leaders. Continue reading “Jesus, the Son of God”

So that you may know

by Barry Newton

In healing the paralyzed man, Jesus’ deep compassion gushed forth toward us, not just toward a cripple made well. On the shores of the Sea of Galilee in ancient Capernaum, Jesus revealed a single-mindedness that continues to bless us today.

Some friends of a paralyzed man brought him before Jesus. They were confident Jesus could help him. Jesus responded to their trust in his power by resolving the palsied man’s deepest need. “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2, NET).

With a penetrating focus, Jesus looked past his physical brokenness to engage what truly mattered in that man’s life. Continue reading “So that you may know”