The Real Power

The Real Power

Encouragment
It’s interesting how something inherently powerless can be imparted with power. Consider the badge or shield of a Police Officer. It could be made of anything but what comes to mind are the metal badges made from various alloys. The badge itself is powerless but represents the power and authority of a town, county, state, or country. Or consider a simple piece of paper. Powerless and meaningless unless used to record a deed, a law, a will, or made into money. The paper value of a one-dollar bill and a one-hundred-dollar bill is the same, the only difference is the number of zeros printed on it. That same idea also applies to those who follow Jesus. Early in the book of Acts Jesus proclaims, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witne
Walking Through 2nd Peter, #11 – Until Time Ends

Walking Through 2nd Peter, #11 – Until Time Ends

Encouragment
Time can be a tricky thing. On the one hand, it seems set, mechanical, and permanent. Each second exactly the same length as the one before it. And yet, in our own experience, while the mechanics of time seem firm the feeling of time is fluid. Life hurries by, yet some days take forever to arrive. That’s simply our perception. Yet there is also Einstein’s theory that exposes the relativistic nature of mechanical time. There is a temptation to put the next step in our walk through 2nd Peter into a 21st century understanding of physics and chemistry. A temptation we are striving to avoid. Peter declared, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promi
Fly Over Country

Fly Over Country

Encouragment
How often have you gotten to the end of one of Paul’s letters and glossed over the various names he brings up?  I know that I have. They’re part of the Bible we rarely, if ever, consider. We don’t look to Paul’s words about Tychicus for theological insight. Or consider his greeting to Nympha and the church in her house to discover what truth is buried there? These acknowledgments and the various genealogies seem like the Bible’s “fly-over country.” But even a surface reading tells us something vital for our walk with Jesus. For those not familiar with the term - "Fly over country" refers to those parts of America that folks flying between the power centers on the east and west coasts rarely visit but often view as they fly over. Consider the closing verses of Colossians 4:7-18. T
Walking Through 2nd Peter – A Triumph of Words

Walking Through 2nd Peter – A Triumph of Words

Encouragment
Have you ever heard this? “If you don’t get anything else today get this.” It’s a tool used by a speaker or writer to underline their primary point. It is meant to draw attention to the one thing they want you to remember and apply above everything else that is said. While Peter doesn’t use those exact words, in our next step in our walk through 2nd Peter he does highlight his concern for his readers in a similar way. Because of the chapter numbers added later, it seems that Peter is shifting gears and moving from his warning about false-teachers to something else. In reality, he’s underscoring a basic truth stated earlier in chapter two – God has the final word. Peter says, “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by w

Dale’s Rules for Life 6 – There’s Always More to the Story

Encouragment
We live in what is undoubtedly the most connected time ever. Within minutes we know about earthquakes and other disasters thousands of miles away. We know when a far-off friend is sick. We can celebrate with our friends and family whether nearby or across the country via Facetime or Skype.  All of this occurring in near real time. Which makes the next Dale’s Rules for Life even more important. There’s always more to the story. Every day we’re bombarded with news stories. Some tragedy, wrongful death, misguided statement, strong accusation, or possibly even an ill-conceived arrest. Our news channels, online news outlets, and our Facebook feed keeps us informed (and often opinionated). There have been multiple stories in the past few years where the initial reports were plain wrong, m
The Fountain

The Fountain

Encouragment, Short Stories
When the weather is clear and the sun warm, people gather around Andrew’s Fountain. There’s just something about its simple white marble columns and splashing water that attracts a crowd. Some choose to sit on the rim of the receiving pond and playfully run their hands through the cool water. Others sit on the benches surrounding the fountain and watch as it dances in the sunlight. A middle-aged man in black pinstripe brags, “I tell you pork bellies are the way to go, time it right and you can make a fortune.” “You’re sure about that?” Sneers a similarly dressed older man.  “Securities are much safer over the long haul. I’ve seen way too many lose their shirt on risky commodities.” “True, but when I hit it I’ll be set for life, retire early and enjoy the sunshine,” the younger
Walking Through 2nd Peter – Like a Spring Without Water

Walking Through 2nd Peter – Like a Spring Without Water

Encouragment
When I outlined our walk through 2nd Peter I knew that four straight articles on false-teachers were going to be a slog. With today’s article, we’ll reach the end of that difficult terrain. Congratulations for sticking with it. But before the corner is turned there are a few concluding verses to Peter’s stern warning. Peter concludes, “These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowled
You’re Surrounded

You’re Surrounded

Encouragment
It’s a staple of nearly every western and cop show. That moment when the bad guy is confronted and the hero declares something along the lines of “Get your hands up, you’re surrounded.” Sometimes that declaration is real, sometimes it’s a bluff. The idea is always the same. You can’t run. There’s no escape so just give up. With a slump of the shoulders, the situation is accepted and the bad guy gives up. We also see in the history of war the value or hopelessness of being surrounded. And generally, that is how the word surrounded is used in the Bible. An army surrounds a town. Enemies surround. The wicked surround. But there are three verses where being surrounded is comforting and empowering. Surrounded by Grace “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for
Walking Through 2nd Peter – Right Words, Wrong Heart

Walking Through 2nd Peter – Right Words, Wrong Heart

Encouragment
Let’s dive right into our journey in 2nd Peter. As we read through the letter we may wonder why Peter seems so worked up about false-teachers. He’s warned his readers in 2:1-3, proclaimed that God will judge false-teachers in 2:4-11, and now launches into something that reads like an angry diatribe. The answer to why Peter is so concerned is found in today’s verses and in a story he references from the Old Testament. Peter said, “But these (false-teachers), like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their decepti
Signed and Sealed

Signed and Sealed

Encouragment
I don’t recall ever using a wax seal to secure an envelope. Before envelopes could be sealed with glue or wet-able adhesive the only way to secure its contents was with a wax seal. These seals served three purposes. A seal secured the contents with a simple mechanism to keep the flap shut. A broken seal indicated that an envelope had been opened. And the seal was not just a blob of wax but it held an impression declaring ownership. It was a positive indicator that the sender was authentic. Come to think of it, email doesn’t do any of those things. So, what does the Bible mean when it says we’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit? For instance, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, w
Walking Through 2nd Peter – God’s Judgment, Our Preservation

Walking Through 2nd Peter – God’s Judgment, Our Preservation

Latest Articles
Betty and I enjoy hiking through the woods. We often plan our vacations around those hikes. Since we seek out those trails rated as moderate to rugged it not unusual for us to cross a bridgeless stream using stepping stones. Sometimes those stones are placed and maintained by the Park Service. Sometimes they’re the natural stones and logs that make up the stream bed. Care is taken as we test the surety of each stone, a hiking stick at the ready to provide additional support. Our next steps in the Walk Through 2nd Peter is like crossing a broad stream on stepping stones. Please read 2 Peter 2:4-11. For the sake of space, I won’t reprint it here. In order to continue Peter’s flow, we must reach back for a moment to verse 3. “Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruct
Our Call of Duty

Our Call of Duty

Encouragment
Sometimes I’m surprised by the meaning of words. Even common everyday words can mean something different than our typical usage of them. I’m not talking about slang terms although there’s always a few surprises there as well. Who would have thought that chill means something other than chill? Take the everyday word “ought.” Most of the time we use it as a kind of suggestion. “You ought to change your oil.” I was surprised to discover that “ought” is more powerful than a simple suggestion. Consider this verse. John said, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16, NASB95) In my normal everyday usage, “ought” sounds like a pleasant suggestion. “Yep, we ought to love each other. It would be a really nice