Love, not Law

The following appeared in our local paper’s religion column last weekend. It is a revision of a previous post, “Love, not Law”. The paper re-titled it “What Complete Freedom Means.” *** “Christ has liberated us to be free.  Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). Most Christians know…

Jesus Is Coming. Look Busy.

Paul ends his letter to the Thessalonians with final instructions for the community. His directives culminate in verses 23 and 24: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will…

Crying in the Wilderness

The following is a poem and meditation on John the Baptist. John is a window to a season each of us will experience if we are knowing Christ in His death. It is the place where we know, of a surety, that we will die—perhaps physically, but also psychologically. In the shadow of death, all…

Am I Growing?

Not long ago, it was my turn to share from scripture at a men’s group I attend.  As I asked the Lord what to talk about, I found my mind turning to questions: Am I growing spiritually?  If so, how do I know?  I decided to raise these questions at the men’s group to see…

Which Nature?

The other day, a guy in a truck blew a stop sign, pulled right in front of me, and sped down the road.  I was super annoyed and wished all kinds of misfortune on him (“LET HIM GET PULLED OVER, LORD!”). Seconds later, I thought about my reaction and judgments.  The driver was reckless and…

The Inner Spirit of the Cross

The following is from a pamphlet by G.D. Watson. The act of crucifixion is one thing, but the spirit in which the crucifixion is to be borne is another. In some respects the act may be brief and finished, but the inward heart disposition that should pervade crucifixion is a continuous principle extending through life,…

Everything Will Fall

On December 1st I woke from a dream that left me unsettled.  It was a long rambling dream, but I knew the end was from the Lord.  In the dream, I was talking with a friend who pastors a church.  He was telling me the church suddenly fell apart and closed.  He said, “Everything seemed…

Laid into Suffering

In 1 Thessalonians 2:17 and 18, Paul remembers being forced to leave Thessalonica—their time cut short by a mob that attacked, abused, and jailed some of them (Acts 17:5-9).  Paul talks affectionately of their desire to return but says satan hindered them. Acts 17:13-15 tells the full story: Paul and co. went to Berea after…

Copycats

For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us” (1 Thess. 2:14-15). For the second time,…

Repackaged Lie

We all fail in many ways, as James chapter three points out. Some flaws persist for years with only modest change. Recently, I was praying about one of my ongoing flaws. I have told the Lord more than once I never want to fail in this particular way again. I was telling Him this again…