(Read Proverbs chapter 4)
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV
How To Fail To Guard Your Heart
The writer of Proverbs chapter four is sharing wisdom with his sons. He spends much of the chapter admonishing them to listen to his words and to value wisdom highly. Then, toward the end, he says what he says in verse 23, “Above all else, guard your heart . . .”
“Above all else,” he says.
This instruction, which is at the very least Continue reading
Leonid Mamchenkov criticizing himself.
(Read John 7:19-24)
Last post from the book of John we saw how people were amazed at Jesus’ words because he had no formal education in the scriptures. We also saw how Jesus had an affinity for people who love to do God’s will and seek to glorify Him rather than themselves. (See previous post Choosing A Church (And Who I Should Listen To): John 7:10-18)
Jesus Criticized Continue reading
I recently had this conversation with my son Nate.
Nate: “Dad, on a scale of one to ten, how important do you feel it is, for you to be right?”
Me: “Is there an eleven?”
I recently had the following conversation with Kathy.
Kathy: “Sometimes you can be so dismissive.”
Me: “That’s ridiculous.”
(Kathy appreciates your prayers.)
Against the Flow
The Definition Of A Bigot
I want to begin by saying I struggled with using the word bigot. The first definition that comes up when I Google it is, “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.” That’s similar to other definitions I found, including the one from Merriam-Webster and that’s the meaning of the word as it’s used in this blog post. But for many people today the word bigot has become synonymous with the word racist and that’s NOT the meaning of the word as used in this article.
When Rules Trump Jesus’ Love
Today a Christian friend of mine shared about a man I’ll call Tom. My friend cared for this man in a group home because Tom had a serious cognitive disability. Tom’s capacity to enjoy life was severely limited: there was just one, and only one, activity that brought him joy and that was Continue reading
The Way Of His Culture
In Jesus’ day there was this place in Jerusalem by a pool called Bethesda. It had five decks, and each deck had a roof supported by pillars. The rumor was Continue reading
Last post from the gospel of John we talked about how Jesus loved both the Samaritan woman living on the margin, and the Jewish man leading the mainstream. And we talked about how we need to love people in the same way Jesus did: all people, from all walks. Jesus loved them all.
We left off with Jesus asking the woman at the well for a drink of water. And when he does, she asks him why he, a Jewish man, would ask her, a woman of Samaria, for a drink.
And this is how he answers:
“If you knew Continue reading
“He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” (John 3:31-34)
The 1 Thing I Do
“No one receives his testimony,” John the Baptist said. Why is that?
First, let me say that I think what John is saying here is, in his day almost no one received Jesus’ testimony. It seems that John uses the phrase “no one” as a figure of speech. Because it’s true that while Jesus remained on earth, relatively few received his testimony and accepted him as Savior and Messiah. But that’s not the main point I want to write about today. The main point is the one thing I do to drown out Jesus’ testimony from my hearing. And we find insight about that one thing in a group of Jesus’ contemporaries: the Continue reading
“I’m not sure I like bathtime.” (by Tom Page, Creative Commons)
Read John 2:13-24, Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Sin Inside The Temple
So the people selling animals in the temple, and the people changing out currency were taking advantage of the situation. If you traveled to Jerusalem for Passover, and you showed up with a sacrificial animal, it had to be without blemish. The priests were the ones who decided if it was acceptable or not. Well guess what, it was usually found to be unacceptable. But, conveniently located right here in the temple we happen to be selling pre-approved animals for sacrifice–for an exorbitant price. And, you have to pay for the animal with the temple currency. We can exchange your cash for our currency, in fact we have money changers right here in the temple standing by, but, it will cost you.
Providing a means of exchanging currency and providing animals for the Passover sacrifice was a good thing, but overcharging wasn’t. It was a sin. It was a sin found right there inside God’s temple. And Jesus, out of love for his Father’s house, turned the tables on those taking advantage of the people. He took action.
The religious leadership of his day asked Jesus: What sign can you show us to demonstrate you have the authority to cleanse the temple like this?
Jesus said: Continue reading
He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:42-43
Nate Larkin, Samson And The Pirate Monks
I recently heard a man speak by the name of Nate Larkin. Nate wrote a book called Samson and the Pirate Monks, and in his book and during his talk he spoke of the different personas he developed as he navigated life. For church and when he was in the presence of God there was Saint Nate. Saint Nate was good (at least on the outside), he memorized scripture, and he said all the right things. He polished that persona to perfection. Nate was great at looking bright and shiny to other Christians. But later, in high school, he found girls weren’t attracted to Saint Nate, so he developed another persona he calls Date Nate. Date Nate was smooth and fun and cool. And you know what? It worked. He could find dates when he took on the Date Nate persona. Then he met the girl of his dreams. But the only problem was, she didn’t like Date Nate. So he invented yet another persona he calls Mate Nate. And that worked too. The girl of his dreams married Mate Nate. Awhile later Nate entered the ministry. But he did so while carrying a dark secret: he was a sex addict, addicted to porn since his teens. After a few years working for a church, Nate noticed several high profile Continue reading