Self-discipline

For if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged” (1 Corinthians 11:31 NKJV).

Is there any traveler who does not get impatient with airport security lines and procedures? Those add extra hours to every trip as well as additional stress and fatigue. I always tell myself (and mean it) that I don’t care what I have to go through as long as it is making me and others safer, but I still get tired and sometimes a little impatient. After all, those lines can be very long and there are often multiple procedures to endure. It adds up quickly.

In a perfect world, such travails would be unnecessary. There would be no terrorists to commit atrocities upon the innocent. Every traveler would be innocent of evil intent and willing to comply with standards of safe and honest conduct. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Of course we know that the world we live in is just not like that. Sin and evil exist. Bad things happen. And we must take precautions and endure some limits to our comfort and freedom because of them. We don’t like it, but it simply is what it is. Continue reading “Self-discipline”

Being a disciple

What does it mean to be a disciple?

Many people think following Jesus means simply accepting him into their hearts. A disciple, however, is a follower and a learner of Jesus, not simply one who accepts him.

Being a disciple of Christ means more than just agreeing with the evidence that Jesus is the son of God. It means doing what Jesus says. In John 8:31, the Lord said, “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine” (John 8:31 NASB). The statement he makes is conditional. He says “IF you continue in my word…” We must learn to live and conduct ourselves the way Jesus commands. A true disciple is not just one who agrees with the Master and then says, “I’ll just do part of what he says.” A true disciple is one who surrenders his will to be Master and does what he says. Continue reading “Being a disciple”

Don’t judge me because you sin differently than I do

Social media popularizes catchy sayings at record speeds. When something appears to work, it takes flight. Yet, phrases must actually contain truth and substance to win debates.

To those who don’t understand sin this saying appears logical. However, it’s spiritually naive upon closer examination. Continue reading “Don’t judge me because you sin differently than I do”

A thorny subject

It is said that a pessimist decries the fact that roses have thorns, while an optimist rejoices that thorn bushes yield beautiful roses.

We gardeners just take the thorns in stride. We invest in special gloves that aren’t punctured easily and wear long sleeves in hot weather. We ignore the strange looks we often get, as if folks wonder who pushed us into the tiger’s cage at the zoo. Continue reading “A thorny subject”

Will we learn from our failings?

Spiritual awareness is indispensable as we try to maneuver through this challenging life. Even as Christians, we know we’ll fail at times and the Lord is ready to forgive (1 John 1:7).

We exhibit righteousness so as to minimize the sin in our lives (Romans 12:1-2). The Lord is forgiving and patient but he has limits (Ephesians 5:1-14). He knows the spiritual direction we are traveling and we must remain in the light. Continue reading “Will we learn from our failings?”

Cure for the incurable

The other day I was reading the paper from the Doctor’s office on colds and flu. As far as I can make out, what they were saying was that in a world where we can cure cancer and do brain surgery, where we can put a man on the moon, and microwaveable burritos can be served in two minuets fifty seconds, in this amazing world, they still haven’t found a cure for the common cold. Continue reading “Cure for the incurable”

Does sin really exist?

“Man, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20).

Most of us can identify with Charlie Brown. We set some goal: “This time, I’m going to kick that football!” then somebody pulls the ball away at the last second, and we fall flat on our back. But there was one man in the Bible who set his sights high, and got even more than he asked for. That was because his goal was to encounter Jesus. Continue reading “Does sin really exist?”

What happens when we ignore the Composer?

“Be cleansed” (Luke 5:13).

Behold the impact of Jesus’ words:

  • Jesus said, “Be still!” and the storm stopped immediately (Mark 4:39)
  • Jesus said, “Be cleansed,” and the leper was cured instantly (Luke 5:13).
  • Jesus said, “Come forth,” and Lazarus walked out promptly (John 11:43).
  • Jesus said, “Come out” and demons fled fearfully (Luke 4:35-36).
  • Jesus said, “Let there be” (Genesis 1:3,6,14) and the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, sprang into existence from nothing, unhesitatingly (Exodus 20:11; Psalm 146:6; John 1:3).

Continue reading “What happens when we ignore the Composer?”

Tear it out

“If the priest examines it, and indeed the plague has faded after washing it, then he shall tear it out of the garment, whether out of the warp or out of the woof, or out of the leather” (Leviticus 13:56 NKJV).

Most modern readers of the Bible avoid the book of Leviticus, arguing that it is only a list of obsolete rules that no longer pertain to us, and besides, who can understand all that strange language? Though I agree that much of the reading is tedious at best, I believe there is much of value to be gleaned from its regulations. Continue reading “Tear it out”