God works good out of bad

It can be difficult for Christians living in the 21st century to realise the intensity of the hatred of Jews against Christians in the 1st century. As we read through the book of Acts we find that the Jews were the ones who persecuted Christians. When Paul was preaching it was the Jews who stirred up opposition against him, to the point of pursuing Paul from town to town.

Perhaps it is ironic that one of the first persecutors was Paul himself, known as Saul of Tarsus. The persecutor became a proclaimer of what he had persecuted, and was then persecuted himself! The Jews wanted Paul dead. They had stoned him once and made plans to eliminate him several times. Perhaps they hated Paul intensely because, in their minds, he had switched sides and because they could not answer his arguments about Jesus from their own scriptures. Continue reading “God works good out of bad”

Difficult people

Jesus taught that how we handle difficult people contributes either toward our lives collapsing or remaining firm. If we have sung the childhood song about the wise man who built his house upon a rock, then we realize just how serious Jesus is in the Sermon on the Mount.

What might not immediately come to mind are the many types of troublesome people Jesus described in that lesson. Jesus runs through a familiar list of faces. Continue reading “Difficult people”

Exalting encouragement over entitlement

From the start the American flag represented our cry for liberty. Through the years the mantle of freedom has become more than the pursuit of independence from merry ‘ole England. Rather, it has morphed into empowering lifestyle expectations.

Whether expressed with finesse or with a rough crudeness on the morally low end of the spectrum, the language of freedom became a tool for the ego justifying the pursuit of unbridled desires. “I should be able to do whatever I want.”

Polite society discovered at the other end of the spectrum, the comfortable reality of being empowered to engage in anything not inherently wrong. Engulfed within such an environment, Christians can easily acquiesce toward this higher ground to feel justified in simply exemplifying a moralistic lifestyle.

Yet, God calls disciples to a much higher standard than merely abstaining from intrinsically evil acts.

Continue reading “Exalting encouragement over entitlement”