Work within your limitations

Retired people find themselves at home a lot, with time on their hands. So they say. I wouldn’t know. Then, sickness often restricts people to a bedroom or a couch for a time. Mothers used to stay at home with little children (congratulations to those who still do), and they’d sometimes feel stir-crazy being confined with the toddlers. And let us not forget the golden agers who lose mobility, are stuck at home, or now find themselves living in a care facility where their every activity is regimented and controlled.

Life situations sometimes restrict us, and we can’t do what we once did. We can’t go out, we can’t get about, we can’t decide when and where to go. Continue reading “Work within your limitations”

2020 vision

When Luke referred to his biography of Jesus, he summed it up in this way: “I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen” (Acts 1:1-2 NET).

What we do and what we teach must go together. We see that in Jesus’ life: he not only taught the way to live, he lived that way. Continue reading “2020 vision”

How to be an effective teacher of the Bible

A supporting congregation had a teacher-appreciation dinner Aug. 18 after the Sunday evening service. We were invited to attend. It wasn’t my moment, but I thought of all the teachers of Bible school, the teachers of evangelistic studies, those who teach to encourage brethren, and all those who have been given the gift of teaching. What would I like to say to them if given the chance? Three things came immediately to mind. Continue reading “How to be an effective teacher of the Bible”

The gospel of power

Let us never speak of the requirements of the gospel without speaking, in the same breath, of the power of the gospel, not only to save, but to sustain.

Many in the world are power-seekers, Jeremiah 9.23. It gives them a sense of worth and purpose. From the school-yard bully to the national dictator, not a few want to be the winner of the fighter’s ring. Their glory is the knock-out. Continue reading “The gospel of power”

5 gifts parents can give their children

1. LOVE. Because of love parents have compassion for their children, Psalm 103.13. They know how to give good gifts to their children: “Is there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7.9-11. The apostle Paul speaks of a father’s love for his children. “As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his own children” 1 Thessalonians 2.11. Parents must learn to die to themselves, to extinguish their own selfishness, so that they might love their children with true love. Continue reading “5 gifts parents can give their children”

Our influence

Do we realize the influence we have on those around us? Although we may think that no one pays attention to us, we influence more than we realize. Notice this parable of Jesus.

“The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head. As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-29 CSV).

This is how it works in God’s kingdom. Seed is scattered. As the Parable of the Sower is in the same context (Mark 4:1-20), and it identified the seed as the word, the seed that is scattered would make sense to still be God’s word. We scatter seed by teaching people about Jesus. Continue reading “Our influence”

He loved the unlovely

There is one group with whom Jesus talked more than anyone except his disciples: the Pharisees.

The Pharisees are mentioned 82 times in the gospels, and almost all of those are in connection with Jesus teaching them. Just in the book of Matthew, the Pharisees are referred to 27 times. In more than one chapter in that book, there are three or more uses of the word. Continue reading “He loved the unlovely”