Honor to whom honor is due

It was with happy thoughts of a yellow climbing rose that I planted something on the west side of the old white trellis. The lady who traded plants with me wasn’t sure it was really the old-fashioned “Jude the Obscure,” because her tag had only been labeled “Rose by the trellis.” She has four trellises! She gave me the names of all the possibilities, and most of them were climbers.

The weeks plodded by as I anxiously awaited the blossom that would reveal the variety of my new acquisition. Being behind a three-foot wall, the first bloom came and went, unheralded and unseen! Imagine my disappointment when I saw the spent rose hip instead of a bloom. More weeks dragged by. At last, Jude opened in all his fragrant wonder! Continue reading “Honor to whom honor is due”

Don’t mess with My people

It is a warning as hot as the Mohave Desert, as serious as a serpent. God warns us not to destroy his people.

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16,17).

Notice two things: First, the personal pronouns are plural. When he says “you are God‘s temple,” he means, “you all are God’s temple.” Second, note that important word, “for.” The reason the consequences of division are so dire is because of the identity of what they are dividing. They divide nothing less than God’s temple! Continue reading “Don’t mess with My people”

Zeal and knowledge

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:1, 2).

A shepherd once strode into the palace of the most powerful man on earth and made a stunning demand: “Thus says the LORD the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go.'” Do you remember Pharaoh’s dubious response?

“Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice and let Israel go,” he wondered derisively, “I do not know the LORD, and moreover I will not let Israel go.” Continue reading “Zeal and knowledge”

Whose garden is it, anyway?

Why do we dig in the dirt and lovingly plant gardens? For ourselves?

The reason we take care of our plants in the garden is for our own use and pleasure. However, we must understand and respect the needs of the plant, or our efforts may well be in vain.

God demands respect. He wants us to worship him and is clear in scripture how that is to happen. (Spoiler alert here: it’s all about God, not about us.) Continue reading “Whose garden is it, anyway?”

Should we show others respect?

Is it even necessary these days to show respect to others?

I was speaking about respect recently when it dawned on me that my hearers had little idea of what the term meant nor were they convinced that certain people deserved it at all. A broad shouldered young man explained to me that he didn’t have to respect his aged grandmother because he was stronger than her. Please tell me that we are not in an era where might makes right. “I respect someone because he is bigger, or has more guns.” Another person suggested that he would give respect only to those who respected him.

Of course a teacher who belittles or humiliates his students is not being respectful. But can we say that a teacher exhibits a different kind of respect to his students than a student to his teacher? They occupy different locations in the education system. Likewise a policeman and civilian or judge and defendant should be respectful to each other, though you might have noticed that the judge does not address the defendant as “Your Honor.” Continue reading “Should we show others respect?”