Archives For Bible

Dwell

June 24, 2015

I am often asked, “If God knew how things were going to turn out, why did He create the world?”

There are lots of token answers. But the most satisfying answer I am settling on more and more is profound in its simplicity.

God wanted to dwell with us.

When God created the world and it was perfectly good, He placed himself in proximity to Adam and Eve; dwelling in the Garden with them.

We know this utopia did not last long. Adam and Eve broke the one commandment they were given. Sin, death, and separation from God entered the picture. They broke the planet. Things were no longer how God created them to be.

But this did not change the heart of God to pursue His people.

Fast forward hundreds of years to the time of the Exodus. God wanted to deliver his people out of slavery to dwell with Him in the wilderness.

Thriving in Babylon

June 18, 2015

I live in South Africa. Our president has multiple wives, has had numerous trials for corruption and other crimes, and it has been proven he used millions of public money for his personal house. Even so, compared to some other presidents around the world, ours is a saint.

The multitude of Facebook comments from America reflect a similar frustration with politics and leaders. I would argue whoever occupies the White House is “not that bad” compared to many world leaders, but the frustration remains. In fact, it seems to be despair at times.

Dr. Larry Osborne’s new book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture addresses this sense of despair by looking at the life of Daniel.

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Daniel saw his beloved city, Jerusalem,  destroyed and was taken captive to a pagan land of Babylon. He was made to learn its culture and religion. Daniel thrived in Babylon by having a different perspective. He faced evil and endured physical hardship, knowing God had a plan.

Precision Cut Grace

May 26, 2015

Thirteen years ago I had laser eye surgery. In this procedure, the patient lies on a table, staring at the light. Behind the light is a computer guided laser, reshaping your cornea to correct your vision.

I so vividly remember this simultaneously exciting and terrifying event. The first eye went fine.

“Stare at the light and don’t look away.”

As they began the second eye, I suddenly realized I looked away! “Oh No!”

The laser immediately stopped. The surgeon told me to look back at the light. The computer-guided memory of the laser began again, exactly where it had left off.

The second eye was better “than perfect” when my vision was checked.

The laser was precision set for my eye. It was exact to the uniqueness of my situation.

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I hate checklists for spiritual growth.

They lead towards a works orientation and a focus on being performance-based.

When a recent church service message started with a “Checklist for Spiritual Zeal” I was concerned.

6 commands from Ephesians 5 were restated as questions.

Each one had an emphasis on not having a “hint” of such and such bad thing and of “never” acting another way. It was a list of do’s and don’ts which were totally and completely unrealistic.

When “never’s and always” are included for spiritual behavior, my legalism alarm begins to ring.

“So how are you doing?”, asked the speaker.

The church expected to be hammered into submission and guilt.

What followed next shocked me.

He went on to overview chapters 1-3 saying that all these commands are a response to what God has done.

Servanthood is a buzzword in churches and leadership circles today.

We need servant leaders, we want to serve our spouse and our families, and we are always asked to be a cheerful servant in various areas in our local place of worship.

Why?

Here are 3 reasons to practice servanthood.

1. We serve cause Jesus served

The Jews expected their savior to be a conquering king who would return them to their glory days experienced under David and Solomon.

Instead they got a suffering servant.

“It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26–28