Sometimes we may think that we have it bad as Christians living in the 21st century. Our society seems to be turning against anything having to do with Christianity. But when we compare our situation to those living in the first century, what we go through is insignificant.
Nero was the ruler in Rome. He persecuted Christians, resulting in the deaths of many Christians – including, we believe, the apostles Paul and Peter. As the persecution began, Christians found themselves alienated from those around them. How do you face this type of aggression day after day?
Peter began his first letter by reminding them of all that they had because they were Christians. Continue reading “Our secure hope”
In the life of his saints, problems large and small do not go unnoticed by the Lord. Continue reading When your car quits in front of the tow truck
What do you say to someone as your life comes to its close?
As Paul wrote the second letter we have to Timothy, what memories he must have had of this younger man. He had taken Timothy with him on his travels and Timothy had learned from Paul to the extent that Paul could leave him to get on with the work that needed done for the Lord.
Yet there is always something more to say, some advice that you think the other person might need once you are gone. Listen as we read some of what Paul wrote as he knew his life was almost over. Continue reading “Living a godly life”
A few school teachers seem to delight in failing students. They make up trick questions, use questionable methods, and prefer murky objectives and subjective grading. But God wants to give every child of his a passing grade, if we will but respond positively to his testing.
The Lord works for our success. He wants us to grow and be like him. He has our best interest at heart. God is good and desires to bless. “The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the LORD tests hearts” Proverbs 17.3. His testing has a good purpose. He hopes to bring out the best in us. Continue reading “The pudding is in the proof: God proves his people”
As I ended my day-long seminar last Saturday on the biblical model for the church, I felt my mind moving up into another level. The words came more easily, the phrases were more elegant, the ideas flowed almost flawlessly.
Such a shift into a higher plane of communication occurs rarely. Most times, my teaching plods along. Much mental effort is required to put the points across. Continue reading “Plodding or planing?”
Funerals are painful and the emotions they evoke are as complex as anything we face as human beings.
It’s time we realize how deep and complicated grief can be. We criticize each other for grieving wrong when we’re unable to grasp the complete picture. Continue reading “Grief is very complex”
What thoughts do unexpected blessings trigger? Perhaps our human nature gravitates toward wondering what unanticipated blessings might come our way.
Jesus, however, flipped our desires around when he taught it is more blessed to give than to receive. Our lives should be like a street through which God’s blessings pass, not dead end cul-de-sacs. So how might God’s people help others in unexpected ways? Continue reading “Conduits of unexpected blessing”
It can overwhelm and sap every ounce of energy. It can grow into an all-consuming question dominating life. It can paralyze, frustrate and evoke the deepest anger. It is the question, “Why did this happen?” Although we might never obtain an adequate or accurate answer, a clear path forward exists. Continue reading “Wasting energy and time on “why””
As we read through the dialogue in Job, we have the advantage of knowing what was in chapter 1. It was there that God declared that there was no one like Job: “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8 NET). As we read through the dialogue between Job and his three friends, keep in mind that Job is innocent of doing anything that caused the calamities that he has had to endure. Continue reading “It’s your own fault”
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My heart is glad
In 1976, Stevie Wonder released the album, Songs in the Key of Life. One of the enduring songs on that album is an upbeat, harmonica-laden, “Isn’t She Lovely,” a song that attempts to capture his feelings in the moments after his daughter, Aisha, was born: Continue reading “Unspoken words from the cross – Pt. 3”