The Twenty-Third Psalm, a Favorite Passage for Many David Teaches Us About God as Our Shepherd In the twenty-third Psalm, the former shepherd boy David, looks to God as his Shepherd. This short six-verse Psalm is a favorite of many, who have perhaps memorized it as a child. Here are a few of the keep […]
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Who is a Pharisee Christian ? Doctor Luke records a curious line when writing about the early church. He says “…some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees…” That means some Christians were also Pharisees, a Pharisee Christian. How strange. Isn’t that a contradiction? Judaism at the time was comprised of […]
God Brings Low the Pride of the Arrogant God Wants Us to Celebrate Him and What He’s Done for Us As Isaiah moves forward in his sweeping prophecy, he devotes a section to the city of Tyre. Tyre is a city of prominence, a center of trade and commerce. God doesn’t like their self-sufficiency and […]
The Nazarene Sect: There are Two Sides to Every Story Gamaliel offers wise advice for whenever religious factions stand in opposition Paul’s in jail, imprisoned for doing what God told him to do. This isn’t Paul’s first incarceration for his faith in Jesus, and it won’t be his last. When his trial finally begins, his […]
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Five Confusing Verses About Tamar I blogged about Tamar and her lustful half-brother who raped her. I spent three weeks reading and re-reading this story, meditating on it and trying to make sense of it. Despite that, five perplexing verses still mystify me. Surely there’s some historical context I don’t comprehend, still I’m left with […]
Are You One of God’s Chosen People? Isaiah tells the people that God will choose them again, but did he ever stop? One phrase jumps out from today’s passage in Isaiah’s prophecy to God’s chosen people: once again he will pick Israel. God, through Isaiah, gives his people hope for a better tomorrow. At this […]
Sometimes God’s Instructions Are Temporary After Jesus rises from the dead, he spends a few weeks hanging out with his followers. He tells then to stay in Jerusalem, waiting for a surprise Father God has planned for them: the gift of the Holy Spirit to come upon them and give them power (Matthew 28:19-20). This […]
Women in the Bible: The Widow of Zarephath During a long drought and famine, God sends Elijah away from Israel to the city of Zarephath in Sidon where God directs a widow, a foreigner, to give Elijah food. When Elijah reaches the town gates, he see a widow and asks her for water and bread. […]
Isaiah Issues a Call to Pursue Justice Pursue Justice for the Oppressed, Widows, and Orphans A short passage in the book of Isaiah warns against those who make unjust laws to deprive the marginalized of their rights. Isaiah targets the lawmakers. In doing so, he seeks to protect the oppressed, widows, and orphans. He calls […]
It Doesn’t Matter if You’re Worthy or Not There’s a story about a military leader, a centurion, who desires Jesus to heal his dying servant. The centurion doesn’t approach Jesus himself, but instead he calls in a favor, asking some Jewish leaders to go on his behalf. If these men are like most of the […]
Women in the Bible: Zipporah With the Pharaoh out to get him, Moses flees for his life. He marries the shepherdess Zipporah, daughter of the priest of Midian (Exodus 2:21-22). They have two sons: Gershom and Eliezer. Years later when Moses and his family travel to Egypt, God afflicts Moses. This is apparently because Moses […]
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty Celebrate the Holiness of God The prophet Isaiah has a dream, a vision. He sees into heaven. God sits on his throne over the temple. Six-winged angels, seraphim, hover above him. They sing out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty. Earth fills with his glory.” As their […]
How Should We Observe the Sabbath? God Intended for Us to Take a Day of Rest Each Week The Old Testament talks a lot about the Sabbath. God wants his children to work six days and then rest on the seventh. In fact, he commands that they observe the Sabbath. But lest we think this […]
The Wise Woman From Tekoa Influences a King Joab seeks an object lesson for King David to encourage him to reconcile with his estranged son, Absalom. Joab sends for a wise woman from Tekoa and coaches her what to say to the king. The story she skillfully shares with the king—of how one son killed […]
Are Seraphim the Same as Angels? Quick, are seraphim angels? Until recently I would have said “yes” without hesitation. That’s what I was taught. However, after researching for the post Holy, Holy, Holy, I’ve reached a different conclusion. First, the dictionary says seraphim are “celestial beings.” Celestial implies heaven or the divine (God). I equate […]
What Will We Promise God When We’re in a Crisis? Will We Follow Through When the Pressure’s Off? God’s chosen people toil as slaves in Egypt. He tasks Moses with getting them out. So far things aren’t going so well. God has sent seven plagues to get the Pharaoh’s attention, without achieving the people’s release. […]
Epaphras Wrestles in Prayer The letter to Philemon ends with a list of supporting players who send their greetings and implicitly endorse Paul’s missive of reconciliation. First up is Epaphras, who by being singled out, stands alone in noteworthy acclaim. Simply and succinctly, Paul notes that Epaphras is “my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus.” The […]
With God’s Help Joseph Can Interpret Dreams God Reveals the Meaning of Dreams to Joseph Joseph (son of Jacob, in the Old Testament) is in a world of hurt. His life has spiraled downward. The favorite son of his father, his jealous brothers stoop to selling him as a slave to some passing traders. Joseph […]
What Can Ten Righteous People Do? The Bible includes the account of Abraham discussing the future of Sodom with God. Abraham is torn, he knows the city is corrupt and warrants punishment, but he also carries concern for his nephew Lot who lives there. In a series of bold moves, Abraham asks God if he’ll […]
God’s Lost and Found: Our Heavenly Father Watches and Waits for Us The Parable of the Lost Son Shows God’s Unconditional Love Jesus teaches us of his Father’s unconditional love in a parable. Some people call this story “The Prodigal Son,” but calling it “The Lost Son” is more accurate (Luke 15:11-32). In this allegory […]
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