When our problems are overwhelming us and we just cannot seem to see or find any solutions- God has the answer. His answer may come in the form of a person arriving at the right time or a windfall of money, from a place we did not expect. His answers are often not dramatic and spectacular- but their effects are powerful to those who receive His interventions. In the, often, frantic hurry to find the obvious solution to the problem at hand we sometimes overlook His subtle, even strategically, placed actions. Often God does His most powerful work from beyond our view. We see this type of work in several powerful texts. In Judges 14:4, we see an unusual explanatory about Samson’s response to his parents’ objection over his choice of brides. God was positioning His powerful Judge to begin the mission bestowed upon him before he was born- the beginning of the deliverance of Israel from the Philistines. In Daniel 3:93, there was a fourth man, unknown to anyone,Continue reading »

The scene of Samson’s death (Judges 16: 23-30) is an epic moment; he stands between the two supporting pillars of the temple of Dagon, the Philistine god, and with an incredible display of power pushes the pillars off of their bases causing the entire temple to collapse. Popular imagination and the arts have used this moment as the subject of countless works. It is a dramatic act, concluding the life of a hero. It is also an act of extraordinary faith. Faith is not a quality which is usually associated with Samson, whose name is synonymous with physical strength and prowess. He is much more widely known for his lusty encounters and high adventure in battling the Philistines, the powerful nation which was dominating Israel during the period of the Judges. But this action exhibits an elemental faith, whose power is uncontainable. At his death, Samson fulfilled his mission, foretold of an angel (Judges 13:5) before his birth, and began the deliverance of Israel. At his death, Samson had nothingContinue reading »

One night I was on my way home from graduate studies. I was working toward a second MA degree, this one in Jewish-Christian Studies, and carrying a perfect 4.0 grade average. I was taking a back way home, down this street, ending at a T-intersection, and to the highway and home for a late supper and bed. My plans, and my life, were changed- dramatically. About 8:30PM, as I was traveling toward the T-intersection, I saw a car take the turn way too wide and swerve out of control. I pulled over to give the driver as much room as possible to regain control of the vehicle. I watched as the car crossed a double-yellow line and crash into my car, head-on. The driver was drunk, having a .318 blood alcohol level. The crash, even though I was wearing seat belts, tossed me around the front of the car. My injuries were severe. I have lifting weights since I was 12 years old and the doctors told me that myContinue reading »

The story of “doubting Thomas” (John 20: 24-29) is an illustration of the difference between faith and doubt. Thomas exhibited “doubt” in the Resurrection. Doubt is, technically, the suspension of judgment. It is not outright rejection of a conclusion or statement; that is skepticism. Doubt allows for evidence, doubt looks to be convinced. Doubt challenges, which is why it is such a powerful counterpart to faith. Thomas would only believe when the evidence was presented to him, in the form of Jesus in the flesh. Once this evidence was offered, Thomas became a believer. Jesus took this moment to explain faith. He argued that blest are those who believe “who have not seen”. In antiquity, the eyes were the final standard of judgment, they represented the senses and were the image of decision-making (Judges 21:25; literally, “everyone did what right in his own eyes). When Jesus blesses those who have not seen, yet believe, he is forming a powerful image of faith. The definition of faith can be understood, accordingContinue reading »

O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? – 1 Corinthians 15:55 These are powerful words from the Apostle, Paul, who argued that the power of death had been broken. Death, in antiquity, was not very well understood. In the time of the Patriarchs, there was no concept of an afterlife. Any form of immortality or everlasting life was as a long life, which is one reason why so many of the early figures of the Bible were said to have such extraordinary long lives, or with progeny. This is why the “sacrifice of Isaac” was such a powerful test for Abraham (Genesis 22) and he was seen as the “Father of Faith”. Isaac was his only link offspring with Sarah and was Abraham’s only way to achieve eternal life. Later, the concept of “sheol”, loosely translated as “pit” or “grave” emerged. This was a placed where souls went after the bodies died off. It was a place with no activity or worship. It was notContinue reading »

