At Mt. Carmel, Elijah had gone head-to-head against 450 prophets of Baal. The rules were set. They were both to have altars, adorned with bulls that had been cut apart. No fire was to be added. That was to be provided from either Baal or the God of Israel. The prophets of Baal went first. They begged Baal to consume their sacrifice with fire. Nothing happened. They yelled louder. Nothing happened. They even began to cut themselves, which was their custom, so that he might hear them. Nothing happened. That’s usually the outcome when you cry out to something or someone that doesn’t exist. After hours of embarrassment, it was Elijah’s turn.
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A few months ago, my daughter became a bit tongue-tied when memorizing John 3:16. The difficulty came with pronouncing the word “begotten,” which is a big word for any little kid. And, of course, our family had a good laugh about it the way you would when any of your kids says something ridiculously cute. “For God so loved the world…” she said. “That He gave His only… BITTEN… Son.” But amid the chortles it hit me. Despite my daughter’s slight frustration at not getting the word right, I let her know that she actually had said something beautiful and true. Jesus is God’s only bitten Son.
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Holy Week is a time when we focus especially on the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Thursday, the church remembers Christ’s Last Supper in which He instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist. We also remember His betrayal by Judas Iscariot and arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. After the Last Supper, while Christ made His way to the garden of Gethsemane with His disciples, He prayed. And His words in this prayer have been used to support the theological concept known as limited atonement. This view states that Jesus’ death on the cross was only made for a particular group of people, rather than every individual throughout the world. Continue reading →
19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2 Peter 1:19-21; 2:1-3
Peter ends the first chapter of his second epistle by offering assurance to his readers. He assures them that the Scripture is worth paying attention to. What makes the prophetic words of Scripture so worthy of their attention is that their source is God Himself. This hasn’t crawled out from the wild imaginations of past madmen. The assurance doesn’t stop there. Continue reading →
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
There’s a giddiness that accompanies seeing some amazing product that you just have to own. Sometimes, just as soon as that pleasure arrives, it vanishes the moment our eyes turn to the price tag. No way. How can this be?! But I want it! If only there was a way! That’s when we start doing the math in our heads. Maybe I could afford it if I stretch the pennies here or sell this other thing! But it’s no use. That price tag ruins everything! Continue reading →
One day I was having a conversation with someone I know that is a member of a congregation where the teaching is run-of-the-mill-purpose-driven-evangelicalism. We would normally catch up every Monday and Thursday to find out what the teaching was like the day before in order to do some theological repair work. On this particular day, this person told me that their pastor spoke about Nehemiah. Before they continued, I said, “Let me guess… The sermon was about how God has called us to do something great the way He called Nehemiah to rebuild the temple. And because this is a calling from God, we will undoubtedly run into times of difficulty the way that Nehemiah did. But if we persevere, we can get the results the way Nehemiah did.” Continue reading →
1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
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