It's been said, "those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." On the other hand, we can also be preoccupied with the future. Whether it's economic or weather forecasts or the imaginings of science fiction, we want to know what's going to happen next.
We're locked into a time continuum of past, present, and future. The only way to be free from repeating history or preoccupation with the future is to know and trust in the One who is eternal, who holds the future in His hands.
Evangelism—it tends to polarize or paralyze us. Some people are turned off by gospel preachers and those who hand out gospel tracts, while others are drawn to it.
Many people are afraid of rejection when sharing their faith with others. Others may think they don't know enough to do it well or are afraid of questions they can't answer.
Each of us has various roles in life—within our family of origin and at various points in life. Some roles are temporary and some endure. John the Baptizer knew his role in life. He was the "voice in the desert" who preceded and proclaimed the coming of Israel's Messiah.
John knew and accepted that his important but limited role would end when the One whom he proclaimed arrived. But how would he know for sure who this person was?
What makes a person a prophet of God? Personality? Character? Their message? Those may be indicators but there's only one true requirement—a calling from God.
I know people who consider themselves prophets and people others claim are prophets. But my question is often—Is this God's calling or a title they've taken on for themselves or that's given them by others?
Generally, we all tend to not believe in what we can't see. Of course, this carries over to believing in God and the miraculous. Many will say it's not logical or rational to do so. And yet, we believe many things exist that are invisible to the naked eye and miraculous in nature—thoughts, atoms, and even feelings of love.
The reason it's not logical to believe in God is that it doesn't fit what we know in the natural world. This is our human dilemma. God is supernatural—He's above and beyond the natural realm. He will never fit within our limited logic. God's existence exceeds our capacity to know Him in a purely natural way.
When does life begin—at conception or birth? Before 1973, the obvious answer would be at conception but the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision changed that in America. That decision may have changed people's opinions but it didn't change basic biology.
In Asia, age is generally determined by conception and the lunar calendar. For centuries and centuries in the rest of the world and biologically, conception is seen as the beginning of life.
The opening verses of the Gospel of John are important and significant to me. Though I believed in the existence of God from my youth, I had a nebulous, vague sense of God.
Throughout my teen and college years, I wandered in the darkness of my ignorance and whatever the world around me had to offer. I write about this in more detail in my book, but the short of it is—I was lost in my own darkness.
Communicating the truth of God's Word can come in many different forms—conversation, tracts, Bible studies, preaching, biblical storying, blogs, and more. As mentioned last week, holding up a placard or sign with a Scripture reference isn't very useful.
The important thing is choosing a way that fits the person we're talking to and the situation at hand. Only using one approach or method forces people to fit into our grid, as if one-size-fits-all.
What image springs to your mind when you hear the word sacrifice? Do you visualize a primitive pagan sacrifice of a bloody animal offered on a rock altar? Perhaps you think of a soldier or first responder's sacrificial bravery?
Not all sacrifices require blood to be spilled or the exchange of one life for another.
The Old and New Covenants are not just two different covenants or commitments between God and His people, they are two different relationships.
What separates them is the motivations they are based on. The first—the Old—acceptance was based on obedience to the Law of Moses. The second—the New—acceptance by God is based on God's grace given to us through Jesus.
Lessons many of us learned in preschool and kindergarten still apply—be nice, share, and show respect for each other. We live in a world that seems to have forgotten these relational basics.
Even the church—the people not the institution—needs some reminders. We need to be reminded of some basics that Jesus often taught.