Things scripture does not allow

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds, who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:1-4).

Whew.  What a sentence.

The Lord Jesus Christ was God’s last word to Planet Earth.  Everything He had to say.  Man’s last and greatest hope.

Man’s only hope.

Jesus spoke of a landowner who leased out a property to some renters who refused to be accountable.  When his servants arrived to collect his rents, the unscrupulous tenants “beat one, killed one, and stoned another.”  Showing more patience than perhaps he ought, the owner “sent other servants, more than the first.”  These were given the same treatment as the first.  Then our Lord said, “Last of all, he sent his son.”  (Matthew 21:33ff.).

Last of all, God sent His Son.

Jesus Christ was the fulfilment of the promises and types and stories of the Old Testament.  He was the culmination of the Abraham story, the Moses saga, the David chronicle.

It’s all about Jesus.

Continue reading “Things scripture does not allow” »

Show us your faith!

(second article on the incident of Mark 2:1-12)

“When He entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home.  So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and He was speaking the word to them.  Then, they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men.  Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was.  And when they had broken through, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic was lying.  Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic….” (Mark 2:1ff.)

The Lord can see our faith.

Faith at its simplest and most basic is confidence in Jesus.  “You believe in God,” He said. “Believe also in me” (John 14:1).

Confidence in Jesus Christ affects everything we do. Take the story in Mark 2, for instance….

In a house crowded by listeners, curiosity-seekers, and heresy-hunters, people with actual faith in Jesus stood out prominently.

Continue reading “Show us your faith!” »

Everything begins with listening: Plant yourself at the feet of Jesus.

(The first of several articles on the incident of Mark 2:1-12)

“When He entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the door way, and He was speaking the Word to them” (Mark 2:1-2).

Everything starts with listening.

Everywhere the Lord Jesus went, people flocked to hear Him.  They covered hillsides and blanketed lakeshores.  They packed out synagogues and homes, so intent were they on every word coming from those divine lips.  “Never man spake like this man,” they said (John 7:46).

People of our generation prefer to speak than listen, to argue rather than to hear and believe. They want their wisdom reduced to sound bites, to bumper sticker phrases.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” says Paul in Romans 10:17. Faith in God is given to those who will hear His Word.

Really hear it. Not just register it or record it, and not just scan it. Take it inwardly and digest it.  Think about it, treasure it in our hearts, and meditate upon it.

You want faith? Want to know if God is real and Jesus is everything He claimed?  Interested in checking out the Christian faith? Perhaps you are tired of seeing people slam Christianity while others glorify it and have decided to see for yourself?  Good.

Continue reading “Everything begins with listening: Plant yourself at the feet of Jesus.” »

Memorable texts. (7th segment. Nos. 31-35)

(This is a continuation of a series begun back in February. To find the others, scroll down the page to “Archives” and then click on February 2015 and scroll down to the first one.  The plan is to do one hundred, adding to the list from time to time.)

These are brief but memorable scriptures, often overlooked but essential to the health and well-being of the Lord’s church and Jesus’ disciples.

31. Love is something we do. Luke 6:27ff.

Our Lord was not like some of His children who delight in issuing commands to the Lord’s flock but failing to tell them how to achieve it.  I cannot count the sermons I heard growing up about the need to reach the world with the gospel, starting with my neighbors, but without a word as to how we might do that. We were accused of not praying and not knowing our Bibles, but never given ways to improve.

Continue reading “Memorable texts. (7th segment. Nos. 31-35)” »

Why I turned off that radio preacher

On the highway the other day and flipping through the radio dial, I came across a Seventh Day Adventist preacher in the middle of a sermon. Within five minutes, he had made two errors that revealed either his biblical incompetence or his spiritual presumption.

So I turned him off.

In the first instance, in trying to make the case for Christians today keeping the Sabbath, he equated the Ten Commandments with all our Lord’s statements in the Gospels about “keeping my commands” and “breaking these commandments.”  In John chapters 14 and 15, for instance, several times our Lord says things like, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (14:15,21,23 and 15:10,14).  That preacher said Jesus was referring to the Ten Commandments.

Not even close.

Continue reading “Why I turned off that radio preacher” »

Five facts about pastors most church members are unclear on

“Shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

In my experience, most pastors hesitate to teach the biblical understanding of the role of pastors because to do so might sound self-serving, as though they were trying to carve out a bigger role for themselves in leading the church.  This is a serious error for which we are now paying as many congregations are turning the minister into a hired hand, employing him as an errand boy, or treating him as an executive brought in to lead their “country club.”

