No Little Pharisees!
I have been teaching children for just shy of 50 years. That is a lot of teaching. But have I been teaching them well? In recent years, I have had to stop and reevaluate the things I have said as I quoted God’s Word to the children. In doing so I concluded that there were times that if a child followed my teaching, they would come out more like a pharisee than a believer. How many times have we as teachers and parents been guilty of telling the children that God hates sin without emphasizing His great love for the sinner? The Pharisees had God’s Words in their mouths but…
Suffering Is Necessary in Order to See Glory
Beyond being a book of facts, people, events, and doctrine, the Bible is book that paints for us a very clear picture of the glory of suffering.
Seeing As God Sees
As I’ve grieved over this time of civil unrest, God has reminded me of my constant prayer years ago. I’m not a naturally merciful person and I don’t have the gift of mercy, but God graciously burdened me to see people as he does instead of through the lens of my culture and human nature. As God is loving and merciful to all, I wanted to be also. I really hadn’t thought of this prayer for many years, but as I look back now in this time in history, I see that God has been answering it. The polarization in the United States calls us to see everyone as either…
Please, no more!
I thought this fall would usher in the return of normal work hours in offices and schools, eating in restaurants, and gathering with friends. But COVID-19. It feels like we’ve lost so much this year. How can we move forward into fall when we continue to grieve the loss of so many aspects of our used-to-be “normal” life?
And you, my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are my people, and I am your God, declares the sovereign Lord.’ ” (Ezekiel 34:31 NET) The 23rd Psalm is one of the most familiar and dearest passages of the Bible. It is a beautiful poem about God, the shepherd, and his people, the sheep, that speaks to humanity’s desires and fears. As such, it is a lovely reminder that the LORD is a merciful and compassionate God. Furthermore, it reminds us that, like sheep, we depend on God’s care and provision for survival. (2)
Five Things I’m Learning from Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
Today I’m happy to host Ethel Gould as a guest blogger. During her seminary arts apprenticeship, she has served as a writer for a ministry to our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Here she passes on some of what she’s been learning: A panhandler’s presence on a street corner has always brought to my mind an old story about seminary students stepping over a homeless man on their way to a final exam about Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan. But still, before I reached for the change cup in my car, I'd worry that my cash might contribute to an addiction. Then I worked for a drop-in center that serves individuals…
God’s Thoughts and Ways – Part X (Invitation, Refusal, Banishment)
There is a common theme running from the Book of Genesis through the book of The Revelation. That is, God invites people into His presence (God’s MERCY), they refuse, and they are subsequently banished from God’s presence (God’s WRATH).
Authority! How is That Working for You?
God blesses His people with authority. But how well are we wielding it? One of my high school teachers was disciplining her children over a broken vase, not sure which one had broken it, she told them that God had been watching and knew which one of them had done it. The daughter told her mom that God hadn’t talked for a long time and she was counting on that to continue. What we think about authority makes a difference in our relationships. 1 Peter 2:12 says that we are being watched.Our actions often result in how others judge God. This is true, especially with children. Look at the human…
Suffering and All Its Glory
There are several ways to approach teaching God’s Word. There are those who focus on teaching the principles, others on the doctrine, and still others put the focus on the words or the content of the passages. They tell the stories, they highlight the words and they emphasize the historical facts. They carefully teach the who, what, when, where, why, and even the how of the story. I have tended to use this method. Through this form of teaching I learned a lot of the characters, places, and events in the Bible. I have seen how God works and how people respond to His person, power, and promises. After over…
Lepers in Our World
A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” (Mark 1:40-41 NLT) The man's name is unknown. He is just "leper" to us—unnamed and unclean. He approaches Jesus. It is an audacious step. Lepers are supposed to stay out of the way, unnoticed and unseen. There must have been something about Jesus that emboldened the leper to come to him. And the man is not disappointed. Jesus responds with kindness. He is motivated from…