Relying on God

There is an interesting anomaly that took place while David was king. It is found in the list of the men who were his advisors or, perhaps we might say, his cabinet.

“So David reigned over all Israel, administering justice and righteousness for all his people. Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was court historian; Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was court secretary; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief officials” (2 Samuel 8:15-18 CSB). Continue reading “Relying on God”

Active listening

Active listening. Do you see the apparent contradiction in terms? Yet it is true: Good listeners are active listeners.

I imagine it is because of the low premium most of us place on the art of good listening.

  • Pray that the Lord will help you to be a good hearer of the word: Far be it from us to actually encourage the preacher by showing him that we care about what is taking place!.

Continue reading “Active listening”

Zeal

Jesus went after the money changers.

They had set up shop in the Temple where they did not belong. The Temple was a place of sacrifice, reflection, prayer, and worship to God; it was not a place for unscrupulous men to make a fortune exchanging currency.

The Lord took a whip of cords, overturned the money changers’ tables and drove them all out along with the sheep and the oxen (John 2:14-17). Continue reading “Zeal”

Church should make you feel good

“Church should make you feel good” (Tammy Faye Bakker Messner).

Well, yes, Ms. Bakker. When we look at the cross and see the love of the Lord exhibited there, that feels good. Being forgiven feels good. Having someone listen to our prayers feels good. Being with other people of faith feels good. Is there something to celebrate when we worship God? Absolutely everything! No Super Bowl national championship compares with the grandeur of being in God’s presence.

Church should make you feel good. Continue reading “Church should make you feel good”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 7)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 7)

Three passages are critical to our understanding of the miracles about which our New Testament speaks. One of them is the passage above, with which this series of articles began, and around which it is based. The other two will be discussed below.

This being the final of a 7-part series, we will give a brief summary of the previous articles. We have thus far argued that: Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 7)”

The strings of the heart

This particular truth is presented as if it is the ultimate “’aha!’ moment.” Someone heard from someone who told them that the Greek word in Ephesians 5:19 for “making music” actually means “plucking the strings of.” The passage, as you probably know, goes this way:

“Addressing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” The word translated “making melody” (psallo) indeed means to “pluck the strings of” (as in, a harp, lyre, etc.). Continue reading “The strings of the heart”

Snakes, demons and gasoline (part 6)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 6)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

What, if any, limitations did God put upon miracles, according to the Scripture? We noted in the previous article that miracles were certainly limited in that only apostles could confer miraculous gifts to others.

But someone might respond, “If there are still apostles living today, then miraculous gifts could still be exercised and passed on by them.”

The Mormon religion, for example, believes that there are modern-day apostles. If this was the case, then it would seem at least possible for miracles to be both performed and passed on by the laying on of their hands. Could this be true? Continue reading “Snakes, demons and gasoline (part 6)”

Contemporary Christian music

Recently I was astonished to hear someone say his main method of teaching was to use “Contemporary Christian music” in his Bible classes. He pointed out that the lyrics of many rock, rap and country songs were sinful and degrading, while the Contemporary Christian songs featured lyrics that were “spiritual.”

There is no question that a great deal of popular music is trashy, mean-spirited and hateful. The Christian should turn that music off just as surely as he would walk out of a movie that is laced through with ungodly content.

You do walk out of such movies, don’t you? Continue reading “Contemporary Christian music”

Our highest love

I guess it’s not a very well known song these days. It makes use of archaic verb endings, and is as “contemporary” as a Mozart sonata. It is the first phrase that sticks out like an iceberg in the Kalahari:

“Lord of our highest love, let now thy peace be given,
Fix all our thoughts on thee above, our hearts on thee in heaven” (Gilbert Tickle).

It is a “Communion song,” the following verses a study on the emblems of the Lord’s Supper. But that first phrase still calls us: We might love many things, family, country, or music, or the out of doors, not bad things in themselves, but the Lord is, or should be our highest love. Continue reading “Our highest love”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 5)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 5)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

As we now turn our attention to the duration of miracles, we must first note some other significant limitations about the miracles recorded in the early days of the church:

Miracles were limited to apostolic ministry.

In the book of Acts – which records the early weeks (chapters 1-7), months (8-9), and years (10-28) of the church’s existence – there are numerous miracles recorded. Without fail, aside from those worked directly by God, these miracles were wrought either by (1) an apostle, or (2) someone on whom an apostle had laid hands. But did those on whom the apostles laid hands confer this gift to others? Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 5)”