A son or daughter; not a slave

In the first century A.D., slavery was everywhere. According to estimates, 30-40 percent of the population of Italy were slaves.

Slaves did not have relationships with their masters. No master ever let a slave know his business. Slaves were considered living tools for the master. Slaves obeyed their masters or faced the lash.

It is important to realize Jesus did not want slaves. He told his disciples everything they needed to know to discharge their responsibility to preach the gospel to the world. He made his disciples partners in helping others find salvation. Continue reading “A son or daughter; not a slave”

The right order is crucial

The cart before the horse. It may be dated, but it still gets the message across. It could be updated to say, “Don’t put the caboose in the front of the train.” But now trains don’t even have cabooses anymore. What’s the world coming to!?

We have a ton of sayings that are concerned with putting things in the right order. You have to walk before you can run. That’s one.

And cooking! How many recipes tell us to mix some things first, then add other ingredients. The wrong order of the steps will ruin the recipe. Continue reading “The right order is crucial”

The road to glory

How does one achieve glory? Humans think glory means to exalt self above others, and so people have tried to find a way to become the most exalted on earth.

Many used politics to find a route to glory by becoming a ruler. Others accumulated wealth as a way to find themselves exalted and enshrined in memory. Others have simply dominated others in an attempt to gain it. All of them have failed because they never understood what glory is. Continue reading “The road to glory”

Leaving everything to follow Jesus

“Now Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing around him to hear the word of God. He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.” (Luke 5:1-3 NET)

Jesus’ popularity was growing. Just standing by the lake (we know this lake better as the ‘Sea of Galilee’) caused a crowd to gather around him. They were eager to hear him teach more from God’s word. We aren’t given an exact location for this scene, but as Simon is there we are fairly safe to assume this was near Capernaum at the north of the lake. Continue reading “Leaving everything to follow Jesus”

Faithfully serving God

David was nearing the end of his life. Although he had wanted to build the temple for God, he had not been allowed to because he was a warrior (1 Chronicles 28:2-3). Instead, he drew up the plans and what needed to be made, as well as organizing the Levites and priests to serve in the temple (see 1 Chronicles 28:11-21).

God had chosen David’s son Solomon to be David’s successor and rule for God in Israel. “He said to me, ‘Solomon your son is the one who will build my temple and my courts, for I have chosen him to become my son and I will become his father. I will establish his kingdom permanently, if he remains committed to obeying my commands and regulations, as you are doing this day’” (1 Chronicles 28:6-7). Continue reading “Faithfully serving God”

Uzzah and the ark

The Ark of the Covenant had been captured when Samuel was a boy. Although the Philistines returned it to Israel, it ended up staying in the home of Abinadab near Kiriath-jearim. 

David was concerned at the beginning of his reign as King over Israel that he have access to the Ark of God. He said, “Let’s move the ark of our God back here, for we did not seek his will throughout Saul’s reign” (1 Chronicles 13:3 NET). It is a sad statement on Saul’s reign that the Ark was not consulted to discover what God wanted of him as king at any point during his forty years reign. Continue reading “Uzzah and the ark”

God’s action and man’s response

Newton’s third law of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There is no similar spiritual law at work in God’s plan, since we can never equal his actions. But there is a divine principle that applies about action and reaction: Every action of God deserves a positive and receptive reaction on man’s part.

In the plan of salvation, people have sometimes ridiculed the emphasis on God’s part and man’s part. The two are decidedly unequal. God’s part deals with the procuring or accomplishment of salvation. Man’s part is described by receiving or accepting salvation.

For all that God has done for us, then, something must be done on our part. Salvation is not automatic, nor universal. There are conditions to be met. Something must be done by an individual in order to receive it. Continue reading “God’s action and man’s response”

Are we listening?

Samuel had been dedicated to the Lord as a child (see 1 Samuel 1). His mother had been unable to conceive and she promised God that her first child would be given to serve him. God answered that prayer and his mother took him to serve in the tabernacle with the high priest, Eli.

One night, as he was going to bed in the house of God, Samuel heard a voice calling to him. He assumed it was Eli – as Eli’s eyesight was failing that was a logical conclusion. He ran to Eli but Eli hadn’t called him; he was told to go back to bed. And it happened again, with the same conclusion. Continue reading “Are we listening?”