What we are experiencing as a nation right now goes far deeper than public policies, issues, injustices, and real or perceived wrongs.
The birth, life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus demonstrated that fatherly yearning of God. It demonstrated the depth of that love that caused Jesus to sacrifice himself for our redemption.
I get distressed and angry every time I listen to the news or see what is going on in the world. We live in a deeply divided society, country, and world.
Let’s deal with an inconvenient truth: you are not basically a good person. Neither am I. The reason we think we are good is simple; our standards are too low.
Today let us reflect on Psalm 119:27 “Make me understand the way of Thy precepts, so I will meditate on Thy wonders.” The Genesis account of creation profoundly states mankind is made in the image of God. Yet no two of us are identical. Each of us are influenced by our environment in unique …
There are times to be angry over wrongdoing and injustices. There are appropriate occasions for peaceful protest, for letting our voices be heard, and for calling for change. However, it seems that our current atmosphere is one saturated with anger, fear, and gloom.
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 22:3). These are wise observations that may be applied to people regarding the control of thistles, especially today’s thistle.
Over these past months, beginning when we weren’t able to hold in-person worship services for a while, my wife and I have been tuning in to a few other church services made available online.
Our nation is in crisis. We are facing problems that are not new really. A study of history seems to reveal that all the great civilizations of the past collapsed from within, before ever facing threats from without. Their downfall was first a moral breakdown.
We are a people in exile.
This past week I was staying at home, waiting for test results. I had been exposed to COVID-19. I did not feel any symptoms. Still … I needed to know – not simply for myself but for the people that I serve – whether I was positive or negative.
With the political conventions having taken place over the past two weeks, many have been focusing on our upcoming elections, especially the race for the White House.
I heard a story on the radio the other day of a well-known atheist who requested a simple Christian man to tell him what he believed about Jesus. At first the Christian demurred saying, “No, I can’t possibly stand up to the arguments you are sure to bring.” To which the renowned atheist replied, “I don’t want to argue with you; I just want to know what you believe.”
As students and teachers head back to school, many of them are doing so online rather than through in-person classes. While such a setup is better than nothing, it certainly has its drawbacks.
“These are the times that try men souls.” While those words are appropriate for our current situation, they were published in the winter of 1776 when the newly hatched American Revolution seemed doom to face a quick and final death.
I am struggling with frustration. Frustration at the continuing rise in the number of CPVOD-19 cases. Frustration with having to continue to push off our public gathering for worship out of our concern for public safety and love of neighbor.
Some of us have marveled at the perspective of the Native American cultures in which the land and the buffalo were God’s gifts for all to use, not to own. In those cultures, the abundantly fruitful world was to be carefully managed and not wastefully exploited.
Many people believe that religions may be different on their surfaces, but at their core they are all the same. But a serious study of world religions reveals just the opposite.
My favorite passage in all of Scripture – the one I want to make certain is read at my funeral – is Romans 8:31-39. It is the height of Paul’s language, enthusiastically proclaiming that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ. Paul’s words are so powerful and so inspiring that I would encourage you to read and pray the words daily. Perhaps you can even memorize these verses. Make these words a part of your life.
We’re not the first believers to experience unfriendly conditions. Many have had to deal with far worse than what we’re facing at the moment. Those first disciples encountered opposition, imprisonment, persecution, and even death as they fulfilled their purpose and ministry.
In my most recent articles I have been writing on what in theology is known as the Substitutionary atonement; namely, that Jesus the Christ came as a willing and sufficient sacrifice for our sin.
In Matthew 13:44 (KJV) Jesus illustrated the excitement of discovery of God’s love and grace. He said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” (KJV)
At the end of Matthew 13, we hear Jesus pile on image after image about what it looks like to have God break into the world, to have love and faith overwhelm the world.
Recently I tuned in to part of the last round of a PGA tournament on TV. As I observed the golfers that day, something odd struck me. It seemed like no one on the course was actually enjoying what he was doing.
I for one can’t imagine the agony of The Father, observing from His Throne in heaven, the agony of His only Son on the cross! I can perhaps somewhat feel the agony in His heart when the Son cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). That is the ultimate sacrifice of love! Not that the Father came and gave, but that the Son willingly came and gave Himself as a ransom for us.
As these days, weeks, and months progress during this pandemic and the struggle for racial justice, I find my faith on a rollercoaster. Sometimes I am angry. Sometimes I am full of hope. Sometimes I despair. Sometimes I feel the presence of God so powerfully. Sometimes I wonder where God is.
Job, the subject of an Old Testament book, suffered a devastating loss of wealth and family. Several friends came to sit with him, each one with the notion that he “knew” why God had caused this happen to Job.
Recently there seems to have been an increase in the number of instances in which businesses, TV shows, and individuals are facing the consequences of some aspect of their branding, actions, or words which some people consider to be offensive.
I don’t know much about the more recent video games, but in older versions which involved some kind of racing you were often given several options of courses from which you could choose. Some might be fairly tame and predictable – good for beginners.
Many false teachers (the subject I introduced in last week’s articles) will discount the writings of Paul saying that he was “the great corrupter of the faith.” The idea being they believe Paul, who hated Christians with a passion, somehow got converted but then he misunderstood and miscommunicated the truth about Jesus.
Matthew chapter 6 teaches us about a whole lot of things. It teaches about giving to the needy; praying and fasting; and it also teaches about money and possessions, all of which are important to our wellbeing. However, today, I would like to focus on fasting and praying.
As we continue to live our lives and adjust to this new normal, I sense a feeling of fatigue in so many: there is the COVID-19 fatigue; injustice fatigue; a fatigue of crying and mourning – mourning the loss of loved ones, the loss of homes, jobs, or the loss of what was once called normalcy.
Recently my wife and I were able to enjoy a getaway at a beach for a few days. One morning as I was sitting on our small balcony taking in the ocean view, a rainbow suddenly appeared over the water.
We are in the middle of a serious health pandemic. The deaths by COVID-19 have exceeded 125,000 in our nation. When compared to the number of deaths by our military personnel in the Korean War plus the Vietnam War (33,686 + 58,220) we have already lost 30,000 or more to COVID-19 than in those wars combined.
Many of us have witnessed this scenario with our own children or grandchildren, or else we’ve seen it play out on video with someone else’s kids. A child got into something he wasn’t supposed to – the cookie jar, a candy dish, a cake, or pie. When he’s confronted about it, he flatly denies having been disobedient. However, the whole time he’s steadfastly proclaiming his innocence, the evidence in the form of chocolate, icing, or pie-filling is smeared all over his face.