The problem of sin

Sin. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we are from. All humans struggle with sin. It doesn’t even matter when we are living (although most seem to always think that it is worse now than it has ever been). David wrote about this in Psalm 14 and Paul quoted it in his letter to the Christians in Rome.

“There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

Although we might not like this applied to us, deep down we know that too often we wander after sin and do not seek God. If the truth be told, we often seek sin and ignore God. When it comes to wanting what we desire, most choose sin. As David went on to say, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). Continue reading “The problem of sin”

Don’t give up!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NET)

Therefore … because of the the great cloud of witnesses that surround us, we need to do something. The “great cloud of witnesses” are those from the previous chapter listed in the hall of fame of faith. These are people whose lives were characterised by faith, who followed God no matter what might happen to them or was happening to them. Their encouragement to us is that we need to be a people of faith. Continue reading “Don’t give up!”

Are you prepared to follow him?

Jesus had just taken five barley loaves and two fish and fed 5,000 people (John 6:22ff). Imagine the power of that miracle. The people who witnessed it wanted to make Jesus their king.

Later, people were looking for Jesus and found him miles from where they thought he was. They asked him when he arrived. It was then that Jesus told them what they were seeking. They were looking for another meal.

Have you ever noticed how much emphasis some people place on food, drink, and material possessions? One would think there was nothing else for which to live. While it is true that people must attend to priorities, these people had mistakenly put their emphasis on eating. Continue reading “Are you prepared to follow him?”

Jesus is better

“After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, and he sustains all things by his powerful word, and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Thus he became so far better than the angels as he has inherited a name superior to theirs.” (Hebrews 1:1-4 NET)

God had given his message to his people throughout history through his ‘prophets’ – not that they were necessarily writing about the future, but they were receiving the word of God directly from him and writing it down. No one prophet received the entire revelation of God’s will, but each had a portion depending on what was needed in their time or what God needed his people to be prepared for. Continue reading “Jesus is better”

Following Jesus involves a cross

Crucifixion was Rome’s way of dealing with people it didn’t like. Crucifixion was Rome’s way of dealing with enemies. Its gruesome nature was a part of Rome telling people they’d best behave or they might find themselves hanging from a cross one day.

Jesus had a discussion with his disciples that put the figure of the cross front and center. In Luke 9, Jesus told the men following him that if they were his disciples, they must deny self and take up a cross. The condemned was required to carry his own cross to the place of execution. The figure is clear. Continue reading “Following Jesus involves a cross”

How’s your hearing?

What an amazing thing it is to have ears!

Think of all the things one hears in the course of a day. As I was playing golf with my grandson today, we heard the nice sound a golf ball makes when it is well hit by a metal golf club. We turned at one point in the day and heard the rustle of a deer just before it broke through the woods into the fairway. What is more relaxing than the sound of rain falling gently on leaves?

Yet, there is more to hearing than the ability to detect sounds. There are many people who hear the biblical and moral advice of parents only to walk away without really hearing anything at all. There are those who have heard the truth once but now are so far away from it as to seem ignorant of it. Continue reading “How’s your hearing?”

“Abraham rejoiced to see my day”

The Lord Jesus Christ did his best to show the Jews the truth of his deity, but they were not receptive.

In John 8, Jesus told them Abraham rejoiced to see his day. The Jews, not believing the statement said, “You are not yet 50 years old and have seen Abraham?” Then Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews would have stoned the Lord right then and there because they knew he claimed that he was God. As F.F. Bruce wrote, “He was using language which only God could use.”[1]

Jesus attempted to show and prove that he is the Messiah for which the Jews had waited. True, however, to the prophecy of Isaiah, “he was despised, and we considered him insignificant,” (Isaiah 53:3). Continue reading ““Abraham rejoiced to see my day””

Meek and lowly in heart

When I think of meekness, I think of Jesus.

Meekness is misunderstood. It is considered weakness by many. The picture of Caspar Milquetoast comes to mind. Caspar, a 1950s comic strip character created by H.T. Webster for his cartoon series entitled, “The Timid Soul,” was known as a person who “speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick.”

That description does not fit the Creator of heaven, and earth Paul described in Colossians 1:16-18. Jesus was meek, but he was not “timid.” Continue reading “Meek and lowly in heart”

Sign: Word Harder

Learning to do more

There is a quote from Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount” that challenges me. It is within Matthew 5:46 and is, “what do you do more than others?”

Let’s get an idea of the context of this statement. In Matthew 5:20, Jesus warned his disciples and by implication all of us, that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, we will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. We must do more.

Jesus called us to abandon anger (Matthew 5:21f). He called us to abandon lust (Matthew 5:27ff). The Lord warned us to watch our tongue (Matthew 5:33ff). Then we are challenged to love the unlovable (Matthew 5:43-48). Continue reading “Learning to do more”