‘Without neglecting the others’

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (Matthew: 23:23-24 ESV).

The campus of Khulna Bible College contains a number of fruit and nut trees, including mango, coconut, litchi, jackfruit, papaya, and jambora (a type of grapefruit) trees. The nine coconut trees are especially productive and the nuts are prized for their water (or milk), meat, and fibrous hull. Periodically coconuts will be collected and counted out for sharing among the various staff families and the needs of the college kitchen. Continue reading “‘Without neglecting the others’”

7 truths about God in Ezekiel 33

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”

Plants gone wild!

“Don’t mess up that front room, now!” That might be something you remember your mom saying, because if nothing else had any semblance of order, the first room a guest would enter had to look decent. Your Granny may have called it “the parlor,” meant only for guests with family members not allowed in it.

This is how some of us manage our gardens. I’m beginning to notice that the ever-widening flower borders look much better at the front than they do in the far reaches where the taller plants grow.

First impressions are important. But then again, so is deep cleaning. (So I’m told; don’t ask me personally, I’m too busy gardening!) Continue reading “Plants gone wild!”

Yet not with a whole heart

Why do you serve God? Perhaps you serve God because that is what your parents did. Perhaps you serve God because that is what your spouse desires. Perhaps you serve God for the sake of your children. Perhaps your reasons are less noble.

The Chronicles are often neglected books. But we do ourselves a disservice to neglect any of the sacred writings. There are a number of extraordinarily deep statements in the Chronicles. One that bears upon our thoughts today is a statement made in 2 Chronicles 25:2. In a description of king Amaziah, the inspired text reads, “he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart” (ESV). Continue reading “Yet not with a whole heart”

The disciple’s heart: its treasure, its focus, its master

In the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus identified earth and heaven as being two places where people might choose to store their treasures, he contrasted two different lifestyles (Matthew 6:19-20). We either look to the things of earth for our security and significance or we look to heaven. If self is in charge, we will seek some source of earthly security. Continue reading “The disciple’s heart: its treasure, its focus, its master”

Leaving the heart’s door open

The chief priests and the scribes wanted Jesus dead.

But, these kinds of things are delicate. The Sanhedrin didn’t have the power to put a man to death — only the Romans could do that — and Jesus was innocent and not worthy of any sentence at all.

Importantly, the enemies of Jesus needed a way to make sure they had their man. They needed someone who knew Jesus to hand him over to them. Accuse the wrong man and the Romans would be less likely to listen next time. In addition, the scribes and priests knew the people supported Jesus. The religious leaders couldn’t just take the Lord into custody. Riots may ensue. Continue reading “Leaving the heart’s door open”