Parting Ways

As Jacob increased in wealth, he came into conflict with Laban (Gen. 31:1-2). We’ve seen that Jacob’s increase was the increase of what is spiritual and that this leads to escalating conflict with what is fallen and fleshly. God doesn’t let this conflict go on indefinitely.  God told Jacob to leave Laban.  He brought separation…

Batting Cleanup

I’m delighted that God forgives me.  The fact that the blood of Jesus cleanses every sin is precious (1 John 1:7).  That said, sometimes I feel like a sin factory.  Even if I  apply the blood of Jesus 70 times seven times a day, it gets discouraging.  In fact, it gets worse than discouraging.  It…

A Testament of Devotion

About two years ago I was introduced to Christian Quakerism through the writings of its founder, George Fox.  I found Fox’s focus on the indwelling Christ spiritually rich.  I went on to read An Apology for the True Christian Divinity by Robert Barclay.  This was the first systematic presentation of Quaker beliefs. For Christmas, I received…

Fill in the Blank

Jerome (345-420 AD) was an early church father, scholar, and monk.  He is probably best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (known as “The Vulgate” because Latin was the vulgar or common language). When Jerome was about 30 and a rising academic star, he had a dream that brought his star crashing…

The Failed Christian Life

I have failed at being a Christian.  I have failed morally.  I have failed to be unselfish.  I don’t know if God is always first in my affections.  I’ve never prayed with anyone to receive Christ. My prayer and Bible study habits probably aren’t up to snuff.  In these, and many other ways, I have…

The Son—Come Hell or High Water

Genesis 29:14 through 30:24 tells how Jacob came to have wives and children. Jacob first works seven years to marry Rachel but his father-in-law, Laban, sneaks his older daughter, Leah, into Jacob’s tent on the wedding night. Jacob is furious but receives Rachel also after celebrating his wedding to Leah for a week. Then there’s…

Who Are You, Lord?

Lepicie, “Conversion of St. Paul” This post from a couple years ago is on my mind so I thought I’d repost. *** “Who are you, Lord?”  This was Paul’s question after Jesus struck him blind and stopped him in his tracks (Acts 9:1-5).  Paul was on his way to Damascus where he planned to continue…

No Answer

Lately, I’ve been thinking about a couple phrases: “God answered my prayer” or “God didn’t answer my prayer.” It’s common to hear both of these. I’ve said them and heard others say them countless times. Let me preface the rest of this post: I’m not given to semantic arguments. Communication is an (often clumsy) art….

Following, Losing, and Living

Art by Patrick Murphy The following is a meditation on Luke 9:23-24 from my personal journal.  *** “If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will…

House of God (Reprise)

Art by Patrick Murphy “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it” (Gen. 28:16). As we said before, the Lord revealed to Jacob that God was in His house. Bethel means, “House of God.” It shows Christ and His people as God’s dwelling, God’s house. The Lord is in us!…