“Greater sinners…”

“Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans?” (Luke 13:2, NASB).

Is there such a thing as one sin being greater than another?

Jesus was asked about some Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Josephus wrote about skirmishes between the Jews and the Romans – particularly around Jewish feasts – that resulted in heavy bloodshed (Pulpit Commentary). Perhaps such an event is here referenced. Continue reading ““Greater sinners…””

Rend your hearts and not your garments

How will God handle it if I come back?

I suspect that many people never come back to the Lord and the church because they imagine they will receive a hostile reception. Sadly, in many cases they are right.  Brethren (and sisters) can be hard on each other. Even well meaning brethren can be awkward and ungracious when it comes to accepting the returning wrong doer. And we tend to be hard on ourselves. We know we have sinned, and we sense our unworthiness.

Note, however, the reception promised by the prophet Joel: “Yet even now,” he cries, “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12). Continue reading “Rend your hearts and not your garments”

Many or few to be saved? Worry about your salvation!

Many folk love to discuss theology. Jesus, not so much. How many will be saved? Will they be few? That was apparently a popular discussion back in the day. So someone from the crowd asked Jesus to comment on it.

His reply? Let’s bring it home. First off, make sure you are saved. Makes no difference if there be many or few, if you’re not among them, now does it? That seems to be his approach in Luke 13.22-30. As it was a bit earlier in Luke 13.1-5. Unless you repent. Continue reading “Many or few to be saved? Worry about your salvation!”

A spirit of forgiveness

From the time he had set eyes on his brothers, he wanted to know whether they had changed. He wanted to forgive his brothers. But forgiveness isn’t cheap.

His brothers hadn’t recognised him although he knew them in an instant. After all – all they saw was an Egyptian who was in charge who seemed rather harsh, not the Joseph they had sold into slavery sixteen years earlier. They were his brothers, but had they changed? Continue reading “A spirit of forgiveness”

Dirty and dirtier

One seasonal task that my daughter and I enjoy doing near the end of summer is making our trademark herb vinegars.

There are important things to consider when working with fresh herbs. You don’t want to bruise the leaves while putting them into the jars. We always try for the best, most artistic composition of the herbs as we carefully place them down through the narrow bottle neck into the glass bottles. Continue reading “Dirty and dirtier”

The God who heals

Have you ever been hurt, so badly hurt you felt something had died inside of you? If you have, did you feel like you had spiritually and emotionally flat-lined? How do your recover?

It’s impossible to live for any amount of time and not be hurt. We all have wounds, because life isn’t fair. We suffer persecution. Simply living the Christian life is an affront to many people in society. It stirs up resentment among friends and neighbors. It certainly stirs up Satan, who will act. This is the crab in the bucket principle – they don’t want to change, they simply want to pull you back into the bucket with them. Continue reading “The God who heals”

A second chance

It is time in middle Tennessee for what we call the “second crop” of vegetables to be planted. I am about to plant my cucumbers for pickling. No, not the second crop, like some are doing. This will be the first round.

It is great to have a long growing season, as the vegetable garden didn’t get planted as early as usual. The extended season is giving me a second chance at having fresh tomatoes to freeze or can, and plenty of zucchini to steam, grill, bake into bread, and finally to foist on my neighbors. Continue reading “A second chance”

When someone comes forward

I think there are times when someone comes forward after a sermon that we think: “Oh he must be a sinner, he must have done something bad.”

Let me remind you that there are sinners who go forward … and there are sinners (that would be the rest of us) who do not.

In reality, who responds to the Gospel call? The spiritually sensitive, the soft- hearted, the ones who deeply desire to serve God better. Who does not come forward? Often the proud, the ones who fail to look in their own hearts, the ones who think they never make mistakes. Continue reading “When someone comes forward”

Learning is change

We were exploring the implications of Romans 15:4 and I asked the question, “What is learning?” One of the young women in my Bible class gave this answer: “Learning is change.” It was simply profound.

Several years ago I was listening to an online lecture while doing some painting. The speaker (Jody Apple) gave the most profound summary of the purpose of the Bible I have heard to this day:

“Here’s where you are; here’s where you need to be. Change.” Continue reading “Learning is change”