What is it?

“So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat’ . . . And the house of Israel called its name Manna” (Exodus 16:15, 31 NKJV).

As one travels throughout the world there are many occasions when he or she may ask, “What is this?” It may be regarding a food, a drink, a piece of household furniture, a tool, or even a custom or behavior. There are many cultures in this world, each with its own history, traditions, and particular resources. It is not surprising that varying cultures have found different solutions to many of the same needs. One person’s familiar object may be completely strange to someone else. Continue reading “What is it?”

Stewards of God’s gifts

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1 ESV).

Everything belongs to God. If everything truly belongs to God then nothing truly belongs to us. While we may be in possession of many things, we are owners of none. Instead we are stewards.

A steward is “a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another.” Continue reading “Stewards of God’s gifts”

When there is no peace

They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14).

God desires peace. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He came to bring peace between man and God, between man and himself, and between man and his fellow man. We are to seek peace and pursue it. But how far should we pursue peace?

As forth-tellers, prophets often had the difficult job of reminding God’s people of the covenant that they had made with God. As fore-tellers, prophets often had the difficult job of warning the people of coming judgment due to their refusal to repent.

The weeping prophet, Jeremiah, was God’s messenger leading up to the Babylonian captivity. Judah’s sins were full, and their punishment was imminent. Jeremiah’s task was to speak God’s word to a nation who was dull of hearing and who would “fight against” him (Jeremiah 1:19). This task was a great burden to Jeremiah. He wished for deliverance, he tried to shut God’s words up within him and not speak (Jeremiah 20:8-9). But God was true to his promises to Jeremiah, he was with Jeremiah every step of the way (Jeremiah 1:19; 20:11). Continue reading “When there is no peace”

Assumptions

Some of the biggest mistakes people make come from assumptions. 

The people of Nazareth made assumptions about Jesus that were very wrong. When he visited his hometown, Nazareth, Jesus attended the synagogue and taught there. It was an opportunity to tell people the truth about himself and God.

As Jesus taught the hometown folks, many of them became indignant (Matthew 13:54). One said, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” That was an assumption. These people had seen Jesus all his life. They figured they knew who he was. But, oh, how little they did know! Continue reading “Assumptions”

Big rocks go on the bottom to make a good road

The big stuff

“But also, for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, . . .” (2 Peter 1:5 NKJV).

I have watched as a crew of workers built a road (or driveway) on private property in Bangladesh. First they dug out the soil to a pre-determined depth, then filled it with pieces of concrete broken into chunks the size of one’s doubled fists and larger. After those are packed and leveled there will be a layer of brick chips several inches thick, and ultimately a cement pavement.

The order of fill is of great importance as the varied materials in the base strengthen and support the smooth surface. If the smaller chips were put in first, on the bottom, they would eventually be pressed into the dirt and the road would become uneven and broken. The larger concrete chunks will stay at the correct level. Continue reading “The big stuff”

What is truth?

By Johnny O. Trail — There was once a man who decided that he wanted to lose weight. To that end, he weighed himself on his bathroom scale and determined that he weighed 250 pounds. For the entire next week, he exercised and tried to cut back on what he ate. At the end of the week, he got on the scale and determined that he weighed 260 pounds. He was so angry at what the bathroom scale told him that he took the scale into the garage, got a sledge hammer and beat it to smithereens.

The next day he determined that there had to be something wrong with the scale. So he drives to Wal-Mart and purchases a brand new one. He returned home, made sure that it was properly calibrated, and stepped on to ascertain his weight. The scale revealed that he weighed 262 pounds. It was not what he expected, but he accepted that as a good starting point for his newly renewed attempt at weight loss. For the next week he exercised and watched his food intake (to some extent). Continue reading “What is truth?”

Light from beginning to end

The Bible begins with the creation of light by a word from God, Genesis 1.3. It ends with a mention of the light of God, tying it with the privilege of his people reigning forever: “Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever” Revelation 22.5.

Light is important as a Bible theme because:

1. God is light, 1 John 1.5

Light comes into being as a result of God’s power. The creation started with light. God spoke and it existed. Its creation before the heavenly bodies speaks to its nature as emanating from God. We speak, rightly so, of the moon not having its own light but only reflecting the light of the sun. Similarly, no heavenly body — sun or stars — has, in one true sense, any light of its own. God put them there. He caused them to exist and to shine. He is the only real source of light. Continue reading “Light from beginning to end”

Jesus: the truly qualified teacher

Jesus was expected to travel to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles.

It was fall in Palestine, about the 15th of Tishri (October 12 on our calendar), and the harvest of wheat and olive oil was complete. It was a time of plenty and thanksgiving for God’s blessings.

The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated the wilderness wandering of the Jews at the end of the year.

Although Jesus would go to the feast, he continued walking in Galilee. He knew the Jews were seeking an opportunity to kill him. Jesus’ brothers came to him and warned him to stay away from Jerusalem. Continue reading “Jesus: the truly qualified teacher”