Words and meanings are important. Dictionaries and texts to teach language exist for this purpose. Socrates supposedly said, “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” Every speaker, even politicians, learn that effective communication means one must understand words.
What is the definition of peace? Continue reading “What is peace?”
What did Jesus look like? No one knows. Yes, there have been many pictures painted of men as “models,” but no true picture exists.
Does this mean we can’t understand what he looks like? Until the second coming of Christ, it does. But his spiritual likeness is just as important, isn’t it?
Someone may say, “How can we come to understand his spiritual likeness?” All we need to do is look in the scriptures for the answer. Continue reading “See the Prince of Peace”
Have you ever known anyone who became so anxious with reading a story that he or she would skip to the last chapter to see how it ended? Years ago I remember someone telling me this was her strategy for reading books. For many of us this would ruin the story. However for her, knowing how the narrative tensions would be resolved enabled her to relax enough to read through the story.
I’m not convinced this is a great strategy for reading books. Nevertheless, it is a helpful way to live life. Continue reading “It will be alright”
The Holman Bible Dictionary defines contentment as “An internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances.”
Although it’s one of the most valuable things on earth, how to attain it is highly controversial.
Humanity gropes for solutions but wealth, prestige, glamour, sexuality, substance abuse and rebellion have all failed spectacularly. Continue reading “Contentment is never found in things”
In the fleshly realm, forgiveness represents everything humanity hates.
In a song about forgiving a cheating, lying wife, Lyle Lovett sings, “God does. But I don’t. God will, but I won’t. And that’s the difference between God and me.”
Forgiveness to some means surrender and endorsement. We won’t forgive until they’ve suffered sufficiently to appease our anger. But emotions are the cruelest creatures on earth and they can’t be trusted. Continue reading “Thoughts and questions about forgiveness”
Whenever Bible classes discuss Mark chapter five and the healing of the man possessed by many demons, they tend to miss a very important idea: Jesus brings peace. Continue reading “Jesus brings peace”
After Jacob received the blessing from Isaac by deceiving him, Jacob had to flee for his life, as Esau wanted to kill him. This began a twenty-year sojourn by Jacob in the land of his mother, Rebekah, living with his uncle Laban. This twenty-year period can be divided almost evenly into three periods. Jacob described these this way: “This was my lot for twenty years in your house: I worked like a slave for you – fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, but you changed my wages ten times!” (Genesis 31:41 NET). Continue reading “Mizpah”
Peace is difficult to obtain. In fact, the only lasting peace available is in the spiritual realm. However, even there it must be properly focused. Peace is a possession of God and we’ll find it only on his terms.
Humans falsely think that physical peace brings spiritual peace. But that’s backwards. All measures of peace begin spiritually and then emanate out to the other areas of our lives. Continue reading “Looking for peace in all the wrong places”
It seems that throughout the history of mankind, people have developed words to distinguish groups of people. The Greeks referred to all those who were not Greek as barbarians. In Rome you were either a citizen or a non-citizen. The Jews called all those who were not Jews by the term “Gentiles.” It would seem the purpose of creating such distinctions was to elevate your own group and put down those who you considered less than your group. Even today we can find this type of terminology in places. Continue reading “No more “us” and “them””
The names “Paul” and “Barnabas” seemed to go hand in hand during the early years of Christianity. It was Barnabas who took time to find out about Saul, the former persecutor of Christians, when he was trying to join the Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-27). Later, when he saw such a great opportunity in Antioch, he went to Tarsus to find Saul.
For the next year they worked together and “taught a significant number of people” (Acts 11:26 NET). They became part of the group of “prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch” (Acts 13:1). The Holy Spirit told this group to “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Barnabas and Saul sailed to Cyprus and later went into the Roman province of Asia proclaiming the good news of Jesus, before returning to Antioch. Continue reading “When Christians disagree”