Follow Me

Follow Me: The Man Who Missed The Boat

 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.  And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.  Matthew 8:22-23

Matthew paints the scene: Disciples of Jesus approach him as he is about to enter a boat.  Jesus gives an invitation to follow Him.  They turn back toward home and miss one of the greatest displays of His power – the calming of the sea.  The disciples in the boat respond with “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (8:27)

The first psalm in the order of our Bibles is actually found in Exodus 15.  Israel sings of the deliverance by the Lord and in verse 10 “Thou didst blow with… Continue reading

SORROW

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  – Revelation 21:4 (KJV)

Today many friends and healthcare co-workers joined to say goodbye to a friend and to provide love and support to the family and to each other.  It was a day of sadness for us.  The encouragement by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 is that as believers we grieve when a loved one dies, but not as those that have no hope.  This friend had the testimony of several witnesses that her faith was securely planted in the promise of eternal life through the work of Jesus Christ.  This “Celebration of a life” had moments of laughter, but the sadness still lingers… Continue reading

Lessons from Mothers in Scripture: Eve

Eve: The Mother of All Living

Gen 3:20 Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.  (This is where the woman is first named Eve and the first use of “mother”).  God had made for man a helper to serve alongside of man.  The phrase “help meet” (KJV) implies companionship, equality, and perhaps a reference to strength, as one translates this “strong helper”.

I will make him a help meet for him; עזר כנגדו  ezer kenegdo, a help, a counterpart of himself, one formed from him, and a perfect resemblance of his person. If the word be rendered scrupulously literally, it signifies one like, or as himself, standing opposite to or before him. And this implies that the woman was to be a perfect resemblance of the man, possessing neither inferiority nor… Continue reading

Silent Prayer

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, …..  “Isaiah 6:8

As our nation awakened to the National Day of Prayer I opened my Bible (actually my tablet app) and read this prayer of Isaiah.  The passage begins with “I saw  the Lord.”  We often focus on this chapter as the vision of Isaiah.  However, since my heart was focused on prayer I found a little “treasure hidden in the field” as the old brothers would say.

We often pray privately just like we pray publicly.  It is how we are taught. By our example we teach this to our children.  We talk to the Lord. We give him a list of things to act upon. Then with the invocation of Jesus Name we conclude our prayer time with “amen” (let it be so).  Imagine if… Continue reading

FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Ephesians 5:18

Most folks think that they have control of themselves and their circumstances.  I am reminded of a scene from the movie The Devil Wears Prada.  Miranda, a powerful fashion editor, is explaining to her second assistant Andrea that the sweater she “chose” was actually chosen for her by professionals in rooms like the one that she found herself in at that moment.  I apologize if you missed the analogy, but the point is that world (in the Biblical sense) tells folks what to think, what to wear, and how to feel.

Paul begins his admonition to be filled with the Spirit with the extreme contrast of being controlled by alcohol which is (results in) “excess”(KJV).  The Old English term excess confuses… Continue reading

PLEDGE

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.   Ephesians 1:13-14  

Our word today is found in three Scripture references.  Each is a reference to the Spirit of God being given to those that believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.  [See also 2 Corinthians 1:22 and 5:5]

The term translated here “a pledge” is ἀρραβὼν (arrabōn). It is translated “earnest” in the KJV and “deposit” in the NIV.  It is a term likely borrowed from Phoenician traders to indicate an advance payment that guarantees full payment on delivery.  There also seems to… Continue reading

IDOLS

“My little children, keep yourselves from idols.”  (1 John 5:21)

I grew up in a large family with colorful relatives.  Among them was my beloved Aunt Hazel.  Her home was like a museum filled with images and statues of idols from around the world.  I don’t think she actually worshipped them but it was clear that she was fascinated by them. She knew their names and their supposed powers.

The last gift that I received from her was a small box of miniature carved statues with a card telling me their names.  It is now part of an illustration I have used for years in children’s gospel meetings called the “idol box.”  Nobody would argue that these items belong in that box, but the other items may surprise you.  A baseball, coins, a miniature television, and other assorted… Continue reading

MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28

John 10 provides much information about sheep and shepherds. The focus of this short study is the Shepherd’s voice. I recall reading about a group of shepherds gathering to water their flock. An observer asked how they could tell which sheep belonged to which flock. The answer came when they were rested and refreshed and the shepherds called out to their sheep. Very quickly the sheep divided into their various flocks simply by hearing their shepherd’s voice.

“… and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.”  John 10:3b

In John 20 we read that Mary (Magdalene)… Continue reading

The Royal Law

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” James 2:8 (KJV)

This phrase occurs only here in Scripture.  James chooses a term for the Law that usually refers to the Law as a whole rather than a term for an individual command.  This is in keeping with Jesus’ response to the question, “What is the first (great) commandment?”  [Matthew 22:36, Mark 12:28]  His two-part answer included a commandment regarding man’s relationship to God and this command which covers man’s relationship to his fellow-man.

This same commandment was also part of the response given to Jesus by a certain lawyer. [Luke 10:25-27]  It is here that Jesus links “love thy neighbor” to the well-known story of the Good Samaritan.

Paul further explains For all the law is fulfilled… Continue reading

Small

We sing a song at camp that begins “in my weakness, you always make me strong.”   The promise that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) encourages me to face that which I feel ill-prepared for and to do that which I could never imagine possible.   A small band of the people God began the task of rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple.  It should be no surprise that they were opposed by the enemies of God.  However, their own people were of no encouragement to them either.  A messenger from the Lord brought words of promise and encouragement. 

For who has despised the day of small things?”  Zechariah 4:10

Another translation of this phrase might be “So, where are those folks that said that this cannot… Continue reading