Light from beginning to end

The Bible begins with the creation of light by a word from God, Genesis 1.3. It ends with a mention of the light of God, tying it with the privilege of his people reigning forever: “Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever” Revelation 22.5.

Light is important as a Bible theme because:

1. God is light, 1 John 1.5

Light comes into being as a result of God’s power. The creation started with light. God spoke and it existed. Its creation before the heavenly bodies speaks to its nature as emanating from God. We speak, rightly so, of the moon not having its own light but only reflecting the light of the sun. Similarly, no heavenly body — sun or stars — has, in one true sense, any light of its own. God put them there. He caused them to exist and to shine. He is the only real source of light. Continue reading “Light from beginning to end”

Are you living for the weekend or the world’s end?

The young man in his mid-20s worked behind the counter of the bread store on the plaza next to my office. He served up coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and bread toasted on the grill. His conversation centered on the weekend. He labored five or more days a week, but lived to party on Friday and Saturday nights. His weekdays were nothing more than a countdown to living it up in noise, drink, and carousing.

He worked a dead-end job with a dead-end life. Continue reading “Are you living for the weekend or the world’s end?”

Holiness is a big deal

This is an excerpt from Randal’s upcoming book, tentatively entitled “Total Transformation.”

In God’s eyes, holiness is the goal. Without it, we are nothing and can go nowhere, spiritually. “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord” Heb 12.14. Holiness is the basic condition for seeing the Lord. It arises out of Christ’s sacrifice for us, so it is not strange to read this statement in the book of Hebrews. The Lord makes the effort effective. But without the effort there is no change and no chance of a future with him. Continue reading “Holiness is a big deal”

Five hideous truths about sin—and one great truth of hope

Behind sin works a living, personal, spiritual force called Satan. He opposes God and he considers mankind his battlefield. We know little about his origin, but we have learned much about his tactics and objectives. These should be studied carefully.

When we speak of sin, therefore, we are actually speaking of the work of Satan against God’s special creation of mankind.

Sin overpowers

It cannot be controlled. It is the lion crouching just outside the door ready to pounce and kill, Genesis 4.7; 1 Peter 5.8. It is the kudzu that will not stop growing until it has covered every good intent and smothered all good works. There is no dabbling in sin, no setting limits for sin, no negotiating with sin. Continue reading “Five hideous truths about sin—and one great truth of hope”

Stinky basil

Basil has a very nice quality in that it self-sows year after year. This is why I have a nice crop of something not-so-affectionately nicknamed “stinky basil.”

It was given to me a few years ago by a friend that knows that I love all the different basils in my garden; opal basil, Greek columnar basil, cinnamon basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, for instance.

This one was a stark exception. Continue reading “Stinky basil”

Amazing glory of God

The glory of God saturates the Bible. The Rabbinical word “shekinah” referred to, directly or indirectly, the dwelling, glory, presence and light of God. While the word is not in the Bible, the concept is found throughout.

All these concepts are intricately woven together in the Lord. The glory can’t exist without God. He’s majestic and eternal and those who obey his word glorify the Lord. We must have his presence dwelling in us or we can’t survive spiritually. Continue reading “Amazing glory of God”

Following Satan’s model in the Garden of Eden

In the Garden of Eden, Satan approaches Eve and incites her to violate God’s will by eating of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Satan makes three propositions and convinces her to sin. Subsequently, Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden (Genesis 3).

Wisely, Satan presented truth to Eve interspersed with enough error to lead her astray. The right excised or added word can lead to wholly different results. God said, “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Satan countered they would “not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). Continue reading “Following Satan’s model in the Garden of Eden”