On the religious landscape we’ve seen emphasis placed on Bible application; however, we struggle and get confused if we try to apply Scripture to ourselves that isn’t applicable to us. For example, positions in church leadership such as apostle and elder are biblically not open to women. Paul said, “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues” (1 Cor 12:28 NIV). If God has not appointed me to such a position, no amount of application will make me qualified for that service. On the other hand, Paul also said, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Cor 12:7-11 NIV). We may not all be appointed, but we are all gifted.
June 21, 2018
I find it interesting that Judas Iscariot committed suicide by hanging himself. He could just as easily have jumped off a cliff, taken poison, or run himself through with a sword. However, taking his own life by any other method would have changed the narrative. Paul said, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit” (Gal 3:13 NIV).
June 20, 2018
Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt 9:37-38 NIV). I’ve always thought of this passage as an evangelistic message for believers to go out into the fields of the world and bring the message of salvation to unbelievers. However, when a person harvests, they harvest grain that is already ripe, not immature grain. Jesus said, “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35 NIV).
June 19, 2018
Social media gives us the ability to block people and unwanted posts to our own personal sites. I recently read a post where one man said, “Did [first and last name] just block me?” It occurs to me that we have a similar feature in our minds…if we chose to use it. Unfortunately, Peter was remiss in not blocking the evil one when he attempted to correct the Lord. Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Matt 16:23 NIV).
June 18, 2018
Participating in the Lord’s Table is a specific time set aside for us to remember the sacrifice Christ made, His body that was pierced and His blood that was shed. Throughout the rest of the week I say a blessing at meals for the bread I eat and the juice I drink, but the sacrifice of the Lord does not come to the forefront of my mind. I’m now wondering if I can train myself to use bread, any type of bread, as a trigger to remember the Lord. The bun on my hamburger, the tortilla around my burrito, or the dinner roll with my entrée. After the resurrection Jesus walked with two men on the road to Emmaus. Evening was approaching and the men invited their traveling companion to stay with them in their village. Luke recorded, “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us”” (Luke 24:30-32 NIV)?
June 15, 2018
I’m writing a series of articles on local law enforcement and I publish their photos along with the articles to help the community put a name to the face. In a few instances the photo the officer wants me to use doesn’t match the story I’ve written. For instance, during the interview they may be caring, empathetic and approachable; however, the picture they select is something resembling a World Wrestling Federation face-off — unsmiling face, superior to others and depicting an authoritative stance. This brings home to me the fact that we believers should always project the image of who we really are. Paul said, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Col 3:10 NIV).
June 14, 2018
It's not unusual for someone to call me with a story idea for the newspaper. However, more often than not, the caller wants a situation exposed, but they don't want to be the source for the story. In essence they want to protect themselves and remain anonymous for fear of their friends, the community, their clients, or retaliation. There are similar accounts in the Bible where people did not want to be the source — for fear of the Jews, for fear of the people, for fear of being put out of the Synagogue, etc. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me” (Heb 13:5-6 NIV)?