Brothers and sisters in Christ, forgiveness is plentiful and free. Grace and mercy are equally extended from the Lord to all. All we must do to receive it is humbly acknowledge we need it. As God’s children, we all know this well. So why do we ever pridefully insist God is wrong and any number of pet sins are right actions for us? Look at the machines we have made. What computer program would dare say to its coder, “You have coded me wrong. I will ignore your instructions and do what is right in my own eyes”? Today’s machines have no ability to disobeyRead More →

If you haven’t read the modern parable the title alludes to, it’s here: What Are You Hanging Onto? Would you ever look at a sobbing child who is being bullied at school and yell at her for crying, telling her that’s why no one likes her? Would you ever say those words to a child you love dearly and have authority over? A child who respects you and looks to you for guidance, protection, and comfort? I was that sobbing child. The person who uttered those words never remembers saying and doing such hurtful things, but those words were uttered, for they burned deep into myRead More →

“who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,” (2 Timothy 1:9) Previously, we discussed this verse in light of verse eight. In the larger context of chapter one, Paul is encouraging Timothy, reminding him of the gifts God has given Timothy, including faith, and encouraging him to keep those holy fires burning his heart at a time when Timothy appears to be struggling with fear, likely related to the persecution of the saints that has Paul writing from prison. InRead More →

“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:2) Yikes! Whatever happened to you can’t please everyone? Okay, lay some context on me, please: We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written,”The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” (Romans 15:1-3) Ah, there, Paul is continuing his discourse from Romans 14 on the varying convictions in the Body and saying we shouldRead More →

“ And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) In a classic putting of the cart before the horse, the rabbi’s words are delivered to us as the verse of the day the day after his disciple Peter expounded on it. In context, this speech is recorded right after  Peter confesses Jesus is not simply another John the Baptist, Elijah, or some other prophet, but the Christ,Read More →