What defines who is rich and who is poor? How much money does it take? It really comes down to a matter of perspective. In the USA I’m in the middle with a fairly standard working man’s salary. An experienced long-haul truck driver makes about the same amount. But, if I were to move to any number of places around the world I would be counted as very well off, if not rich (even though I’m not). Neither am I poor, although there were times in my life when that was true. Again, in a relative sense. So, while the New Testament Book of James discusses rich and poor we must not lose sight of the larger lesson. For today’s look into James we are pulling on several separate but related threads. In each of these there is a forefront issue and a background lesson. Because of this, our basic out
Who are your heroes? Who are those folks that you honor because of who they are, what they do or have done? Perhaps it’s the folks that run into danger instead of away from it. Or maybe those with a special skill or sterling character. It could be just an ordinary person placed in extraordinary circumstances. They may be someone important to you personally like a spouse, mom or dad. It’s those qualities of honor and respect that we consider in this article of reThink48. Welcome to our second attribute to “dwell on” and consider from Pau’s letter to the Philippians. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these thi
Are we there yet? How many times have we said or heard that phrase? The cliché occurrence is a child going with their parents to someplace special. But how often do we assume that same kind of doubt and impatience in other circumstances? Why can’t things change now? Come on coach, put me in the game. Or when things hoped for seem to be endlessly delayed. Or when the restoration of injustice drags on. Peter has an unexpected answer for this angst as he prepares to close out his 1st letter. Welcome to the 22nd step in our Walk Through 1st Peter. If you’re just joining us, dive right in. If you want to catch-up the rest of the series is available at Lambchow.com. Having advised the elders and church leaders in 1 Peter 5:1-4 he continues with some direction for the younger generatio
There’s a game that kids like to play. It goes something like this. One kid will say something along the lines of “You’re stupid.” “No, I’m not,” the other replies. “Yes, you are.” “No, I’m not.” “yes you are.” “no…..” You get the picture. The initial statement is soon forgotten, all that matters is being contrary to whatever is being said. Then, all of a sudden, one of the kids switches sides. Most of the time the other won’t pick up on it as an agreement but will switch sides too just to keep the pattern going. That’s an opposite picture for what our next “One Another” encouragement is all about. Peter writes in his first letter, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the prou
To be a citizen means something. Imagine a line-up of various folks from around the world. We could tell something about their citizenship by how they talked, how they dressed, and by their general conduct. We could be wrong, of course, they may be recently immigrated and have retained the manners of their former country. The same can be said for us as well. Our mannerisms, our language, our clothing, and our conduct says something about our homeland. Now, consider this. Shouldn’t our citizenship in heaven through Jesus also be observable in our language, countenance, and conduct? In this lesson of Walking Through Philippians Paul continues his thoughts on living by the standard of Jesus. Our last lesson ended with Paul’s encouragement, “Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives aft
Grandpa Joe loved puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles, 3-d block puzzles, wire puzzles, and just about anything else you can think of. One of the things he brought back from his time in Germany during WWII was a figure puzzle. Essentially, figure puzzles are clay or wooden tiles of different geometric shapes that can be assembled to form larger shapes. With it came a little book, not of answers - that cost extra, but of shape puzzles. The challenge is to assemble each shape without any leftovers tiles. In a way, Paul is now taking all the pieces of the last several lessons on unity and humility to show us two examples of what those look like when all the pieces are in place. Welcome to the sixth installment of Walking Through Philippians. Over the past few lessons, Paul has been encouraging the Jes...
We’ve all had this happen. We’re standing at the pantry door looking for something like a can of creamed corn or a special spice or a jar of spaghetti sauce. In exasperation we announce that we can’t find it, maybe we’re out. Then our spouse comes over, slightly moves a can of green beans and there it is. At this point, my mom would say, “If it was a snake it would have bit you.” Maybe this just happens to me. Somethings seem to hide in plain sight, we see but we don’t see. Our next passage in Philippians is like that. Paul’s point can be “hidden” if we are not careful hearers. In our fifth installment of Walking Through Philippians, Paul underlines an attitude he presented in the previous verses. To recap, Paul presented seven attitudes and actions that support and grow unity with
Just east of our home there is a short stretch of gravel road. The grandkids call it the bumpy road. They know they’re close to grandma and grandpa’s house when they bump along its rough, uneven, and potholed surface. Maybe you’ve driven a road like that. A road that requires reduced speed, more care, and is somewhat unforgiving if you forget where you are. Now, compare that to a brand new, freshly paved, well engineered, and perfectly smooth highway. That feeling of ease is what the fruit of kindness is all about. If you are just joining us, this is the fifth article in a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. And yes, we’re working backward. For this series we are going to be looking at three things, what does the fruit look and taste like, how can we encourage its growth, and how can
What do these images have in common? A shepherd gently carrying a lamb back to its mother. A mother cradling a newborn for the first time. A gardener carefully working the soil and removing weeds so as not to disturb the roots of what they have planted. A surgeon, slowly, deliberately, painstakingly using their hands to fix what is torn or remove something that doesn’t belong. A believer in Jesus listening with humility to the heartache and trouble of another. A kindergarten teacher patiently explaining for the fifth time why it is important to listen to her instructions. These are all pictures of our next Real Fruit, the Fruit of the Spirit called gentleness. If you are just joining us, this is the second article in a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. And yes, we’re working backwa
Sheep are not always the docile creatures people envision. The popular understanding is that sheep never put up a fuss and just go along with anything. Nope, try sticking a tube down their throats to give them a deworming pill and you’ll see what I mean. They can be gentle and docile as well as stubborn, selfish, pushy, mean, and sometimes, downright ornery. Some will even attack you if you’re not watching, particularly an old ram that is protecting his rights to the harem. Sheep can be rather stupid at times, especially when following along with the flock. The one thing that always gets them in trouble is their appetite. I can recall several occasions when a lamb got its head stuck in the fence because the grass on the other side must have tasted better. And I’m sure that the lost lamb in
One kind of gaffe is when politician says something truthful, often off the cuff or unforced, that hurts their cause or takes them off message. One such gaffe is Jimmy Carter’s classic admission in a 1976 Playboy interview. Robert Scheer asked Carter if he felt this interview would make people more comfortable with how Carter’s faith would impact his presidency should he win. Carter begins his response by pointing out what he had learned in Baptist Sunday School about pride. Carter said, “The thing that’s drummed into us all the time is not to be proud, not to be better than anyone else, not to look down on people, but to make ourselves acceptable in God’s eyes through our own actions and recognize the simple truth that we’re saved by grace. I’m not trying to commit a deliberate sin.
One day Jesus walked up on a hillside and sat down. After His disciples gathered around Him He began to teach. That teaching, in Matthew 5:1- 7:29, is called the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus begins with nine observational promises, often called the beatitudes. My plan is to unwrap each of those promises in the coming weeks. Before we begin however we need to consider the first word in each of those nine promises - blessed. Some equate blessing with happiness, prosperity, and being fortunate. Those are okay for as far as they go. I think that the deeper meaning, however, lies in God’s grace and favor because each blessing is a freely given gift from God. Over the years I’ve heard several different understandings or frameworks upon which to hang these verses. They’ve been called the “