Tag: Devotional

The Death Of A Son

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32
The well-known boxing promoter Bob Arum recently lost his son, John, in a climbing accident on Storm King Mountain in Washington state. Although his public persona normally exudes the bravado associated with the boxing world, Arum’s feelings were poignantly revealed to the New York Times interviewer by this statement: “When you lose a child, I don’t care what anybody tells you, you lose part of yourself…It does not get easier over time.”
His words express just a small portion of the tremendous sorrow of a parent losing a beloved child. Mr. Arum was close to his son. They shared a common profession as lawyers, and loved to fish and watch the New York Giants football team. Like his father, John was a driven person, passionate about certain causes such as environmentalism. In keeping with his love of nature, he was an ardent mountaineer, but this dangerous hobby led to his death. His father disliked this arduous form of recreation, always dreading the day when he would hear of a fall. The reporter continues the tale: “Shortly after John Arum’s death, Bob Arum vented to his family, asked the questions everybody asks. How could he have done this? Put himself in that position?
To which Richard told his father: ‘Because he’s just like you.’” The same drive that made him a success in professional life also impelled him to brave great dangers in following his interests.
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Guest Post: A Gem from the past

Since I’m on the road, & unable to post a new article, I present this excellent meditation on John 8:1-11 by the 19th century Bible teacher, John Nelson Darby. JND is notoriously difficult to read, but this piece is remarkably lucid. This version comes from biblecentre.org . Enjoy!

“A Just God & A Saviour”
There is in all persons a certain knowledge of good and evil; such and such things they say are good, and such and such things are evil. But perhaps no two persons fix exactly the same standard either of good or evil. What people do is to fix such a standard of good as they can come up to themselves, and such a standard of evil as shall just exclude themselves, and include others.

For instance, the drunkard thinks there is no great harm in drinking, but would consider it a great sin to steal. The covetous man, who is every day perhaps practising some cheating or deception “in the way of trade,” satisfies himself by thinking “it is necessary and customary to do so in business, and at all events I do not get drunk or curse and swear as others do.” The profligate person prides himself upon being generous and kind-hearted to others, or, as he says, “he does nobody any harm but himself” The upright moral man, and the domestic amiable man, satisfies himself with doing what he calls his duty, and looks round and pities the open sinners that he sees; but he never considers how many an evil thought, how many a sinful desire, he may have cherished, unknown to others, in his bosom: and that God judges the heart, though man looks only at the outward conduct.
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War & Remembrance

“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Hebrews 11:32-40 [Emphasis mine]
An elderly woman, who lived a solitary life in southeastern England died quietly in her home on September 2, 2010. Except for a few singular items that she left behind, her passing would have been utterly unremarkable to anyone not related to her or counted among her small circle of friends and neighbors. Among her meager possessions were high honors from the British & French governments. As one newspaper notes: “Indeed, after dying alone…89-year-old Eileen Nearne was to be laid to rest with few – if any – mourners expected at her funeral. Yet neighbours and council officials were stunned when they found out that Eileen Nearne had been a British spy who had plotted behind enemy lines during much of the Second World War.”
Although she had been scheduled for the equivalent of a pauper’s burial, veterans associations intervened when the extent of her bravery and service during the Second World War were revealed to the astonished public. One obituary comments on the funeral thus: “Her coffin arrived draped in the British and French flags, as befits a hero who was awarded both the British MBE and the French Croix de Guerre. Buglers from Britain and France played the Last Post as the coffin left the church.” This heroine lived the bulk of her life unrecognized for patriotism, her devotion to victory, and willingness to suffer so that others might live in free societies. Likewise, many of God’s choice saints have labored, lived, and died in anonymity. The courageous exploits and faith of others are unknown or forgotten even among professional historians. Nevertheless, Hebrews 11 makes it clear that the Lord remembers each, and has reserved them for the better things that the saints collectively enjoy in Christ (Heb. 11:40.)
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War & Remembrance

“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Hebrews 11:32-40 [Emphasis mine]
An elderly woman, who lived a solitary life in southeastern England died quietly in her home on September 2, 2010. Except for a few singular items that she left behind, her passing would have been utterly unremarkable to anyone not related to her or counted among her small circle of friends and neighbors. Among her meager possessions were high honors from the British & French governments. As one newspaper notes: “Indeed, after dying alone…89-year-old Eileen Nearne was to be laid to rest with few – if any – mourners expected at her funeral. Yet neighbours and council officials were stunned when they found out that Eileen Nearne had been a British spy who had plotted behind enemy lines during much of the Second World War.”
Although she had been scheduled for the equivalent of a pauper’s burial, veterans associations intervened when the extent of her bravery and service during the Second World War were revealed to the astonished public. One obituary comments on the funeral thus: “Her coffin arrived draped in the British and French flags, as befits a hero who was awarded both the British MBE and the French Croix de Guerre. Buglers from Britain and France played the Last Post as the coffin left the church.” This heroine lived the bulk of her life unrecognized for patriotism, her devotion to victory, and willingness to suffer so that others might live in free societies. Likewise, many of God’s choice saints have labored, lived, and died in anonymity. The courageous exploits and faith of others are unknown or forgotten even among professional historians. Nevertheless, Hebrews 11 makes it clear that the Lord remembers each, and has reserved them for the better things that the saints collectively enjoy in Christ (Heb. 11:40.)
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As Well-Known & Yet Unknown

