We Live In a World of Darkness 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? This world and this world’s kingdoms are under the domain of Satan (Ephesians 6:12). Satan is presently called the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Even Jesus refers to this world kingdom belonging to Satan (Matthew 12:26) Because of the fall of man and because of this act of disobedience all mankind has a sinful nature. Romans 5:12 ( NKJV ) Therefore, through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. The devil comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. Satan is not your friend, but he pretends that he is, and he will do whatever it takes to keep you from God. We once were of this world and a friend with the devil. But now we belong to God and are aContinue reading »

“You must understand that a person is justified by his works and not by faith alone” – James 2:24 With this powerful statement, James defines the type of faith to which Christians are called and, in a practical sense, our responsibility in our own redemption. Paul has already laid a strong and lasting foundation for James when argues that we are justified through faith (Romans 3:21-31). Many critics who would degrade Christianity have tried to depict this as a contradiction, thereby trying to nullify the Christian message of faith in Christ Jesus. This is not the case! Paul argued for the power of faith over the power of the Law in attaining Salvation. Judaism of the the First Century, of which Christianity was a part, was a legalistic religion and held that salvation, the freedom of the power of sin and death, came from perfect observation of the Law-The Torah, which they saw as having the ultimate religious authority because they saw it as being a gift from God which containedContinue reading »

Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the children. Children are not so complicated and not as prone to doubt and scepticism as the grown ups are. Children just believe. They have faith and trust that their parents will take care of them and as a result their hearts are not full of bitterness, doubt and hardness. Once a soldier in the army of Napoleon incurred the wrath of the mighty emperor and was thrown into the dungeon. There he was, lost and forgotten by friend and foe, in a cold and lonely prison cell. In his desperation he grabbed a stone and carved on the wall the words: “Nobody cares.” However, a few days later he noticed a tiny plant, sprouting out between two stones in his jail. The poor soldier was fascinated by the life that sprung up in his cell and decided to give the plant a little of his daily water. The little plant grew fast and reached out for the light that shoneContinue reading »

Pro-choice supporters often vehemently attack the Christian position that abortion is wrong and constitutes ending the life of a baby. The real issue for these pro-choice supporters is that Christians do not agree with the pro-choice position that abortion is not wrong. While I agree that there are fanatics on both sides of the issue, there are also those who can respectfully state his or her opinion about this emotionally charged subject. I can respect that there are people who honestly believe that women should have the right to choose whether or not to have a baby, for whatever reason, even though I believe that abortion is wrong. Everyone is entitled to her opinion, even if it is not mine. I stand on the Word of God, which is why I choose the position I do. Those on the other side of the debate, stand on their own beliefs, and choose accordingly. It’s not because they are blood thirsty murderers of innocent babies; it’s because they believe what they are doing is okay. AsContinue reading »

Some of us grew up in an era where good manners and courtesy were on regular display. Does anyone else get the sense that chivalry isn’t dead but that it is on life support? There was a “season” when “forgive me,” “thank you,” “please,” and “excuse me” were plentiful in deliveries. Um, when did courtesy, for many, go out of style? Reality reflects that increased rudeness isn’t confined to those who don’t believe in the gospel of Christ. Disheartening is to observe that some professing Christians engage in the practice of rude behavior. It’s a refreshment and joy to patronize establishments and to encounter the now rare employees who render excellent service. When we transact business on the web as well as on the phone, it cheers to engage with courteous personnel who show care and concern for our needs and desires. People of such quality character are treasured assets. Their presence is certainly appreciated. For years, it has been my practice to inform management when I receive excellent serviceContinue reading »

My body shall rest in hope – Psalm 16:9   The Psalmist uses a powerful phrase for “my body”- bashri. This refers to the fleshly manifestation of life which we all see and with which we all interact. It is the clearest sign of the human person. The construction of this verse, combining the image of the body with the images of the intellect (heart) and life essence (presence), speaks to the core theology and philosophy of life with which the Psalmist worked. This combination echoes the Creation narrative, Genesis 2:7. God formed man, adam, and infused him with His Spirit, a life essence or spark. It is only through this combination, that of Spirit and physical form, that a “living person” is formed. Often, though unfairly and incompletely, this theology is contrasted to the Greek models of thought; holding that life is simply an entrapped soul. The Creation narrative is understood as depicting life as an animated form. While true in the broadest sense, this characterization only looks to half of theContinue reading »

