Monday, July 31, 2017
Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the Proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time." And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord. – Acts 13:6-12
Historical Accuracy of the Account
Notice the following evidence that demonstrates the historical accuracy of this account:
Monday, July 3, 2017
Suppose a man in the emergency room of a hospital is overheard to say: "You don’t sell tires, change oil, or wash cars? What kind of hospital is this?" Or, "What you mean you don’t have trapeze artists, or lion tamers? What kind of hospital is this?"
Most of us would immediately realize his mistake. Doctors and nurses are skilled and trained to help people with health issues, but repairing automobiles and operating a circus are not the purposes of a hospital. And any hospital that would involve itself in those activities would be neglecting the real purpose for which they exist. If you want someone to repair your car or entertain you, you must go elsewhere.
Few people would make this kind of mistake regarding a hospital, but I once read an article that illustrated that people frequently make this mistake regarding the church. For example, consider the people who think:
Monday, June 5, 2017
The Bible uses different terms to describe practices and institutions that God has ordained. These different terms are intended to help us understand and appreciate God's will regarding these activities. Specifically, we can gain a deeper understanding of the Lord's Supper by considering the terms the Bible uses to refer to it. Let us consider one such expression.
1 Corinthians 10:19-22 - What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
This passage refers to the Lord's Supper as the "Lord's table." Consider lessons we can learn.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
I have a book by Paul Johnson about the history of the American people. It describes the development of the United States and discusses at length the role of religion in our history. One point he emphasizes is the tension throughout our history between the importance of religion and spirituality on the one hand and the urge for possessions and materialism on the other hand.
At one point he describes the occupations, material success, and living arrangements of Americans in the 1700’s, including a description of their homes. Page 100 includes the following about what was to be the most magnificent home built during the 1700’s:
"The greatest early 18th-century house in America was Rosewell, erected by Mann Page ... in 1726 on the York river. Page had this superb house built using designs ... published in London ... Page overspent, his grand house was unfinished when he died in 1730, and his debts exceeded the value of all his property ... Rosewell ... was burned down in 1916."
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Sometimes we fail to see our need for items that would really benefit us if we had them. If we obtain them, we may come to treasure what we earlier thought was unimportant.
On the other hand, we sometimes lose our appreciation for an item after we obtain it. Even if it performs as we had hoped, after a while "the new wears off." It becomes commonplace, and we begin to take it for granted.
In this study we will consider a gift that all of us need, though we may not realize our need. Or we may possess this gift but fail to appreciate it. Either way, our study should help us to appreciate this gift more fully. This gift is the forgiveness of sins.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Certain characteristics are unique to God. No one but God - surely no created being - can possess them. Our purpose is to consider whether or not Jesus possesses these qualities. If He possesses the character which only Deity can possess, then this confirms that He possesses Deity. To claim He possesses these qualities when He is not Deity would be blasphemy.
Note that some passages make general claims which necessarily imply that Jesus possesses the qualities of Deity. He possesses all the fullness of Deity (Colossians 2:9). He is the very image of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), and had the form of God (Philippians 2:6). He also wears the unique names of God. It follows that He must possess the characteristics of God.
Let us consider these qualities individually to see whether or not the Bible affirms that Jesus did possess them. Remember that, if Jesus ever possessed these qualities, then He has always possessed them and always will possess them (Hebrews 13:8). Deity cannot cease to be Deity and cannot lose the characteristics of Deity.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
John Glenn, who died December 8, 2016, was one of the original seven American astronauts. In 1962, he was the first American to orbit the earth. In 1998 at age 77 he was the oldest person to go into space.
Consider the following excerpts from an article in the Orlando Sentinel, 11/7/1998, entitled "Astronauts’ Faith Isn’t Lost In Space"