Gratitude

Trinkets or Tribute

God will not give us trinkets. God will not give us stuff that rusts, that moths eat and thieves steal (Matthew 6:19-20). Read more…

Pilate as a Person

It seems to me that we give credence to ideas simply because we have heard it so many times we assume it to be true. Western culture has made us lazy thinkers. Fake news is swallowed like a careful scientific study, peer-reviewed! Read more…

Thursday Without the Maundy

With the CORVID-19 pandemic restrictions and isolation there was no Maundy Thursday worship service to attend. Read more…

Pandemic Love

Every encounter these days includes COVID-19. Read more…

Who Has Bewitched You?

Since our assembling has been cancelled for awhile all over the world, I decided to write out some notes for the adult Bible study I teach which was to happen this Sunday morning. Then I felt led to share it with you. May God bless you through The Spirit, whether or not I live up to expectations.

“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you…? (Galatians 3:1).

Paul writes to believers. Clearly believers can be deceived and led away. (Read Pilgrim’s Progress for an extended study on this issue.)

An important spiritual discipline is discernment. Consider 1 John 3:1-3, for example. (“…test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world…”)

Why do we fall for deceptions?

We are tempted when anyone teaches we will be rewarded for what we do. FALSE (Grace means God rewards us because that is what God does.)

We are tempted when anyone teaches we need to help God get things done. FALSE (Grace means God works through us, all glory to God.)

We are tempted when anyone teaches that God is incomplete, evolving, reacting to our needs. (Grace means God is complete and reliable, Who knows our ‘needs’ before we even ask, and so God is already filling our ‘needs’ and is not surprised by our intercessions or requests.)

We are tempted when anyone teaches that we can figure things out, like arithmetic to calculate our bank account, or systematic theology which describes what God is really like in human terms. (Grace means God’s ways are not our ways. “Greeks [secular thinkers, in our terms] demand knowledge and Jews [spiritual practitioners, in our terms] demands signs [and wonders]. But we preach Jesus crucified and risen, a joke to the philosophers and a blasphemy to the religious people.”

If all you focus on is Jesus and the cross, if the Bible is your only filter to read religious writings, and if The Spirit is the only unquestionable guide on your journey, you are situated to resist the deceivers.

The Time Is Now

My calling from God urges me to say this: from the earliest days of the Church believers were convinced that the signs of the times pointed to the return of Jesus in short order.

In these days people are talking about the end of the world because of all the things that are happening. The end, however, has always been near.

Right now we have a virus that is sweeping across the whole world. There are locusts in east Africa and southern Asia. Climate change is turning the weather systems inside out. The civil war in Syria has focussed military/political attention into one area by superpowers and major powers and evil powers. Afghanistan and Iraq continue to demonstrate epic confrontation between major world views concerning freedom and repression.

Yet throughout history there have been devastating diseases, natural calamities, war and strife.

Church, believers in Jesus, what emerges now is so stark and vivid that God could use this to shake up your life of complacency, to awaken those half-asleep and barely conscious of the needs in the world and to stir into marching formation the army called to break down the walls of hell.

The end of the world is closer than it was 2,000 years ago, but is this the moment it all falls into place?

That is irrelevant. Followers of Christ have always been on the duty roster. Perhaps those who stand at the cross of the crucified and risen Saviour can be stirred into a life of lavishly loving our neighbour and caring for others above our own comfort.

That won’t cure Covid-19 or cool the climate, but it would have eternal consequences. Let God use this moment to make your witness public and real.

Waiting for Words

I just read about two monks coming to visit Pambo in Nitria, Egypt. Pambo, who died about AD 375, was visited by many, including influential spiritual leaders of his day. Read more…

Welcoming and Gathering, Kind of

Feeling kind without acts of kindness contradicts holy love. Holy love acts kindly, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Read more…

Horrible Help

In the world today it seems like more and more Christians are turning to political leaders as heroes. A politician claims to have a certain belief that coincides with the theology of a certain person or group, and that public figure is given full support. Read more…