My heart is glad, my being rejoices and my body shall REST IN HOPE- Psalm 16:9 With this phrase, the Psalmist shows how refuge in the Lord impacts him, and all who believe, on a personal level. It is upon this statement of confident praise, that the entire Psalm turns. The Psalmist begins with a notice of the “holy ones, the ones who have been chosen for a special role in Salvation. It is a general comment of God’s action among the lives of humans. The Psalmist recognizes that the power of God moves through certain men. Although certain figures in Biblical history stand apart for their greatness and devotion, the Psalmist wants to reach out to every person who entered into Covenant with God. Every person is reached by the hand of God. God’s power is not reserved only for the “holy ones”, but extends to all of His people. God is the source of counsel and help to all people who keep Him before them. The Lord ofContinue reading »

Why do the wicked survive, grow old, and become great with power?- Job 21:7 This question forms the basis of, what Philosophy calls, “Theodicy”. Theodicy tries to reconcile the concept of an all-powerful and all-loving God with the undeniable presence of evil and suffering. The observation made by Job extends the point; not only are the evil and sinful people allowed to survive, but often they seem to thrive. This has raised many questions and challenges to religious faith over the centuries. These challenges were typified by the renowned Philosopher, David Hume. Hume, centuries ago, put forth a question that is still the subject of theological and philosophical debate; if God can not stop the evil in the world, how can He be all-powerful- if he can stop the evil, but does not, is he malevolent? Many responses have been proposed to this challenge. However, many content themselves with an appeal to some form of Divine righteous justice, often deferred to another time- “God’s time”. While the message of hope is clear,Continue reading »

“The eighteen that were killed. . . were they more guilty than others”- Luke 13:1-7 The topic of adversity in our lives has always raised powerful challenges to Faith. This is the topic of “Theodicy”, the explaining of the presence of a loving God while there is undeniable suffering in the world. Philosophical questions abound; if God can stop evil, but does not, is He evil Himself? if God cannot stop evil and suffering, is He still to be seen as all powerful? Many defenses have been advanced by the Philosophical and Theological communities to these questions. However, the focus of the debate misses the point which Jesus insisted upon. In the 1st Century, the prevailing notion was that evil, suffering, or misfortune were results of sins or bad actions on the part of the person. They were seen as punishments, Divine visitations. However, our verse from Luke shows something quite different. Jesus never denied suffering and evil nor did he see all things as Divine wrath. Luke writes ofContinue reading »

May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! . . . Henceforth, let no man trouble me, for I bear the brand marks of Jesus in my body- Galatians 6:14, 17 With these comments Paul speaks to the very legalistic Galatians and tells them not to see the Law, and their obedience to it, as a source of pride. Such a life, as Paul well knew, was a very calculating life that saw the Law as the final word and authority over what one can or can not do. To the Jews, perfect obedience to the Law was the means to gain Salvation. Those educated in the Law enjoyed high status in society and saw their education as a source of pride and power. Paul, a Rabbi himself, saw the flaws in this mentality. He saw that the Law, as powerful as it was and is, was only a foundation for actions. True Salvation came from the Cross and the Resurrection. It was hereContinue reading »

The God who girded me with strength and kept my way unerring- 2 Samuel 22:33 In the words of King David we are offered hope and comfort in, what can be, a confusing and complex world. These words were spoken and written toward the end of David’s reign, and life. They speak to a power that was given to David from above and beyond our physical sphere and limitations. David was granted the permanent “charisma” or endowment of the Spirit of the Lord (1 Samuel 16:13), which was the cornerstone and catalyst for his glorious Kingship. In a show of humble acknowledgement, David gives the reason for his success against his enemies, establishing Jerusalem, and being given the Eternal Kingship which would culminate in the Messiah; God or, as he would say, YHWH. Herein we see the power from which David was given his triumphs. It is a keynote in the “Song of Thanksgiving” providing a summary of the power which was already described and looks ahead to the personal giftsContinue reading »