What and who will be in Heaven

If in Heaven we’re going to play harps for all eternity, I don’t want to go there, said a woefully uninformed person. This perspective reveals that people must be careful not to think of Heaven in earthly, carnal concepts, far from God’s revelation in Scripture. This is also a problem for one masculine-centered religion which sees Heaven in terms of access to hundreds of virgins.

What is going to be in Heaven that motivates everyone, men and women, rich and poor, to make every effort to get there? Here’s a short list. Continue reading “What and who will be in Heaven”

To God be the glory

“Now to him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith – to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen” (Romans 16:25-27 NKJV).

Paul’s letter to Roman Christians is widely recognized as the most complete explanation of the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ found in any single New Testament document. It begins with an assertion that there is one true God who is manifest through his creation (Romans 1:19-21). It ends with a beautiful doxology (an attribution of honor or glory to God) to “God, alone wise.” Continue reading “To God be the glory”

Authentic ≠ justified

We value genuineness and hence transparency. We shun hypocrisy. We listen to the lament and impeccatory Psalms where psalmists authentically pour out their hearts to God. We infer we too can express ourselves genuinely to God.

Then we notice on social media or perhaps in personal conversations, disciples venting their rage and ranting. They might even claim to be justified before God because they are being transparent and genuine. What are we to think?

I am reminded that many missteps involve partial truths. We need to be careful.

Continue reading “Authentic ≠ justified”

The mind and imago Dei

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26, 27 ESV).

After speaking into existence all that we see and all that we cannot, the Ultimate Being spoke into existence his ultimate creation. But we were not just to be the last in a line of similar living things. God elevated humanity by making us in his image.

As priests under the Law of Moses were to bridge the gap between man and God (Hebrews 5:1, 2), humans bridge the gap between the rest of creation and the Creator. We are caretakers of the world, not just inhabitants (Genesis 1:28). We were elevated in value, not of our own virtue but of the volition of the Divine. Continue reading “The mind and imago Dei”

Knowing the unknowable

“But we speak God’s wisdom among those who are mature; … but just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.’ … For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:7, 9, 11 NASB).

A favorite pastime in recent days has been to try to anticipate or out-guess the authorities as to when restrictions of travel and assembly might be reinstated. In Alabama this week many were surprised and disappointed when Governor Ivey displayed much caution only slightly relaxing previous “Stay at Home” orders. People in other states and countries continue to deal with rigid restrictions with no end in sight. Especially in South Asia hunger and desperation are growing as close to 2 billion people remain under imposed lockdown with no travel, work, or business permitted outside the home. Continue reading “Knowing the unknowable”

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”

Who cares?

“The righteous perishes, and no one takes it to heart” (Isaiah 57:1 NKJV).

It was just another story in the local newspaper. A schoolgirl accused her principal of sexual abuse. Shortly afterward she was set on fire and after struggling for life for a few days lost that battle too. There was a brief outrage in the community which soon settled down so that the incident became just one more of many. The principal of course denied any involvement with the girl or her death. Continue reading “Who cares?”

A God of mercy and justice

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses: ‘Speak to the Israelites and tell them, “When you cross over the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, you must then designate some towns as towns of refuge for you, to which a person who has killed someone unintentionally may flee. And they must stand as your towns of refuge from the avenger in order that the killer may not die until he has stood trial before the community. These towns that you must give shall be your six towns for refuge.”’” (Numbers 35:9-13 NET).

God is a God of mercy. We can see this in his providing towns of refuge for the Israelites. These towns were so designated to allow someone who had accidentally killed another person to be safe from any ‘avenger’ who might come after them to take their life. If they were within these towns they were safe. In more recent years church buildings have often served this same purpose as a place of sanctuary. Continue reading “A God of mercy and justice”

Christians and vigilante justice

Pain, suffering and injustice are sad facts in this sinful world. Sometimes, it may be so profound that we don’t think we’ll ever overcome it. Yet, the Lord has a way.

According to the Free Dictionary, vigilante justice is when “a person who is not a member of law enforcement pursues and punishes persons suspected of lawbreaking.” Continue reading “Christians and vigilante justice”

The System

Matt, a fine young man I watched grow up, made a comment that got me to thinking. Matt’s heart aches over the current situation in Ferguson; it is broken at the comments expressed by some who cheer the grand jury’s decision not to indict. Matt sees clearly what so many are forgetting, that a young man was killed. There is nothing to cheer in this, one way or the other.

What jumped out at me in Matt’s comments was: “…read the comments of way too many white people desperately holding on to the lie that the system is fair.”

“The system”… how it developed is a discussion for another time. What touched me is Matt’s underlying heartfelt plea that the system might be “fair.” Continue reading “The System”