“We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). Some people meander through life without ever knowing real love. Now, just in case you think this could never happen to you, [especially] Christians—hear me out. Quick question: do you feel complete, no-strings-attached, to-the-bone unconditional love at all times? I’m not talking about a sporadic ‘feel-good or spine-tingling’ moment but the kind of faithful love that rearranges your entire life. A quick word study on agape love might help. Agape love has to do with the mind and not simply an emotion that arises spontaneously. This kind of love transcends all others and doesn’t depend upon our worthiness. For example, like when you know you don’t deserve something fantastic, and yet; it’s granted—just because someone loves you. For no other reason than they want to honor and please you with affectionate kindness. Such love is beyond our ability to grasp with our intellect but not beyond understanding it deep within our hearts. Like most people, I’ve done my shareContinue reading »

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him – Matthew 17:5 On the Mount of Transfiguration, the voice of God was heard saying, not only that he was pleased with his Son, but also that his Son should be heard. God the Father makes it clear that the Son speaks with authority and that we are to believe him. Some raise the question in our day, “Can truth be known?” or “Is there an ultimate authority?” God reveals that his Son Jesus speaks with authority and that we should heed what he has to say. Moses spoke of a Prophet that would be raised up by God and “unto him ye shall hearken.” The prophecy was fulfilled by the coming of Jesus Christ. His authority was confirmed by the Father not only at his transfiguration but also at his baptism. Jesus was given “power over all flesh” by his Father. He is indeed one of ultimate authority. We should hear the witness he gaveContinue reading »

The story goes that once two friends were walking through a busy shopping street. The first one was a real lover of nature and at one point he suddenly stopped his friend and told him: “Listen…Do you hear that?” “Hear what?” His friend was not impressed. All he could hear was the noise of honking cars and the hubbub of the street. “A cricket” said the nature lover. “There is a cricket here somewhere.” “How can you possibly hear a cricket in the midst of all this racket?” wondered his friend. “Impossible.” But then the nature lover walked up to a bench and spotted a leaf right next to it. And there, right under the leaf was a tiny cricket, crisping his merry sound. “You see,” said the man. “My ears are focused on nature sounds. Every man always hears what he really wants to hear. That’s why I heard the cricket and you didn’t.” To illustrate his point he took a coin and threw it away on the street.Continue 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.

“But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing), bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life” (John 4:14 Amplified). To the Israelites, after forty years of wandering the dry wilderness of Sinai, the many fresh water springs of Canaan were a sign of real blessing. In their dry climate, it was important for a spring to be nearby before a city or village could be established. Thus, the Hebrew word for spring; En, is preserved today in names such as En-dor, meaning “the spring of Dor”. Of course, I’m speaking of physical needs. Water, by itself, can slake normal thirst. But, what about spiritual dryness or burnout and how do we stay refreshed during those times? Growing up in East Tennessee, I loved drinking from a running brook pouring forth its pure crystal flow. Old timers claimed it must gush over seven rocks to be clean. Not sure if that’s true but I believed itContinue reading »

There once was an old farmer who was carrying a huge sack of potatoes on his back. The poor man almost collapsed under the weight and it was a sorry sight. Somebody who passed by with a sturdy horse-drawn wagon had compassion on the old man and offered him a ride. “Hey old timer…Wanna jump on? Hate to see you struggling like that.” The old farmer was thankful and with some difficulty he climbed up on the wagon. When he was finally seated he smiled broadly. “Thank you, Sir, for helping me out like that. That’s awfully kind of you.” But the heavy back of potatoes remained firmly on his sagging shoulders. Sweat trickled down his face and a weary sigh escaped his mouth. “Hey old man…Put those potatoes down. There’s no need for you to carry that load.” The driver of the wagon did not understand why the farmer kept that heavy bag on his shoulders. “Of course I amContinue reading »

Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord – 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 We first observe here the source of our blessings. They are of God and in Christ. We are not righteous in ourselves, but receive the imputed righteousness of Christ. It is according to God’s purpose and by his grace that we are in Christ and that these spiritual blessings are ours. Additional blessings are then described: not only do we have righteousness in Christ but also wisdom, sanctification and redemption. Wisdom that is not our own, sanctification that we could not effect on our own, and redemption that we could not purchase on our own. All of this is found in Christ alone. We then look at what our response should be: glory in the Lord! What are you rejoicing in today? What are you boasting about today? We cannotContinue reading »

A lovely young couple got married over the weekend at our local church in Tifton Georgia. During the wedding ceremony the beautiful bride washed her beloved’s feet. Then, the handsome groom cleansed hers. Ever so often, something memorable comes along that’s special. Can you imagine what a wonderful marriage this will be if they continue yielding to one another. Not that any union is always smooth sailing but humility goes a long way in making things run better; much like what oil does for a car’s engine. To broaden our perspective, let’s marvel at Jesus’ demeanor. In studying Jesus’ character traits, is it worth the effort for us to adopt a spirit of lowliness? I think yes. His own disciples selfishly argued over who would be exalted and sit with Him in lofty places of honor when He came into His Kingdom (Luke 22:24). By all means, they wanted to be noticed for greatness and I’m guessing this type of behavior gave Christ a saddened heart. In light of that,Continue reading »

“And the secret [mystery] is simply this: Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you bringing with Him the hope of all the glorious things to come” (Colossians 1:27 Phillips). Even though I gave my heart to Christ as a young child, I didn’t completely understand what it all meant. Growing up, I wasn’t sure where or if I belonged. Later, teenage years brought excruciating pain especially when dad (who I adored) died of a heart attack. A blind-sided avalanche—covered and smothered; I longed to be wanted, loved, and to matter to someone. Of course, I was vividly angry with God. Like a ship with no water, I had nowhere to sail. That is, until my last ditch effort of seeking my heavenly Father. Which brings me to an important topic that the Apostle Paul wants believers to understand. If we are to have any idea how to live a ‘good and productive’ life as Christ followers, it’s imperative we understand our position. Namely, we are ‘in Christ’ and He isContinue reading »