(1) Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
(2) Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
(3) But Jonah rose up to flee…
Jonah had a problem. God had a vision for the people of Nineveh and Jonah turned a blind eye to it. This vision problem of Jonah’s wasn’t a handicap. It wasn’t a misunderstanding. It wasn’t even that Jonah could not see God’s point of view. It was that he would not see it. He had an “I” problem: “I want vengeance. I want the Ninevites destroyed. I want my prayers answered my way.”
Paul told the Philippian church: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound” (Philippians 4:12). It might seem odd to hear Paul say that he had learned how to deal with plenty. We wouldn’t consider a place of blessing to be dangerous, and while no one wants to suffer need, being blessed with plenty is often the greatest danger of all.
That proved true for the church of Laodicea, because their blessings led to their downfall. Continue reading
Most of the miracles of Christ were public affairs. Some were actually performed in private, like the healing of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-41; 49-54), but all of them were requested publicly in some way. When Mary spoke to Jesus about providing more wine for the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-12), it was in earshot of some of the guests. When the blind man asked to be healed of his blindness, he was not shy at all: “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!” he shouted (Luke 18:35-43). Even the lepers who were considered unclean and could not be in public places without declaring themselves unclean were very public about their request for healing: “They lifted up their voices, and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us’” (Luke 17:11).
Such was not the case when it came to the woman with the issue of blood. Continue reading
Brackish water is no good for drinking. A church with a brackish testimony is good for even less. A church like that actually makes the Lord sick. Continue reading
Left to myself, I cannot truly know God. Even the consciousness of a supreme being comes from the hand of God, put there in the heart of every human being by the Creator Himself (John 1:4). The only way I can hope to grow and nurture that spark of understanding is to seek God out in His word.
Living for Christ is not an event. It is a way of life — and it is a way of life with sure reward. All God requires of us is faithfulness founded in trust. Continue reading
Living for Christ is not an event. It is a way of life. The church at Philadelphia understood this. Only this church and the church at Smyrna received no rebuke from the Lord – not because they were perfect, but because they were steadfast. These were not perfect Christians. They were faithful and growing ones. Continue reading
Too many churches live in the brilliance of their past. Like dead stars light years away, their residual glory might still be visible to distant observers, but what made them truly shine died long ago. Continue reading
Church discipline is never a pleasant thing. It weighs heavily on the hearts of church leadership and it is uncomfortable for a church body to endure. That’s by design. It isn’t meant to be pleasant. It is corrective (Proverbs 22:10) and instructive (Proverbs 21:11). Unpleasant as it is, when it is not carried out, the church and its power in the community both suffer. Continue reading
Preaching against worldliness may be passé in the modern church, but with Christ it has never gone out of style. When He introduces Himself to the church at Pergamum, Jesus describes Himself as “He which hath the sharp sword with two edges.” He was not giving them a warm welcome. He was reminding them that He is Judge and Executioner, and that His judgment begins in His own house. Pergamum was a worldly church and Jesus was having no part of it because “the friendship of the world is enmity with God” (see Ephesians 2:16). Continue reading