Grieving the Spirit

Consider two scenarios involving a person addicted to, say, smoking. In the first, a friend who wants to help the smoker break the addiction gets the person to agree to an unpleasant consequence if they continue to smoke. The consequence is painful and immediate, but lasting, so it outweighs any short term pleasure gained from […]

Ambassador in Chains

Prison is not unusual for God’s people. I follow an unjustly imprisoned, tortured, and cruelly executed prisoner. The Bible has a lot of prisoners and their stories, which makes it very relevant to our present “shut-down” situation. Without taking sides, let’s think about what a godly response looks like. Paul was confined in Rome when […]

A Prayer of Welcome

Spirit of God you are welcome. Thank you that I don’t have to beg for you as though you are reluctant to come. You were promised and sent. Father readily gives you to those who ask (Luke 11:13). And He gives without measure (John 3:34). I receive you. And thank you that I never have […]

True Servants

It’s risky being entertained in someone else’s home when you need to talk. Unless you have considerable clarity, tact, and strength of character, the host will tend to limit or control the meeting. Did you come with important, perhaps delicate, things to discuss? How awkward will it be to say them while the hostess draws […]

Being Like Jesus

Jesus’ Relationships [Jesus’] mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear […]

Initiative

Initiative is generally considered a good characteristic. We hear the encouragement, “take the initiative”, or the admonition, “use your initiative”. But Jesus seems to have thought about it differently. John records several places where Jesus used the word emautou (literally, “of myself”) in the sense of taking the initiative. The pattern is interesting. In most […]

Being like Jesus

So, You Want to Be like Jesus, Do You? What would you think if you heard that a person’s close friend was deathly sick but the person did nothing for a day or two? You’d think they were uncaring, right? Unfortunately, that’s what Jesus did when He heard that Lazarus was ill. By the time […]

Rhema or Rabbit Trail?

I often experience a deep weariness at doing things that seem fruitless or mundane. I fear new paths will turn into impassable rabbit trails. There seems no point in getting exhausted if there will be no return on my investment. Simon and his partners felt something like that one morning after catching nothing all night. […]

Natural Disaster

Another Chance It happens with every natural disaster. Someone suggests that God ordained it as a consequence or punishment of a certain sinful behavior. It has been going on for millennia. Once, Jesus got involved in the debate. There were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with […]

My Jesus

Once in a while someone jumps to a conclusion about who we are before they really know us. It creates all kinds of awkwardness. Based on their impression of us they develop expectations. We feel under pressure; they feel frustrated when we don’t deliver. It happened to Jesus. Here’s an example. Someone in the crowd […]