Showing posts with label Philippians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philippians. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Judgment and Humility

“In humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

We are living in times when almost everyone seems to have a major gripe with large numbers of believers in their church: the one they attend, the one they don’t attend, the one they used to attend, or maybe just all Christians generally. We are to blame, or so they opine, for the stultifying atmosphere of off-putting antiquity in many local fellowships and the dearth of young people in the pews. Our critical spirit and quickness to impose our opinions on every generation from Gen-X on have driven them out to greener pastures.

Is all this our fault? I suppose it’s not impossible. We could all be jerks. I’m just not sure that’s always the case.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

More Where That Comes From

Being transformed into the image of the Son of God does not depend on me.

Thank the Lord for that.

There are things about Christian service that can be learned. Skill sets can be developed. Techniques can be applied. Practice sometimes makes perfect. I could, for instance, wholly apart from the Spirit of God, acquire a greater understanding of Hebrew and Greek through diligent study and as a consequence become a more accurate Bible teacher.

Whether much of eternal value would come from that apart from the Spirit of God is a separate question, but it can certainly be done.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

We are the Circumcision

In what sense is this true?

The apostle Paul, who made the above claim in Philippians 3:3, knew that circumcision was given as a sign of the covenant between Abraham, his descendants and God. Every male’s foreskin had to come under the knife and that part of the flesh be discarded. It was a gender thing, only a minor operation, but it came to be a source of great pride in Israel and being uncircumcised a contemptuous way of describing God’s enemies and theirs.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Anonymous Asks (100)

“Can I really do all things through Christ?”

The question is a reference to a familiar Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, which reads, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” It is often quoted by sports celebrities after a win in the big game, or in other situations where someone who has been successful wants to make sure he gives appropriate credit to God for his help along the way.

But is that what the verse is saying: that any Christian can become proficient in any realm whatsoever because God will make it happen? Not really.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Right Thing to Do

My job involves the occasional visit to another office. I make a fair number of new acquaintances this way. Names on the system become real, flesh-and-blood co-workers with delightful qualities, quirks and the occasional less-appealing feature, depending on the individual and the sort of situation we have to deal with.

Generally speaking these are good experiences. It’s hard to relate to people you don’t directly interact with.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Faith of the Gospel

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”

These “opponents” were primarily Jews.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Bit Players in an Eternal Drama

When Jacob returns to Canaan from sojourning in Paddan-aram, along with his wives, family, servants and flocks, he finds himself anticipating the inevitable confrontation with his brother Esau. The same Esau whom Jacob had swindled, and from whom he had fled in fear more than twenty years before. Esau who, it is reported, has four hundred men with him. That doesn’t bode well. The writer of Genesis tells us “Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed.”

A reasonable reaction, all things considered.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Motion of No Confidence

The origins of the circumcision ritual are deeply buried in human history. The act has come to be associated primarily with Judaism, but there is plenty of evidence it did not begin there.

Infogalactic says, “Circumcision is the world’s oldest planned surgical procedure.” The earliest historical record of the ritual dates from about 2400 B.C. in Egypt, several hundred years before God introduced Abram to it.

The importance of the Genesis account lies not in it being some kind of “first” in human history — it almost surely wasn’t — but rather in the establishment of God’s covenant with Abram and his seed; a covenant of which circumcision is merely a token or symbol.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Better Than Good

It’s all too easy to slip into legalistic thinking.

I don’t mean that I’m likely to find myself imposing an archaic, rigid moral framework on others — there’s not much danger of that sort of legalism. But I tend to default to a very binary view of the will of God. Black and white. On and off. Good and evil. Avoid the bad stuff and you’ve had a good day. And I’m probably not alone in that.

I didn’t get up this morning hoping, praying and planning to express Christ to others in the very best possible way. I should’ve, but I didn’t.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Under Construction

Twice each day for the past two weeks, my morning constitutional has taken me past an older house in the middle of major renovations. Each day, any remotely attentive passer-by could observe two to three men on the job along with all the requisite heavy equipment, trucks and supplies. A radio blasted encouragement as the construction crew scurried back and forth.

And ... nothing happened. Not a thing. From the street, there was no observable progress whatsoever.

In a way, it reminds me of many of us.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Inbox: Booking It

In connection with the episode in Exodus 32 where God says, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book,” WD wonders, “What about those who repented (if any did)?”

Good question. I think this might be the first mention of such a heavenly “book” in scripture (assuming we take the reference literally), but similar language comes up in other places more than once. The Hebrew in Exodus is çêpher, an umbrella term for all kinds of written decrees, long and short, variously translated “book”, “letter”, “scroll” or “evidence”. The sense of the word is not merely a communication but a communication that has legal force.

That part we can all agree on. Don’t worry, it won’t last ...

Monday, February 29, 2016

Beyond Baseline Obedience

The specs for the Ark are so clear
even Hasbro made a model of it.
Words on paper are rarely enough.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with the written word. I wouldn’t be blogging daily if I thought written communication isn’t effective and meaningful. It’s a tremendous blessing, and one for which we should always be thankful.

Still, when the original communicator is no longer on the scene, the limitations of words alone start to become evident.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

More Where That Comes From

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Quote of the Day (14)

Today I find myself praying for a loved one going through tough times. That’s not unusual.

But somewhere in the middle of my prayer it becomes apparent to me that what I’m most concerned with alleviating is not really the specific problem she encountered today or even her feelings about it: these are only drops in a near-endless and apparently all-but-unsolvable stream of ongoing calamities. Primarily I am troubled by the level of stress her problems are currently causing ... me.

I mean, feeling sick with anxiety is really putting a damper on my day, folks!

Friday, January 01, 2016

No Passage Back

Frozen New Year’s Day morning and I’m on my way to work with a line from an old Eagles song running through my head:

“I had to find the passage back to the place I was before …”

Except there is no passage back to the place we were before, is there.

Time is unidirectional and it seems to move faster as we age. The speed is probably a conceit of advancing years, but it certainly feels like a truism.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chasing Equality

Everybody wants to be equal. It’s the way of the world.

But equality means different things to different people. When hardline feminists or politicized homosexuals say they want equality, what they really mean is superiority. They are looking to acquire a trump card through which they will be able to dictate how they are treated — and even thought of — by the rest of society.

Not “equal” exactly, is it.

There’s also the question “Equality by what metric?” to consider. If by equality we mean that every human being ought to be considered as strong, smart or useful to society as every other, we are clearly talking rubbish.

That’s easy to say from my position of “privilege” as a white male, of course.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

No Passage Back

A more current version of this post may be found here.