Friends and Family

In 1820 Thomas Jefferson produced his own harmony of the Gospels. Using a razor and glue he cut and pasted passages from the four Gospels, in chronological order. However, he excluded any mention of miracles and ended with the sealing of Jesus’ tomb. Jefferson did not believe in God’s supernatural involvement in this world. His […]

Waiting

I taught in rural Kenya for several months and learned the art of waiting. When I made a trip to a city to buy supplies I could never be sure when the mawingo or matatu would conquer the mud-clogged roads and arrive.1 I quickly learned to take a book to read. After Jesus ascended to […]

Betrayal

It was one of those weeks. First a customer decided to be awkward about paying his overdue bill. Then something appropriate that I had said in private was repeated to a third party. By the time I heard about it, it was completely distorted and made me sound bad—like the product of a game of […]

Spirit without Measure

He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. (John 3:34) Jesus spoke truth, so why do I experience a limited measure of the Holy Spirit? Here are some reasons which seem true in my life at different times: Distractions by circumstances, wrong thoughts, or attacks from the enemy. But […]

Father without Measure

One of the main goals of our faith is to become like Jesus. That means growing more conscious of our identity as children of the heavenly Father, engaged in His business. He meets our deepest needs. Human relationships become less a source of affirmation and security and more a place to express love. Being spiritually […]

Jesus without Measure

Have you ever been in a relationship where you loved another person more than they could receive? You wanted to grow close with them but for some reason things never developed to the extent you thought they could. That is how Jesus feels about us. No matter how much we love Him, His love for […]

From Good Gifts to Gods

“Every gift of God is to be enjoyed as from God and not as a god.”1 Twice when I sold houses, I struggled to let go of them. They had clearly been arranged by the Lord and I doubted whether He could ever match His provision again. In some ways I had turned a good […]

Trials and Temptations

“No pain, no gain.” That’s a saying many athletes like. They might like the words that James launched into his letter to Jewish followers of Jesus with. Others might cringe. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials (peirasmos), knowing that the testing (dokimion) of your faith produces endurance (hypomone). Blessed is a man who perseveres (hypomone […]

Plans in Context

One of the hardest temptations to resist is the temptation to selectively hear God’s words. Ignoring the context of God’s promised plans for good makes those plans seem unconditional. Here’s a common example showing how it works: “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not […]

Parable of the Idols

“Lord, why am I often so dull and undiscerning of spiritual things?” That was my prayer once. And I think He answered me, starting with the parable of the soils. This parable explains how all parables are a secret heart check-up. Some hearts are receptive to the truth of the kingdom of God; many hearts are dull […]