In earlier times the slaughter of animals, the presence of blood, and the connection between these symbols, the sinner, and deliverance from that sin were common scenes…everyday affairs. Because we are so removed from all that, words and phrases like “sacrifice,” “shedding of blood,” and “altar” need to be explained and understood. By doing so, our appreciation for the cross where God’s Lamb was slain will be enhanced.
Thinking about the wisdom of experience and a long life of learning I sat down with my dad. I wanted to pick his brain about the important things he's learned over the years about being a husband, father, and pastor.
A substitute is someone who takes the place of or acts instead of another. In education substitute teachers stand before a class usually taught by someone else. In the game of baseball a substitute hitter or runner is commonly used to take another player's place. Even the prime minister, if necessary, appoints a substitute and gives him or her the full authority of leadership. What is true in the classroom, sports, and politics is also true in our relationship with the living God.
The path of humanity is littered with the trash of depravity. Instead of being shining examples of beauty, righteousness, and perfection, we have darkened the world with hostility, hatred, and unrest. War and brutality score the history of humankind. Deceit and wickedness make up our story. Even our best—courageous warriors, heroes of humanity, graceful artists—fall embarrassingly short of perfection.
Whenever I read Proverbs I desire to become a wiser person. But how? A quick Google search reveals I'm not the only one wondering. Although obtaining wisdom is an ancient goal, it is no less important today.
Instead of obeying the clear warnings of their Creator, Adam and Eve deliberately and willfully chose to rebel. And we’ve been living with the consequences ever since—humanity is mentally confused, emotionally afraid, and spiritually dead. However, the good news is God didn’t abandon us in our rebellion. In mercy and grace He provided the way out of our self-made mess through His Son, Jesus Christ.
“I believe in the Holy Ghost….” These are familiar words to those who have ever attended a church where the Apostles’ Creed is recited during the service. Six words commonly heard yet seldom thought through. What, exactly, do they mean?
Do we believe the Spirit is a person? But the creed calls Him a ghost. Do we believe the Spirit is present today?
The reality is, true biblical faith is based on knowledge of God and His Word. You can't believe in the promises of God if you don't know what they are or trust a God whom you know little about.
God’s desire is that we, His people, fully enjoy our freedom in Christ. However, there must be self-imposed boundaries or we will become self-serving, independent-minded, and careless rebels with no regard for others. The last 11 verses of Romans 14 address this issue.
Because of the weak believer’s human tendency to judge those who don’t embrace his or her customs and convictions and also because of the strong believer’s decision to discount judgments passed by those who find fault in his or her expressions of freedom, conflict emerges and persists. The solution? Put grace into action.