Pastor, preach the whole Word of God.  Be bold in declaring its truth.  Then, having done this, go forth and set new standards for humbly serving the congregation.  Let them see you leading by serving and no one will ever mind calling you their pastorand following you.  However, lord it over them and dominate the decisions and no one who knows his Bible will want to follow you.

What follows is the truth on the role of pastors as taught in Scripture. It’s not “all” the truth, for this is but one simple article.  However, it cuts to the heart of the issues….

Continue reading “Five facts about pastors most church members are unclear on” »

“I delight in Thy Word” (6th segment) Nos. 26-30.

(We are posting these ‘small, unforgettable scriptures’ in sections of five each. This is the sixth.  The first was posted on February 22, 2015.  To find it, go to and scroll back to that date. Scroll forward for subsequent segments. Eventually, we intend to have 20 segments for a total of 100 “scriptural delights.”)

26)  No generation gap in our worship.  Ezra 3:10-13.

Pastors find such wonderful preaching values (i.e., texts that speak to God’s people) in Ezra and Nehemiah that there is little point in my calling attention to anything. However, here are a couple of small insights that may be overlooked.

The remnant who have returned from exile in Babylon are working to rebuild the Temple which Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed.  The work is backbreaking and slow, the resources slim, and the enemies and critics plentiful.  So, at the point when they had completed rebuilding the foundation–perhaps nothing more than clearing it off and hosing it down!–they paused for a celebration.  This was the holiest ground in the entire nation and now it was available once more for worship.

Continue reading ““I delight in Thy Word” (6th segment) Nos. 26-30.” »

“I Delight in Thy Word!” — Vignettes 21-25

(This is the fifth segment of five brief Bible studies, on our way to 20 segments containing one hundred mini-studies.  The idea is to select very brief but poignant biblical texts, those we tend to rush past, and pull us back for more spiritual nourishment. To check out the previous segments, go to and scroll back into January, 2015.)

21)  There’s something in Exodus 20 we must not miss. And it’s not the Ten Commandments!

“An altar of earth you shall make for me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings….. If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it” (Exodus 20:24-25).

I find this stunning. In the same chapter where God gives Israel the Ten Commandments, He makes provisions for an altar. Altars are places of death, where animals are slaughtered as sin-substitutes.  According to this text, the altar could be made of dirt or rock, either one.

So much for the way of salvation being to “just keep the commandments.”  (The next time you hear someone say that is their religion, ask them why God included provisions for an altar in the same chapter.  They will not have an answer, believe me.)

Continue reading ““I Delight in Thy Word!” — Vignettes 21-25” »

“I Delight In Thy Word”–Brief scriptures packing unforgettable insights — (Fourth segment. Nos. 16-20)

(For previous segments on this series, go to our blog,, and scroll back.)

16) The leper who broke the law when expressing his great faith. Matthew 8:1-3 and Mark 1:40-45.

It’s so easy to run right past great scriptural blessings.  Take this tiny incident….

According to Leviticus 13:45, lepers were to withdraw when healthy people drew near. They were to call out “Unclean! Unclean!” lest the person accidentally brush them and become ceremonially tainted, or worse, catch something contagious.  But look at this leper. He spots Jesus and runs toward Him.  Falling to his knees in front of the Lord, he calls out, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Interesting way of putting it: “I know you are able; what I don’t know is whether you are willing.”

Both Matthew and Mark tell us Jesus reached out and touched the man.  Remember, lepers were called “untouchable” for good reason. But Jesus touched him.

Gotta love Jesus. (I do!)

Continue reading ““I Delight In Thy Word”–Brief scriptures packing unforgettable insights — (Fourth segment. Nos. 16-20)” »

Brief Scriptures with unforgettable insights: (third segment, nos. 11-15.)

(For the first two installments on this series of brief, memorable insights, stories, parables, etc, in Scripture which are easily overlooked but jam-packed with meaning. For the earlier installments, go to and scroll back to January, 2015.)

11) The “snake on a pole.”  John 3.

In the brief incident told in Numbers 21, the story is presented without one word of explanation or interpretation.  It takes all of 6 verses (21:4-9) to describe how the people grumbled against God and Moses, how the Lord sent “fiery serpents” to cause the death of many, and then how the people repented and Moses interceded for them, followed by the fascinating remedy God handed down. Nothing had prepared them for such a panacea for their ills:  “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole.'”

Then, the snake-bitten should merely look at it and live.

“Look and live.” That’s what He said.

Continue reading “Brief Scriptures with unforgettable insights: (third segment, nos. 11-15.)” »