Gospel

356 posts

Baby Pictures

Pictures of infants and toddlers are adorable. These pictures appear to represent everything good about life: joy, beauty, innocence, vulnerability, potential. They fill us with hope that this sweet, precious child will somehow not be scarred by the hard things in life. Yet, there is danger in these photos. These captivating images can blind us to the hidden reality of the natural darkness of the heart. The deceptive innocence of the pictures is one reason we are stunned by that first lie, that first blatant act of ugly selfishness. Where did that come from? The temptation is to say who did this to my baby?!? To be sure, outside influences are significant. But there is another, more significant source of […]

The Lion of Judah: Our Peace and Hope

If we are to live a life that is wise, it is imperative that we understand we have an Enemy who attempts to discredit the wonders of God with counterfeit musings. This discrediting can take the form of misinterpreting the good things that God does. For example, as magnificent as a sunset may be, it is not the ultimate that God does. That ultimate is reserved for heaven and the new earth. But the enemy wants you to think that what you see now is all there is. Also, we have grown accustomed to seeing breathtaking imagery on the big screen. But even these images pale in comparison to the reality of the world that remains unseen to us. Plus, […]

Fear and Forgiveness

Are fear and forgiveness opposing concepts? Forgiveness includes acceptance, freedom, love, and understanding. Fear involves dread, terror, and rejection; so how can fear and forgiveness be connected? There is another meaning associated with fear. The American Heritage Dictionary’s third listing for fear is this:  Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power. The third meaning is one of being overwhelmed by greatness. In the Bible, God is described as so good, so great, and so powerful that fear of Him is an automatic response. Isaiah experiences this when he encounters the living God: “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and […]

Idol Children

We live in the age of the Child. Children are accommodated. They are the center of family life. They are the focus of the educational process. Instead of training children to worship God in all of life, our modern world idolizes them. Education thus becomes a means to serve children rather than to teach them to sacrificially live their lives for God. So parents live for their children instead of God. Children then follow their parent’s example and also live for themselves. When this happens, nothing good is accomplished. Marriages are weakened because of this wrong-headed focus. Children can never meet the expectations of parents who worship them. Divorce and child abuse increase. In the end, all that is left […]

Instruction for the Heart

Biblical instruction is designed to impact the lives of your grandchildren. It is not about changing behavior for the moment.  It is about heart change. Proverbs 6:22 defines the goal of biblical parental instruction. It is to change the hearts of your children. Look carefully at these words: When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. This passage in Proverbs mirrors Moses’ command in Deuteronomy 6:4-7.  Truth is to be passed on from one heart to another heart. The goal of biblical instruction is to have your children own the truth of Scripture for themselves!  This is what will make the difference for generations yet […]

Who Loved First?

Two children plus one toy equals trouble.  No, this is not the beginning of a new math word problem. But it is a scenario that leads to disruptions in families every day. In this case, both children each want the special toy that came from Grandma. What is the typical question, the fair question to ask? Who had it first? Or, who had the toy most yesterday? You see, the problem is not fairness, but the selfishness of little hearts. “Who had it first?” This type of question is based upon the assumption that being fair is the underlying principle for settling disputes.  However, suppose you were to ask God to treat you fairly, based upon your actions and thoughts. […]

The Atonement: God’s Gift to Imperfect Parents 

All parents share at least one thing in common: each one of us fails on a regular basis. It’s not pretty but it is true. Parents are imperfect! Parental authority is not based upon human worth but on God’s choice. Parental authority is derived not earned. This means you cannot earn your children’s obedience. This truth is important for them and for you.  For children, this means that parental perfection is not a requirement for obedience. Because parents are humans, they will not do parenting perfectly or even close to perfect. Children obey imperfect parents because this is part of God’s plan to help them look to God as the only authority that can be absolutely trusted. In Ephesians 6 […]

The Curse of “Whatever”

“Whatever.” This is not usually a word of encouragement or optimism. It is what we say when we feel let down, betrayed, discouraged. So, “whatever” is said in a way that is intended to communicate that you don’t care. However,  the irony is that it really means that something matters very much. We continue to be surprised at being disappointed. People have this problem called sin. Sin comes from rebellion to God. At its root, rebellion starts with believing a lie. We believe we can be happy apart from dying to ourselves. We believe that the people we love will not hurt us. We believe that we deserve what we desire. We believe things will be better next time. We […]

Saturday: It is Finished

Three years of hope, gone.  Jesus gave John, the only disciple with him at his death, final instructions about caring for his mother. Then Jesus spoke his final words — “It is finished.” To you and me, now, those are words of hope and wonder. Jesus did what was necessary to secure life for his sheep. “It is finished” means that our sins are forgiven, Jesus did the will of his Father.  They are words of comfort and peace.  But that is not likely what they meant on that Saturday to those who had followed Christ. In the distance, perhaps they could still see the three barren crosses. Their ears had heard the unique, precious words of their Teacher. Their […]

Jesus, the Only Good Son

John records that at the end of his life Jesus said, “it is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. These are not the actions and words of a victim. Jesus was in control of his own death. He ended his life when it was the right time when he had finished what his Father asked him to do. No one took his life from him, he laid down of his own accord (John 10:17-18). The death of Jesus was not a random moment in time. He died in obedience when he had completed all that he had been given to do. This is what obedient love and sacrifice look like. Jesus is our Messiah because […]