The revered traditions of our fathers, the instruments of devotion with which we are familiar, and which we believe have served us well, seem pale and tepid when Christ comes. The most ardent praying and fasting is severe work when compared with the overflowing gifts and provisions of the gospel.
The universe is not static. Nothing in it is changeless. All plant life follows the same rule; there is development toward a consummation. In human life, self-consciousness moves relentlessly along the same one-way path, but the outcome can be affected by a degree of self-determination. Our choices are never inert or neutral; we have an input on the fruitage of our lives. From good choices goodness is reaped, and bad values pursued yield a bad harvest.
Jesus spent much of his time among people who were despised by the religious leaders of the day. His reason for doing so is clearly stated here: He chose to work among those who most need help. Do I follow Jesus in this? Or do I choose to keep away from the most needy? Being a Christian is all about the imitation of Christ.
As surely as the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the watery chaos in the beginning, just so surely does God's Spirit move upon the chaotic temperament of human nature to effect his purpose for mankind. Ezekiel does not find himself in agreement with God's will for the exiles in Babylon. Perhaps because he knows something of the unpopularity of prophets. But God is not dissuaded from his gracious intention. And he knows how to make us part of it.
Like so many in the world, Peter was a fisherman who worked hard without becoming rich. When Jesus told him to go put out his nets, he was already exhausted from his long shift at plying his trade. Since it had been a bad night, he would have felt strongly inclined to disregard Jesus' instruction. But he wisely decided against himself and yielded to Jesus. The human enterprise is better when conducted in response to Christ. Peter didn't try to get Jesus to join his fishing b
A deep mystery is here presented. God undertakes to share with his servants, the hostility, ignominy and shame he endures at the hands of human beings. What can explain his purpose in so doing? What is the saint's reward for entering with God into his long-running dealings with his rebel creatures? There is a reward; and it is this: One who is invited in to the mind and heart of God discovers immense blessedness, untold satisfactions, and surpassing joy.
The people had heard Jesus speak like none other. They had seen sick folk healed and demons dispelled by him. Now, they wanted to stop him leaving them. Their feelings are easy to understand. But God always has a wider outlook than those he came to help. We want to keep God for ourselves. The only way that privilege can be ours is to let the Savior yoke us to his ambition to bless the whole world. Then we live constantly in his healing presence.
The mystery of suffering weighs heavy on us. We cannot help but wonder if mankind's misery accurately mirrors the nature of God. The conundrum would be simpler if evil existed on its own. But that is not the case. Good exists, and we yearn for it to prevail. A solution to the mystery is posited by the Hebrew prophets and made more credible by Jesus Christ. God is not signified by distress and pain. They are present in the world as mysterious intruders against his true temper
Just after Jesus spoke like this to his home folks, they proved his words true. They were furious with him. This is even more startling because just before, 'all spoke well of him.' The implication is that if Jesus was not from Nazareth, his people would have been less offended. We all find it easier to deal with prophets if they come from somewhere else. A prophet is a person who calls attention to what God expects. We feel gratified when prophets do that work among other
What does it mean to be beloved of God? Does it mean that one can jump off tall buildings and not be hurt? Does it mean that for a Christian, God is a divine safety-net who will enable his own to do stupid things without suffering negative consequences? Is the person who trusts in God exempt from the laws of nature and the vicissitudes of life that are the lot of all others? This is what the devil's temptation suggests. But God has broader concerns. He always considers ho