We commonly consider conquerors to be those who wield swords, plot military strategy, and display powerful and aggressive personalities. Conquerors like Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Genghis Khan used daring, might, and intelligence to forge large and imposing kingdoms.
But Christians, who are called to be meek, loving, and submissive to authority, are said by God to be conquerors. Consider this statement: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Not only are we conquerors, but we are “more than conquerors.” What is it that we conquer and how can we be conquerors?
Jesus promised his disciples that in the world they would have tribulation, but he had overcome the world (John 16:33). The promise of tribulation, persecution, and general hardship for followers of the Way was certain. But just as certain was the assurance of overcoming.
Continue reading “Conquering and reigning”
We are all seeking something. Some seek after affirmation, others after wealth, power, or prestige. Still others are seeking simpler things, such as daily food and clothing. Whatever we seek, it has the power to become our lives, to consume us entirely.
Knowing this, Jesus instructed those who would follow him to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33 ESV). If you are like me, you probably read that with an emphasis upon the word “first.” We say we are to seek FIRST the reign and righteousness of God. Thus leaving the impression that God’s reign and righteousness are first among almost equals.
But the emphasis is not found in the order but in the object. The seeking of God’s reign and righteousness, in contrast to that of the Pharisees seeking their own (Matt. 5:20), should be stressed.
Continue reading “Who is your life?”
As we look at the conversation Jesus had with his disciples in the upper room, we can understand some of the frustration they were having. Jesus had been their teacher for a few years. They had travelled around as his pupils, learning from him. But they could feel that something was about to happen. He had washed their feet. He had talked about bread and wine representing his body and blood. And he kept talking about going away.
“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:1-5 NET) Continue reading “Jesus is the way”
Our earth resides in the Goldilocks Zone, the region that is just right for life. This habitable zone is neither too far from, nor too close to, the sun. The earth is neither too big nor too small. The atmosphere contains just the right mixture of ingredients. The ratio of water to land is just right. It is undeniable that out of numberless possibilities, our planet has the perfect conditions for life.
To atheists, this principle presents a paradox. How can the earth be so perfectly fine-tuned for life by accident? Continue reading “The Goldilocks paradox”
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”
Today is the last day of 2018. The year has been spent. The Lord has been good to give us another year. Already, most people are thinking of the new year and making plans for life and work.
Such plans are good. As long as we include the Lord in our plans, he blesses them, James 4.13-17. Or we might better say, as long as we include our plans in the Lord, for he is sovereign.
For just a moment, however, think of today not as the last day of the year, but the last day of your life. December 31st often gets a bum deal. As the last day, it often gets squeezed out. Everybody is anxious for the new year to arrive. Continue reading “The last day of your life”
The world started with God. He spoke, and it came into existence. God existed before all else. He is not created. He created all things.
Human beings started with God. Before the world was created, God planned to make man. In fact, everything else was created for man’s benefit.
Salvation started with God. He gave free will to man, so that the choice to love and serve God would be a real one. But man rejected God. God was not content to leave it at that. He had decided to bring man back to himself. Continue reading “Start with God”
Is all life on earth the result of an accident that caused an accident?
Instead of an accident, consider the design of the eye. Scientists believe they understand how vision works by comparing the eye to a camera and how it focuses an image on the retina. But, what happens after the image arrives on the retina? Science doesn’t know how that “message” is transported to the brain and how that message is recreated there. Continue reading “Obey the giver of life”
A year is a God-given division of time. He made the heavenly lights to mark days, seasons, and years. So people — recognizing God’s sovereignty or not — make plans for a year, such as traveling, doing business, and making money, James 4.13.
As people age, it seems that “the years that lie ahead are few” Job 16.22. Even though we may reach the ripe old age of 80, “the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh” Psalm 90.9-10. But Solomon said it doesn’t matter if you lived a thousand years twice, death is still coming for you, Ecclesiastes 6.1-9. Maybe how you live, and what you live for, is what really matters, yes?
The Bible has a recipe for adding years to one’s life: wisdom, Proverbs 4.10; 9.11, and obedience to parents, Deuteronomy 5.16; Ephesians 6.1-3. Diet and exercise are good, but God’s plan for longevity is better. Remember that Hezekiah got 15 years added to his life, but it didn’t turn out so well for him, Isaiah 38.5. Continue reading “The years of our lives”
Job expressed the desire to have never been born, so great was his suffering. In his moral confusion, Solomon considered better than both the living and the dead “the one who has not been born and has not seen the evil things that are done on earth” Ecclesiastes 4.3.
The Lord Jesus used this idea, of better to have never been born, for the one who betrayed him. Continue reading “Better to have never been born”