In Genesis 1:26-27 we read how man was created in the image and likeness of God. Many theologians call this beginning of humankind the “order of creation”, wherein man was in perfect harmony with God. Sin, and consequently death, corrupted the order and the harmony was compromised. Because man sinned, the image and likeness of God had changed. We were no longer the pristine representations of God. The image of God, which we were given, was broken and the likeness was shattered. We live with this broken image and shattered likeness today. The New Testament gives us hope; that Jesus redeems us. The Greek term for “redeem”, lytron, literally means “ransom”. He is giving us back our worth by paying our debt and freeing us from the grip of sin. Are we worth saving? Have we lost all of our original connection with God? Perhaps, all is not lost and we still retain some of the original order. Jesus offers us hope in his teaching that “no one comes toContinue reading »

Abortion has become a timely issue; it is in the forefront of politics and religious debates. Many people, from both sides of the debate try to derive some Biblical position on the subject of abortion. There is little in the Bible which speaks directly to the subject. Although, there is a writing, called the Didache (meaning “teaching”), that is dated to the Apostolic Church, c. 70 AD, that condemns abortion and infanticide. Many scholars agree that there is little on the subject for several reasons; infant mortality was high and terminating pregnancies was not a practical matter, children were a sign of blessing from God, such practices were viewed as abominable by the Biblical peoples, and it was seen as going against the commandment of “do not kill”. This does not mean that the bible should be factored out of the discussion. Genesis 2:7 gives us a teaching that strongly condemns abortion. The steps to becoming a living person are clearly described. It is significant to note that the BibleContinue reading »

World Cup Soccer, now underway in Brazil, packs plenty of excitement with USA setting new records. Their first game, played against Ghana (who knocked them out in previous matches) proved stupendous. Thirty-one seconds into the game USA scored and that had never been done in the history of World Cup. Next, another feat entered the record books when a substitute-player came off the bench with four minutes left to play and netted the winning goal! Impressive, I must say. Here’s the thing. If a team wins that we’re rooting for, then we win. Even though the players do all the hard work, we claim the victory. Since the USA team won over Ghana 2-1, then we win too. However, we get to relax on comfortable couches and revel in the defeat while the team members slug it out on the field. Let’s look at another battle that took place during King Saul’s reign with an enormous giant challenging Israel’s army. For forty days the giant screamed, deriding God’s soldiers toContinue reading »

Rock awareness adds to freedom in the realm of the gospel of the kingdom of God. The Lord is the Rock of salvation. Yes, the impenetrable Rock, the perfect Rock, the steady Rock and the eternal Rock who loves, comforts, helps, and guides with holy plans that equip for His righteous agenda. God’s Rock formations prepare us to serve as good soldiers for His missions and purposes to be accomplished. The rewards are plentiful for choosing to dwell with the Rock of ages who never slumbers or sleeps. There is certain safety in the Rock. No suitable substitutes exist and none can climb to His heights. God delivers to the hilt with His holy arm and steady hand. We can surely rest assured that steadfast alignment with the Lord provides rock solid security, joy and multiplied peace. Psalm 71:16 – KJV, “I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.”

Fear is a spirit. Truth is a Spirit. John 15:26 – KJV “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” Unexpected drama greets us as we journey through life. We can choose to become unsettled, apprehensive and downright afraid when things are beyond our ability to control. Pacing, sweating, and heavy sighing accompany states of distress. Panic has moved into heart spaces. It’s genuine comfort to know that there is hope and escape hatches from the bondage of fear. The good news is that we can get a grip. Yes, send fear packing on a full baggage one way trip — tagged on the cases, “Return to sender.” We’ve invited truth to make an entrance. It does with a wide-mouthed smile. What a great relief for us to shift from fearful and unfruitful gears. Cancel the wrinkled foreheads and rapid heartbeats. There’s no force, no drama, no actionContinue reading »

The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God

– 1 Corinthians 1:18

In this concise account we find two responses to cross-preaching and two descriptions of those who thus respond.

First, there are those to whom the cross of Christ is foolishness. They see no need for anyone to die on their behalf or to take away their sins; the idea of a savior is to them folly. The suggestion of a Lord is repulsive.