What does peace add up to? Is it just a word? Is it even true that there is, in fact, such a thing as peace? When Jesus talks about peace in the gospels he means, "to join, to tie together into a whole." That's the kind of peace Jesus points to.
Mordor is a scary place. There really isn’t much more to say about it. It’s the land of Sauron—with that ever-searching eye, hordes of orcs, trolls, giants, ring wraiths, and an insanely large spider. It’s a land filled with the stench of decay and death.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son reflects some of the most outrageous aspects of the grace of God. Wretched living cannot void it and it’s gifted-ness never assumes a shred of individual merit or virtue. Even the most offensive behaviors on our part cannot cancel or diminish God’s desire to treat us with nothing but pure grace.
You have probably heard of the widow’s mites. Sadly, we focus on the pennies of the old lady, but forget the old lady, nameless and formless. We crucified those braggadocios Pharisees who loved to be popular, in the spotlight, let alone rich.
Is the foundation of the church something we think up or do or say? What happens because of us and what we do, is that why the church exists? Or, to think about it another way: when we breathe and we feel it we can (to a certain degree) control our breath. But, if we don't think about breathing it goes on.
As I watched the T.V. show “House” years ago, I often found that I was of two minds about the main character. The show centered around his brilliant diagnostic abilities—he could solve the unsolvable puzzle. Whatever the patient’s ailment, you could know that by the end of the episode, Dr. House would finally discover
He woke. The evening light could be seen slipping through the various cracks. No longer the direct rays of the sun, but that mysterious glow that hangs on for a few moments even as the last rays of the evening sun light upon the Mount of Olives.
God likes to speak to us and in His speaking opens our ears to hear the truth about ourselves. Our Heavenly Father speaks and we hear that He sees us as He sees Jesus. He speaks and when He speaks He does stuff for us that we are incapable of doing for ourselves—like creating faith and changing our stony hearts to hearts of flesh.
Anyone who has experienced a family member or friend besieged with Alzheimer’s disease knows very well its insidious and terrifying effects. The mind not only forgets memories of people, places, and events, but what these things are, in and of themselves.
Commentaries are a funny thing. I remember a conversation I had with Dr. Kleinig once after he released his commentary on Leviticus, a biblical book worthy of a commentary if there ever was one, and Kleinig’s is superior.
A friend offered a simple rationale for pastors: “God gave us pastors because everyone needs a shepherd.” It’s true, we need a shepherd in life since our hearts are wayward, restless, and prone to wander. But that, then, prompts the next question: What kind of shepherd does God provide?
When Jesus tells Nicodemus that only by being born again through water and the Spirit can he enter the kingdom of God, Nicodemus is stunned and confused. The reason for this is simple. Every morning, Nicodemus wakes up and the first thing he must ask himself is, "What must I do today to be saved?"
I know, I know: there’s nothing more irritating that a pastor using his kids as illustrations in a sermon. My kids agree. But, lucky for you, this is a blog and not a sermon. Plus, it really is remarkable how raising children can teach you about the nature of sin, both in the world and in yourself.