Benefits from being born again

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 NASB).

Occasionally news will come from South Asia of the birth of a child to one of the Christian couples (often a preacher and his wife) there. Almost always that will be accompanied by a request for me (or Brenda and me) to name the new baby. That is always an honor, as well as a means of keeping me humble. To provide a new child with the name by which he or she will be known for the rest of their life is a significant responsibility.

Several years ago I got a similar request but in a different context. An older man who had been a Hindu for all of his life was baptized into Christ. He asked me during a devotional in his home that night to give him a name suitable for a Christian. He stated that up until that day he had prayed to idols every night in his house, but on this night he was praying (and we with him) to the true, living God. He no longer wanted to be known by his Hindu name. He was beginning a new life of faith and wanted to be known for that instead. Continue reading “Benefits from being born again”

Self-Identification

Only a few seeds were dropped into the short furrows beside the wire cattle panels. The panels would later support the vines and the long, heavy fruit of the Trombino squash. Only a few plants were needed for this prolific and delicious vegetable! I pictured the delicious “noodles” that could be made by using a spiral cutter with the coming harvest. The steaming red marinara sauce, the parmesan and mozzarella topping it off, and maybe a few meatballs would complete a hearty meal without the carbohydrates of pasta. 

Zuchino Rampicante, also known as Trombino squash, is prized for its firm flesh without the mushy seedy part until the very last few inches on the three-foot long fruits. It has all the taste of zucchini without the tendency to turn too soft when cooked. As an added bonus, the squash can be allowed to ripen on the vine for a later harvest of an orange-fleshed butternut type squash, with a long narrow neck that’s easy to cut and peel. Summer AND winter squash on one plant!  Continue reading “Self-Identification”

Own your relationship to God

On the prayer website of a popular religious minister of old, the author titles one of his pages with the idea of owning our relationship to God./1

This is a happy phrase. It encourages us to assume responsibility for our relationship with God. I personally have to pursue it and nourish it. I must recognize that no other pursuit is as noble or worthy as knowing God. Fellowship with my Creator must be the great project of life. This means that no one else can assume responsibility for it. Nor can I blame anyone for failures in it. Continue reading “Own your relationship to God”

Who am I? The target of God’s redemption

Earlier, we explored man’s identity and worth in terms of being created in God’s image. Today, a second truth gives us importance: we are the focus of God’s efforts to save.

Man’s identity and value to God become evident when his eternal plan is explored and appreciated. What makes his plan so impressive is its extension, its reach, and the cost required to carry it through. Continue reading “Who am I? The target of God’s redemption”

Who am I? Here’s the first part of the answer

Who am I?” Probably all of us ask that question at some point in our lives. Deep down, we know this is one of those big questions that needs to be answered. Identity informs and determines one’s actions. We seem to know this instinctively.

It matters where we go, and whom we seek out, for the answer. Answers will vary depending on who we ask. Continue reading “Who am I? Here’s the first part of the answer”

The problem of a bad beginning

Maybe it was the fruit trees or something else, but a sweet aroma welcomed the traveler as he entered the spacious valley filled with orchards. Having heard about oranges, but never having eaten one, he stopped to inquire, “Is this an orange orchard? Might I purchase an orange?”

A chuckle preceded the reply, “The first one is my gift!” With this, a round bright orange fruit was tossed at him. Eating it, he experienced a juicy sweet sensation.

Continue reading “The problem of a bad beginning”

Looking Through God’s Eyes At Salvation (part 3)

I can hardly be justified in calling them clues because the framework was never intended to be a puzzle to be solved. Nevertheless, the following “clues” provide the necessary pieces for discovering the consistent principle of grace by which God has chosen to identify those who belong to him. The Lord knows those who are his and his word reveals his perspective. Continue reading “Looking Through God’s Eyes At Salvation (part 3)”