The title of this article intentionally reverses the word order of Paul’s self-description in 2 Corinthians 6:9. Jesus Christ is well-known by name around the world, yet His true identity is unknown to many who assume they know all about Him. This was also the case when Jesus walked on the earth millennia ago. Even many in close physical proximity failed to perceive His true character and mission. Christianity is based on objective and subjective knowledge of Jesus Christ. If one does not know the truth about Him and know Him personally in one’s own experience, than one cannot lay claim to being a Christian. A Christian knows the Lord Jesus, and seeks to increase his knowledge of Him by prayerful study of His Word.
A Case of Mistaken Identity
The Lord Jesus declared Himself to be the Bread of Life who came down from heaven (Jn. 6:35.) Rather than receive His claim, His listeners reasoned that since they knew His parentage, then all of this talk about coming from heaven was nonsense. They ignored the evidence of His supernatural origin – the dramatic sign of feeding multitudes by miraculously multiplying five loaves and two fishes – instead reasoning from only one piece of information about Jesus. Starting from a false assumption regarding Him, their conclusion was inevitably false. This is not surprising, for even the denizens of His hometown mistook Him based on acquaintance with His family, saying: “‘Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him” (Mk. 6:2-3.) They could not fathom how a mere carpenter from an ordinary family could be a miracle-working teacher.
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As Well-Known & Yet Unknown

The title of this article intentionally reverses the word order of Paul’s self-description in 2 Corinthians 6:9. Jesus Christ is well-known by name around the world, yet His true identity is unknown to many who assume they know all about Him. This was also the case when Jesus walked on the earth millennia ago. Even many in close physical proximity failed to perceive His true character and mission. Christianity is based on objective and subjective knowledge of Jesus Christ. If one does not know the truth about Him and know Him personally in one’s own experience, than one cannot lay claim to being a Christian. A Christian knows the Lord Jesus, and seeks to increase his knowledge of Him by prayerful study of His Word.
A Case of Mistaken Identity
The Lord Jesus declared Himself to be the Bread of Life who came down from heaven (Jn. 6:35.) Rather than receive His claim, His listeners reasoned that since they knew His parentage, then all of this talk about coming from heaven was nonsense. They ignored the evidence of His supernatural origin – the dramatic sign of feeding multitudes by miraculously multiplying five loaves and two fishes – instead reasoning from only one piece of information about Jesus. Starting from a false assumption regarding Him, their conclusion was inevitably false. This is not surprising, for even the denizens of His hometown mistook Him based on acquaintance with His family, saying: “‘Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him” (Mk. 6:2-3.) They could not fathom how a mere carpenter from an ordinary family could be a miracle-working teacher.
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God Humbles Death

I must say that I am sick of death. During the past two weeks, a prominent Northern Irish Bible teacher whom I know of succumbed to cancer. Another brother I know personally departed this life suddenly last week, shocking his friends by his sudden exit from this world. This past Sunday a sister in the Lord lost her father to a recently diagnosed illness. Meanwhile, a dear brother in our home church is gravely ill with multiple maladies that could take his life at any moment. Serious diseases plague more than one personal friend, as well as a close family member. All of this leads me to strongly reiterate: I am sick of death. Thankfully in light of the work of Christ, death is a temporary phenomenon.
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Faith & Love That Cling

“Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.” Ruth 1:14
The verse above presents a beautiful picture of devoted faith and love. After the tragedy of losing her husband and two sons Naomi desperately abandoned Moab for her homeland in Bethlehem, where there were stories of renewed prosperity. Years before, hardship drove her family from the land of Israel, the place of God’s provision and blessing – beloved Eretz Israel, as a Hebrew would habitually call it, thereby indicating that no other land was like the one given to them by the Lord. In spite of his pious-sounding name, when famine stalked the land Elimelechi decamped for Gentile territory in search of a fruitful way of life. Of course the adverse agricultural situation reflected the spiritual departure within the nation itself. These were the days of the Judges, when “…there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25.) God had forewarned the Israelites of the dire discipline that would befall them if they departed from serving Him and turned to idols. Conversely, He promised to bless their land and give them the early and latter rains which were essential for fecundity (Deut. 11:13-17.) If they did turn from the Lord, the remedy would be found in heartfelt repentance, rather than in fleeing to greener pastures in neighboring nations. (Abraham’s woeful experience during a famine in Genesis 12:10-20 demonstrated the folly of going elsewhere during hard times.) Sadly, Elimelech led his family to nearby Moab to their cost.
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