Monday, December 16, 2013

What Do You Own?

What do you own?

Some may answer this question economically - I own my house (or co-own with my mortgage lender). I own my car (or co-own with the bank who holds my auto loan).  I own my phone (or lease it from my cell service company).  I own my computer (but pay fees for the software and licenses on it).  I own my television (but pay a recurring fee to put cable channels on it).  So, I own a lot, but only halfway.

Some may answer this question inter-personally - I have a wife, two kids, a dog, good parents, manageable in-laws.  But, these people are not my personal property, so I do not have true ownership rights over them, even though there are certain laws that grant me care and custody of my children, I do not have full ownership of all their person.  So, I have relationships, but I do not own people.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Obedience, When Matters

Matthew Henry used the following sentence regarding sinning during the peace offering (Lev 7:16-18), "if any person ate of what was so left their conduct should be animadverted upon as a very high misdemeanor," (Henry Commentary 368).

I had to look up animadversion.  It means "harsh criticism".  There's your word for the morning.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

God's Judgment Dismantles His Creation

Though a bit of an overstatement, there are two words used to describe the earth prior to God's spoken acts of creation: "formless" (tohu) and "void" (bohu) in Gen 1:2. These two words appear several other places in the OT, but not often do they appear together (so far, I have found one place).

Isaiah 34 is a chapter describing God's judgment against the nations who opposed Him by opposing or oppressing Israel, His chosen people. In particular, God singles out Edom for judgment. The chapter is soaked with bloody imagery:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Son Asks for Me

Jesus' prayer in John 17 is rich: a blessed prayer that has invoked worship and assurance of God's love in Christians since it was first prayed.  After talking personally with His Father about the success of His mission (the disciples finally fully believe that Jesus is from God in v.8 of the confession in John 16:30), Jesus prays first for the disciples and their continued perseverance after Jesus drinks the cup of the Father's wrath (dies on the cross).  Then, Jesus prays "for those also who believe in Me through their word," (John 17:20).  The final portion of His prayer is for those who will believe in Him through the witness of the apostles.  One of those apostles, John, wrote down this prayer later in life.  So, all of us who are Christians today, who have believed because of the enduring witness of the apostles preserved in the New Testament Scriptures, are the recipients of Jesus' prayer in John 17:20-26.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Need for Faith from Those Who Think They Can See, Pt. 2

In the previous post, "Faith that Sees" the question, "Who is Jesus?" was examined in the context of a man born blind, healed by Jesus, and come to spiritual sight as he confessed his belief and worshiped Jesus.  That Jesus did not deny this worship shows that Jesus understood Himself worthy of Godly praise.  Before leaving John 9, it is important to look one more time at the Pharisees, and particularly, Jesus' final words to them.

Faith that Sees, pt. 1

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is often referred to as "light" (John 1:4-5, 9, 3:19-21, 8:12).  Particularly, before healing the man born blind, Jesus claims, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world," (John 9:5).  As I was shown by Pastor Bill Cook at 9th and O Baptist Church in Louisville, Jesus demonstrates Himself as the light through healing the man born blind, helping him see both physically and spiritually.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dividing Humans

Which of the following characteristics do you think most fundamentally distinguishes humans one from another? Is the population most clearly divided by the young and the old (age or maturity)? Is it by male and female (gender)? Is society divided along economic lines (the rich and the poor)? Is it divided on moral lines (the just and the unjust, or the lawful and the unlawful)? Is it divided along relational lines (the married and the single or divorced or widowed)? Or is it divided along educational lines (the literate and the illiterate or the college educated and the uneducated)? Or perhaps along lines of affiliation and preference (Democrats and Republicans, Gators and Seminoles, those who like country music and those who are sane)?

Friday, April 26, 2013

A License to Sin

Peter, John and Jude deal with false teachers, and though the teaching varies, there is a common theme behind those who pervert the truth.

Jude 4 "turning the grace of our God into promiscuity and denying Jesus Christ."

1 Jn 1:4 "the one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' yet doesn't keep His commands is a liar."

1 Jn 1:9 "The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother is in the darkness."

2 Pet 2:19 "They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption."

Friday, April 19, 2013

Desiring God like a Screaming Baby

My wife and I are blessed to have a one-year-old daughter, Eliaya, and a second child on the way. This week, our daughter has not been sleeping well at all. When she does sleep, she wakes up early and very, very hungry. I think I have learned to pour milk and seal her sippy cup in about 4 seconds. When she does not have her milk, she cries or screams (very similar).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stand Firm. He will Make you Stand Firm

Often the apparent contradictions in Scripture, upon careful reflection, blossom into some of the most beautiful truths we can find.  Such is the case at the end of 1 Peter.  It comes from the apostle who was singled out for his desertion of Christ at the Lord's darkest hour before being crucified.  Peter is uniquely qualified to discuss God's grace to restore us and keep us steadfast, while in the same breath commanding that Christians stand firm in the faith to the end.

Choose to Serve God Above Anyone or Anything Else

1 Pet 3:15, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." When we decide to obey God, it is an internal decision. We essentially say, "we trust you above anyone else, and we want to please you above anyone else." Thus, to some degree, we become His slaves, and He our master, or our Lord.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dead Come Alive

In 1 Peter 2:18-25, Peter encourages Christian slaves to submit to potentially harsh treatment from un-Christian masters. He says, "if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God," (1 Pet 2:20). His justification for this command to endure is the example of Christ who, "when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats," (1 Pet 2:23). One strong reason for Christ enduring such persecution willingly and humbly, is because His Father called him to that, and promised that not even death would be able to hold him. We, through belief in Christ, have the same enduring hope beyond the grave - so we can endure suffering with patience and humility. I find it immensely encouraging when I feel wronged to know that the God I serve is judge of all and promises to one day make all things right. So, I can trust my immediate and permanent futures to Him.

Epoch Church of Jacksonville, FL showed this video recently emphasizing this point: Click Here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Timely Encouragement

In 1 Peter, the apostle who once buckled under pressure, denying Jesus three times, encourages other believers to stand firm under trials. His key reason is that all that Christ has done for us far outweighs our present sufferings - He has purchased for us a place in eternal paradise.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Never Stop Talking with God

James 5:13, "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise."

I read this verse this morning and took great encouragement that no matter the circumstance, there is no reason to stop communicating with God. He cares about our troubles, and so we take those to Him. And we trust that He provides our joys and the blessings in our life, so we praise Him for those. Either way, we don't stop talking to our good and all-powerful God.