Even before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:17–21), God appointed Christ and His perfect sacrifice as the basis for showing mercy to the Gentiles. Through Christ they could experience hope in spite of being strangers to Israel and not being recipients of God’s covenants with Israel (Ephesians 2:11–13). The apostle Paul understood this point very clearly and the Spirit of God led him to repeatedly write of its profound significance. One such occasion appears in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
I don’t know about you, but I am an excellent excuse-maker. For example, I am a master at convincing myself why I don’t need to exercise, or why I need another bowl of ice cream, or why I need to watch “this” sporting event, even if I am up late. My personal excuses, in these ways and others, are (to me!) water-tight, air-locked, drop-the-mic conclusive. To be persuaded otherwise, it would take an incredible proof or motivation ……. or just my wife giving me that “look” (and you married guys know what I am saying).
Now, this “master of excuses” I have observed in what many non-believers do when confronted with call to surrender their life to Jesus Christ.… Continue reading
Our previous blog post (March 2) discussed the purposes for biblical genealogies. Now, please read the genealogy found in 1 Chronicles 1:17–27,
17 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. And the sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech. 18 Arpachshad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber. 19 To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg (for in his days the earth was divided), and his brother’s name was Joktan. 20 Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan.
Dealing with addictions can push a Christian to the limits of patience, trust, and exhaustion. The addiction might involve drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, sex, pornography, power, popularity, wealth, social media, technology, or recreation—and many more. Recovering addicts soon find that they need help—help from God, help from family, help from friends, help from their church. As the battle rages to control the addiction, it has become very common for counselors and addicts alike to turn to self-help manuals. Who hasn’t been helped at least a little by getting some good biblical advice from a significant book like Heath Lambert’s Finally Free, which deals with pornography and lust?… Continue reading
January 5 comes around right regularly—every year—on my birthday. Yes, my parents were among the “Greatest Generation” who fought and lived during World War II. My birth took place in the first year of the “Baby Boomers.” January 5 marks the traditional twelfth day of Christmas—“twelve drummers drumming,” according to the popular Christmas song. I share my birthday with a number of friends and acquaintances (at least two others in our church family). Famous people also populate the birthday list: Diane Keaton (same day and year; actress), Elena Barrick (my grand-daughter), Robert Duvall (actor), Jim Otto (NFL; his son was one of my students at The Master’s Seminary), Mercury Morris (NFL), Juan Carlos I (king of Spain), Konrad Adenauer (German chancellor), Walter Mondale (American politician), Charlie Rose (TV anchor, host), Carrie Ann Inaba (“Dancing with the Stars”), Umberto Eco (semanticist and one of my favorite authors), Jane Wyman (actress, President Reagan’s first wife), George Reeves (actor—Superman), Kathleen Kenyon (British archaeologist who excavated in Israel), Stephen Decatur (US naval officer in the American Revolution), and many others.… Continue reading