No one ever becomes great simply through his own ability or personality. Greatness is only achieved through the life of another. Think about that for a minute. What makes a patriot so revered? It is because his life is found in the larger life of his country. What makes the humanitarian so distinguished? It is because he’s a member of the larger body of humanity. Why is the artist so loved? It is because his spirit is a part of the larger spirit of creation. (more…)
Jesus said these encouraging and empowering words when it appeared to everybody that the exact opposite was true, when it seemed that He had been overcome by the world. When Jesus uttered these words He was standing on the very threshold of death. Now, there were certainly times in Jesus’ life when He could have made this statement and everybody would have said, “That’s right. You have overcome the world.” For example, when Jesus walked out of the tomb, destroying death itself, we could understand such a statement. When Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, leaving the wickedness and weight of the world behind, again, we could understand such a statement. But to make such a bold claim in the middle of the world’s attack upon Him – that seems a very strange statement indeed. (more…)
What a strange, and even anticlimactic, statement! Samuel says to the people that they must not turn aside from God. That certainly makes sense, but his reason is rather startling. He says that if they deviate from following the Lord they will end up going ”after empty things.” Okay, I get it. They would fall for the frivolous, but is that the worst thing that could happen? Is it really all that bad that those who detour from following after God would go after those things that are “nothing”? (more…)
At first glance this is a very disturbing and discouraging statement. Is the Beloved Disciple saying that the person who is “born of God” won’t have anything bad in him and if there is something bad in him then that is an evidence that he is not born again? No, that’s not what John is saying. Taken in context this verse simply teaches that the new life will not be held responsible for the leftovers of the old. It is not that there are not remnants of the old life that will not seek to hang around, but that they are no longer imputed to the Believer.
“However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.” Mark 1:45
Do we even dare enter into the personal experience of the Son of Man? Yes, for the fact that He is the Son of Man means we can, without irreverence, see something of our human experience in His. That’s why I believe that this is surely one of the saddest experiences in the earthly life of Jesus. The saddest hours in any human life are those which are spent, “in deserted places” for those hours spent in the deserted places are always spent “outside.” (more…)
It’s an awesome picture – “A great and high wall with twelve gates.” Here, John, the Revelator presents a rather strange picture of the Heavenly City, one which both repels and invites, all at the same time. First we’re told that there is a great, high wall that separates the city from those on the outside. Then we’re told that there are twelve gates in that wall that allow entrance into the city. It’s almost as if the city really had no desire to repel anyone.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Christianity is no doubt an audacious faith! In fact, the mind of man with all of its machinations could never have dreamed of the heights of its aspirations. The religions of this world constantly seek their glory by looking to the past, but the faith of Christ forgets those things which are behind. In fact, in Christianity there is no past. It looks forward to the future, desires the coming day and presses forward for the prize. (more…)
Do you ever fret about the future? Are you troubled about tomorrow? Do you see storms on the horizon that you don’t have the strength to face today? Well, understand, God hasn’t given you strength to meet tomorrow – He has given you strength for today. However, when tomorrow becomes today you will discover that you have strength enough for that day too. (more…)
There is an important word here that has escaped most commentators, and that elusive word is “from.” What Peter wants is not just a refreshing of Christ’s presence in his life. He desires that the person of Christ be the center from which all refreshment radiates. It is a radiance that refreshes even those things that are unrefreshing. What Peter prays for is the giving of a glory to things which are not naturally or normally glorious. (more…)
“His star” was a thing that the natural world had no use for. To such a secular world it served no practical purpose. It was unnecessary as far as natural need was concerned and thus there was no place for it in nature’s night sky. That why the wise men knew it had to be supernatural. “Since His star gives no obvious help to this world,” they reasoned that “it must have a function in another world.” (more…)